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Take a tour of Roman Leicester

Take a guided virtual tour of Roman Leicester

A pioneering research project to recreate Roman Leicester is on display at the city's new digital arts centre until 18 December 2009.

It allows visitors to Phoenix Square to take an interactive on-screen tour around the city in 210 AD.

De Montfort University's Institute of Creative Technologies (IOCT) have used remnants of known buildings from the period to build up the 3D world.

The virtual city will eventually be populated with digital Roman people.

Dr Douglas Cawthorne
A game-like element will give users the opportunity to enter virtual Roman Leicester to observe, trade and interact.
Dr Douglas Cawthorne, De Montfort University

The 3D buildings on the tour include the Roman bath house whose remains were discovered in 2007 on the the site of the old Merlin Works on Bath Lane.

Leicester is renowned for having the remains of a much larger and later Roman baths complex not far from this site at Jewry Wall, which also appears on the tour.

Other features include the forum and basilica, the Mithraum, and the Temple of Jupiter.

Principal lecturer of the university's School of Architecture, Dr Douglas Cawthorne is leading the first stage of the Virtual Roman Leicester project to create the accurate digital buildings.

With help from researcher assistant George Watson and University of Leicester archaeologists, he has created 3D models from minimal archaeological evidence of Roman structures in Leicester using a technique called architectural forensics.

The next step will involve populating the city with virtual 'Romans'.

The Roman buildings of Leicester

"These characters will be programmed with all the social, cultural and environmental factors that would have influenced the lives of the actual people of the period.

"A game-like element will give users the opportunity to enter virtual Roman Leicester to observe, trade and interact."

Virtual Roman Leicester forms part of a selection of creative technology installations that will be exhibited in De Montfort University's digital arts space, Cube, within Phoenix Square.

Other exhibitions and installations by IOCT planned for the coming year include holographic portraits, seminars on e-novels, a 3D technology showcase, virtual filmmaking, and a sound installation called 'Voices of Leicester'.

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