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Virtual reality offers a new perspective on Avebury

Virtual Avebury screenshot   -   copyright Elizabeth FalconerVirtual Avebury screenshot - copyright Elizabeth FalconerVisitors to the Alexander Keiller Museum, Avebury now have the chance to experience  Avebury stone circles as they might have been 4,300 years ago.

With the help of a virtual reality headset and earphones visitors can be transported back in time and are able to see Avebury as it once was. The immersive simulation allows you to move through the henge and stone circles accompanied by realistic sounds. Virtual Avebury is built as accurately as possible and calls on the latest research to produce the final images and soundscape.

Sue Round, intrepid  marlborough.news reporter entering Aveburys virtual worldSue Round, intrepid marlborough.news reporter entering Aveburys virtual worldThe first thing that hits you once the experience starts is the sheer size of the site, the immense number of stones, the depth of the ditches and the embankments. As you wander around there are even Neolithic people to observe and you are somehow drawn to the eighteen foot column that towers above the stones and the landscape. 

‘This is a really amazing experience’ said Abby George, Marketing and Communications Officer for the Wiltshire Landscape, ‘To be suddenly transported back to 4,000 years ago with the clutter of modern life removed from the landscape was very special and in particular the ability to view the henge from a height gives a real sense of perspective and scale that you just don’t get from the ground.’

Dr. Ros Cleal, curator of the museum said,  “The experience shows us that the Avebury we see today is a denuded one of the one that was really there.” 

A visitor using the virtual reality headset   -   copyright National Trust Abby GeorgeA visitor using the virtual reality headset - copyright National Trust Abby GeorgeThe research into using virtual reality simulations is being carried out by Bournemouth University in partnership with Daden Limited (a 3D simulation development company), Satsymph (a consortium of sound specialists) and the National Trust. 

The nine month project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, is available to all visitors to the museum over the age of 16 years on particular days through July and August, and there is no charge.  The available dates are listed on the project website at https://tinyurl.com/virtual-avebury.

All the researchers ask in return is that once the experience is complete, a questionnaire be completed to describe their experience.

The Alexander Keiller museum, where the virtual experience is situated, has just had a complete over haul.  “We have redone the museum gallery, refreshed it and brought it up to date.  We also have a new exhibition about female archaeologists at Avebury,”  said Dr, Ros Cleal, who hopes that the virtual reality experience can be extended once the project ends.

You can find out more about the research via the www.nationaltrust.org.uk/avebury.

Visitors are advised that the virtual reality headsets may induce motion sickness.  Your correspondent can confirm that this is indeed so.  The things I do for marlborough.news!

 

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