Classical Studies Faculty Database
Classical Studies
Arts & Sciences
Duke University

 HOME > Arts & Sciences > Classical Studies > Faculty    Search Help Login pdf version printable version 

Research Interests for Maurizio Forte

Research Interests: Digital knowledge of the past, Classical Archaeology, Iron Age, Etruscology, Cybernetics, Neuro-Art, Simulations, Memetics

My scientific activity has been particularly focused from the beginning on a strong multidisciplinary approach to the development of virtual heritage and digital archaeology. During my degree, MA, PhD and Specialization in Archaeology I have always integrated traditional courses in Ancient Art History, Etruscology, Roman and Greek Archaeology, Landscape Archaeology, Papirology, Egyptology, Pre-Colombian Archaeology, and Ancient Topography with more experimental activities in computing labs and with the use of digital technologies. My very last research is focused on the use of art as memetic transmission and in general on how cultrual information is spread out and transmitted generation by generation across different societies. I have started to use computer applications in archaeology in the early 80s during my degree in Ancient History. At that time, I was particularly attracted by the idea that digital computing could changed the methodology of research in archaeology and, in general, in the humanities. For this reason, I spent ten years working in a Supercomputing Center in Italy (CINECA, Bologna, co-fouding with other colleagues the Visual Lab, one of the first labs in Europe dedicated to visual applications and image processing in archaeology and cultural heritage. It was a very pionering experience focused on the use of techniques of computer vision for the reconstruction of artifacts, monuments and sites. Even during my PhD degree in Etruscology I have experimented advanced uses of digital technologies, remote sensing and image processing for the interpretation and reconstruction of the Etruscan city of Marzabotto (North Italy) and its landscape. All this work was aimed at integrating technology with field work data from cultural heritage sites. I define “virtual heritage” as the digital information that is derived from a physical site, whether it is an object, monument, territory, or landscape. This information must be processed both by computer programs but also, and more importantly, by our perceptions, interpretations, knowledge, cultural awareness and finally communicated through dissemination. Thus, “virtual heritage” can be said to be an ontology of cultural heritage. The context is made up of information assigned to the site and through this information we create an environment for a whole range of interaction, whether it be the imagery of simulation and immersion or the discourse of questions and exchange of ideas. The research in which I have been most involved is concerned with the reconstruction of archaeological and ancient landscapes in a virtual format. This has meant working with digital technologies such as 3D documentation, geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, spatial technologies, open software WEB-VRGIS and virtual reality. Having created a virtual reconstruction, my efforts were then directed to the epistemology of this form of presentation, one aspect of eco-anthropological thinking. More specifically, this type of research begins with fieldwork and continue with a post-processing activity after returning to the laboratory. The data are collected through use of laser scanning, photomodelling, photogrammetry, DGPS (Differential Global Positioning System), spatial technologies, movies, and traditional archaeological documentation. The subsequent processing involves the input of data into 3D and creating a virtual space which presents the data in geo-spatial form. Once these steps are completed, the following procedures construct objects, models, avatars and virtual simulations. In this way, virtual heritage is available to the user for real time interaction and navigation; at this stage only off line processing is available. However, given the importance of online information, it is also important to put these reconstructions of archaeological and ancient landscape into an online form through software such as 3D Web-GIS. Once this whole process has been completed, the virtual data are available in a geospatial environment, in other words, we have completed a virtual reality system. The system allows the possibility to continue adding information, so that the simulation available to users reaches the highest scholarly standards of representation and accuracy.

Cyber-archaeology, Archaeology, Virtual Archaeology, Ecology of mind, GIS, Remote Sensing, Classical Archaeology, Cultural transmission, Neuro-archaeology
Current projects:
3D Digging at Catalhoyuk -
Virtual Akrotiri
Virtual Fort Ross
Areas of Interest:

Digtial Archaeology
Roman Archaeology
Anatolian Neolithics
Virtual Reality
Serious Games
Principles of Archaeology
Virtual Heritage
Virtual Museum

Recent Publications
  1. Forte, M; Danelon, N; Johnston, D; McKusker, K; Newton, E; Morelli, G; Catanzariti, G, Vulci 3000: A digital challenge for the interpretation of Etruscan and Roman cities, in Digital Cities Between History and Archaeology, edited by Forte, M; Murteira, H (2020), pp. 13-36, Oxford University Press, USA, ISBN 0197501125 [abs]
  2. Zhao, Y; Forte, M; Kopper, R, VR Touch Museum, 25th Ieee Conference on Virtual Reality and 3d User Interfaces, Vr 2018 Proceedings (August, 2018), pp. 741-742, IEEE, ISBN 9781538633656 [doi[abs]
  3. Lercari, N; Shiferaw, E; Forte, M; Kopper, R, Immersive Visualization and Curation of Archaeological Heritage Data: Çatalhöyük and the Dig@IT App, Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, vol. 25 no. 2 (June, 2018), pp. 368-392, Springer Nature [doi[abs]
  4. Forte, M; Pescarin, S, Behaviours, interactions and affordance in virtual archaeology, in Paradata and Transparency in Virtual Heritage (May, 2016), pp. 189-202, ISBN 9780754675839 [doi[abs]
  5. Seaman, W, Emergent Relationality System / The Insight Engine, in Digital Methods and Remote Sensing in Archaeology: Archaeology in the Age of Sensing, edited by Forte, M; Campana, S (2016)

Duke University * Arts & Sciences * Classical Studies * Faculty * Scholars * Staff * Grad * Reload * Login