Microsoft Ancient Olympia

Collaboration between the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports and Microsoft has resulted in the project Ancient Olympia: Common Grounds, in which thanks to its AI technology, thousands of images captured by cameras and drones of the company have been processed Iconem to offer a unique immersive experience.

Recognized as World Heritage by the UNESCO since 1989, the archaeological site of Olympia, on the Greek peninsula of the Peloponnese, takes another step in its preservation and recovery thanks to the project Ancient Olympia: Common Grounds; a new initiative resulting from the collaboration between the Ministry of Culture and Sports of Greece and Microsoft.

"The project to digitally revive ancient Olympia is an impressive achievement in cultural heritage., that unites humanity and cutting-edge technology to benefit the world and empower generations to come with new ways to explore our past.", has pointed out Brad Smith, President of Microsoft and VP. of the Board of Directors.

Microsoft Ancient Olympia

Technology and historical legacy

Within the framework of the programme AI for Cultural Heritage, where Microsoft supports organizations to preserve culture, language and history through partnerships and investments in AI technology and resources, the company partnered with the company Iconem, specialized in digitizing 3D historical sites to create the model of ancient Olympia.

During the process, and together with the data provided by the experts of the Hellenic Ministry in archaeological research, were used ground cameras and drones to take hundreds of thousands of images from the site, which then processed the Microsof AIt to create models as accurate as they render as photorealistic.

As a result, users can explore ancient Olympia as it stood more than more than 2.000 years through a immersive experience that allows them to interact virtually with the buildings and elements of the site, as well as access information from the historical context.

As you pointed out Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of Greece, "Common Grounds is a unique way to experience Greece's proud cultural heritage. Visitors from all over the world can virtually visit the ancient site of Olympia and experience the history first-hand using augmented reality technology.".

Microsoft Ancient Olympia

Monuments and Games

Despite the fact that the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports has carried out a meticulous restoration work, to ensure that all that evidence of one of the most enriching periods in history, as well as the common civil values on which the site was built reach future generations, its digital reactivation has been necessary..

They have been digitally retrieved until twenty-seven monuments important of the cradle of the Olympic Games and home to one of the most prestigious sanctuaries of Antiquity. Among them, the original Olympic Stadium, the temples of Zeus and Hera, the workshop of the sculptor Fidias, the Nymphaeum of Herod Atticus and the triangular pedestal of the winged goddess of victory Nike.

The same, have recreated the five days of celebration during the month of August of the Olympic Games of antiquity, from the Opening Ceremony to the Procession of Champions to the Temple of Zeus, going through youth and equestrian competitions, racing, Fights...

Similarly,, Common Grounds collects the most important rituals of the emblematic city, in addition to the idea of concord or ekecheiria, diversity and harmony of a unique event that was resumed in 1896, when the modern Olympic Games began at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens.

Microsoft Ancient Olympia

How to Experience Ancient Olympia

Digitally recording and accurately depicting all the details of everyday life in ancient Olympia has not been an easy task.. In the 3D experience, accessed through development for computers and tablets, the buildings are recreated with realistic details, thoroughly researched by archaeologists from the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports to make them as faithful as possible to their original forms.

Users can also contribute to the project sharing reflections (via text or voice), shown on a world map to create bonds of union around the values of equity, equality, peace, excellence, cooperation and respect extolled in the mythological Olympia.

For its part, the app provides a augmented reality experience that brings monuments to life on a real-world scale and allows you to explore the interior of buildings, as the temple of Zeus, considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

At last, in one's own Athens Olympic Games Museum a free immersive exhibition has been enabled with Microsoft HoloLens 2 in which visitors are transported to 173 BC. to enjoy a multisensory path surrounded by views, virtual sounds and monuments of the Ancient Games.

In all cases, viewers can interact with that extensive network of ruins reconstructed digitally and get a glimpse into everyday life in the structures where citizens gathered, socialized and conducted business during the Games.

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by • 17 nov, 2021
• section: Case studies, Events, formation, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, simulation