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Developing Interactive Online Virtual Heritage Platform (CAVE) for Endangered Heritage Sites of the Middle East

Unit(s) of assessment: Architecture, Built Environment and Planning

Research theme: Global Heritage

School: School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment


Due to sustained risks to archaeological and heritage sites in the Middle East, there has been increasing international efforts to implement sustainable strategies for the documentation, recording and conservation of archaeological sites using innovative digital technologies and archives. Yet this work stopped short of engaging public and ordinary users through highly-technological and digital platforms.

Addressing the Challenge

The project is a response to an urgent need to document and diagnose existing condition using latest Virtual Heritage Technologies to produce engaging environments for public users, diagnostic analysis for conservation and recovery models for heritage sites subject to risk of destruction or severe deterioration. It will enable a multi-disciplinary research team working with partners in both the UK and the Middle East (Egypt, Iraq, Libya) to develop a prototype for processing archaeological datasets into interactive virtual environments using ESRI-ArcGIS platforms.


This research project is led by Professor Mohammed Gamal Abdelmonem, and supported by Amin Al-Habaibeh and Antony Pidduck. The project team will undertake investigative research, and application of innovative virtual heritage technologies that will; enable accurate 3D Cloud-point to laser scan and digitally survey, record and model existing conditions of the site; develop a state-of-the-art interactive virtual platform that integrates remote sending indicators and dataset; develop virtual navigation of the site's architectural, archaeological features as well as its socio-cultural history.

Making a Difference

This initial 8-months prototype and innovative proof of concept research project offers a breakthrough in the development of state-of-the-art virtual reality interface and repository platform that not only records and documents existing site conditions for interactive visualisation, but more importantly will incorporate structural, thermal and environmental data within the computerised virtual environment. The outcome of this typological model will feed into the assessment of different scenarios of protection, conservation and impact.