Tuesday 26 May 2015 – Matthew Nicholls – Virtual Rome: a digital reconstruction of the ancient city


Presenters:  Matthew Nicholls (Reading)

Title:  Virtual Rome: a digital reconstruction of the ancient city

Date:  26 May 2015

Time:  5:15 PM (GMT)

Venue:  John S Cohen Room 203, 2nd floor, IHR, North block, Senate House or live online via the Digital History Seminar blog.

Live Stream

Due to a Fire Alarm part way through the seminar the live stream of this event has separated into two videos. These have now been merged and will be displayed here until the final edited version of the video is available in a few weeks time.



Dr Matthew Nicholls of the Department of Classics at the University of Reading has made a detailed digital reconstruction of the city of Rome as it appeared c.AD315. In this talk he will introduce the model and discuss some of the tools and methodology involved in its creation, including questions about date, level of detail, and conjecture. He will then talk about the paedagogical uses of digital modelling and the digital Rome model’s potential as a research tool: current work includes investigation of illumination at specific times of day and year, and sightlines within the ancient city to, from, and between major monuments.
Rome 5


Matthew Nicholls read Literae Humaniores at St John’s College, Oxford and was a Junior Research Fellow at the Queen’s College, before taking up a lectureship in Classics at Reading where his work includes running an MA in the City of Rome. His research includes the study of ancient books and libraries, including a newly-discovered text by the 2nd C AD medical writer Galen. He is also interested in the digital reconstruction of ancient buildings and places, initially for reaching and outreach work and increasingly for research. His work in this area won the 2014 Guardian/Higher Education Academy national Teaching Excellence award, and he currently holds a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award for work on digital visualisation in the humanities. As part of this scheme he will be running an introductory workshop on software skills for digital visualisation and welcomes enquiries about participation.


Seminars are normally streamed live online on this blog and on YouTube. To keep in touch, follow us on Twitter (@IHRDigHist) or at the hashtag #dhist.

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