Theban Mapping Project
TagsCollections, Content management tools, Storytelling, Infographics, 3D modeling, Animation, Web sites
Interactive maps, measured drawings, and models of every tomb in the Valley of the Kings interconnect thousands of photographs, illustrations, and exhaustive research in this new standard for archeological publishing.
The Valley of the Kings is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. From 1500–1000 B.C. the Egyptians buried their pharaohs here in grand underground complexes. Since 1978, the Theban Mapping Project, under the direction of well-known Egyptologist Dr. Kent Weeks, has been working to prepare a comprehensive archaeological database of the valley and the entire Theban Necropolis—the first and most important step in preserving the fragile heritage of these monuments. With information about every archaeological, geological, and ethnographic feature in the Valley of the Kings, nearly 2,000 photographs and illustrations, over 250 detailed maps, elevations and sections, exhaustive bibliographic resources, articles, glossaries, and timelines, this dynamic Web site sets a new standard for archeological publishing—one that is informative, innovative, and interactive. From professional Egyptologists to school children, this site serves the needs of wide and diverse audiences. Visitors unfamiliar with the subject matter can go on a virtual tour of a tomb in 3-D or watch narrated movies for each tomb while advanced scholars can research the architecture and decoration of every chamber in every tomb in the Valley of the Kings. The interactive atlas displays movies, information, and images within the context of detailed maps and measured drawings in a stand-alone, multimodal tool. The HTML site provides access to printable versions of the same dynamic, database-driven content which will be continually updated with new data, findings, and photography.
Press & AwardsDesigning Interfaces: Patterns for Effective Interaction Design, Jenifer Tidwell, 2006 (O’Reilly)“Ten Websites You Shouldn’t Miss: Theban Mapping Project,” The Christian Science Monitor, Jim Regan, December 29, 2005
A recent redesign has made this archeological website spectacular. With interactive maps of every known tomb in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, an interactive and narrated ‘walk-through’ of one of the better-documented tombs, and an interface that manages to keep everything straight, the Theban Mapping Project is probably the most impressive website I’ve encountered.“Second Story,” w.e.b., July 2004“Skyscrapers in Cyberspace: Maps and History Online,” New York Times, Matthew Mirapaul, May 14, 2004
The Web site of the Theban Mapping Project, based at American University in Cairo, lets visitors use an interactive map to explore the tombs of Thebes.“Sites of the Year 2003,” The Sunday Times, James Knight, December 28, 2003
The outstanding educational site of the year brings life to the Necropolis of Thebes. The site’s crowning glory is its virtual atlas…and one tomb has been re-created as a jaw-droppingly exciting interactive 3-D walk-through.Flash MX 2004 Savvy, Ethan Watrall, 2003 (Sybex)“14th Annual Muse Awards,” AAM Museum News, Deborah Seid Howes, November 2003American Association of Museums Muse Awards, Gold, Collections Database/Reference Resource, 2003
Among all the sites submitted for this category of judging, the Theban Mapping Project was head and shoulders above everything else. This is a sophisticated, rapidly loading, aptly designed resource. The live ‘Valley’ interactive is superbly executed, and there is attention to detail at every corner, and almost everything you might want to click on in “what’s this thing?” mode does something intriguing...This is a fabulous site! The content is deep and is continually updated with new data. The visitor is provided with opportunities to tour the tombs, to zoom in on images, to view video clips. The interface is clean and easy. The navigation tools are logical and the download of images are fast! Across all criteria, this site grabbed my attention and kept it. I will return!ComputerWorld Smithsonian Award, Finalist and Honored Laureate, 2003Communication Arts, Interactive Design Annual, Info Design, 2003Webby Awards, Nominee, Best Practices, 2003Museums and the Web Conference, Best Museum Research Site, 2003
The beauty of this project must be in the initial planning. The end result is a site that allows multiple routes into the information and allows the user to get an atmospheric overview or to drill down to the detail.Museums and the Web Conference, Best Overall Museum Web Site, 2003
Great great work. Very well structured and designed. The combination of innovative interfaces, interesting topics, and useful information is at its best!
A beautiful, indepth, and innovative web site. The Atlas of the Valley of the Kings is phenomenal and a very exciting innovation!Art Directors Awards, Gold Medal, Web Application, 2003One Show Interactive, Bronze, Non-Profit Web Sites, 2003“A Walk Through the Valley of the Kings,” Archaeology, Mark Rose, November 1, 2002“Second Story: Interactive Tales,” Desktop, Andy Polaine, October 2002“Theban Mapping Project,” Communication Arts, Joe Shepter, September 16, 2002“Theban Mapping Project,” World Village, Gracie Smith, August 26, 2002“Valley of Kings Online,” The Art Newspaper, August 26, 2002“Online Diary: Dig This,” The New York Times, Pamela LiCalzi O’Connell, August 22, 2002Yahoo!, Pick of the Day, August 22, 2002
For the past year, the staff of the Theban Mapping Project has labored to create this incredible archaeological web site. Their efforts have paid off. The breadth and depth of the site is extraordinary. They’ve compiled a comprehensive database of information about each tomb in the Valley of the Kings.Macromedia, Site of the Day, August 20, 2002“Exhibits: Tombs With a View,” Science Magazine, August 2002
The Atlas, a huge expansion of an existing Web site, lets you explore each burial by calling up and manipulating floor plans and 3D reconstructions, browsing a photo gallery, and watching a film narrated by Egyptologist Kent Weeks, director of the project. Combining photographs with computer reconstructions based on precise laser measurements, the exploration reveals the tomb’s grandeur and uncovers some shortcuts the builders took during renovation.Project Cool, Cool Sightings, August 16, 2002“Site of the Week,” Newsday, Bob Suter, August 2002“Egyptian Tombs in 3-D,” IDG, Lasse Hallstrom, August 2002“Hot Sites: Tomb Raider,” USA Today, Sean Dodson, August 8, 2002
Take an unprecedented peek inside the legendary Valley of the Kings as the Theban Mapping Project lays bare the tombs of Egypt’s ancient rulers. This online atlas lets you explore interactive models of each burial vault, and sample some 2,000 images from within. An extensive library of video tours completes this modern view of ancient history.“Kings Unearthed,” Guardian Unlimited, August 2002
The most impressive addition is the new interactive atlas of the Valley of the Kings. From a large map of the tomb complex, you can zoom right into individual tunnels and temples. Each comes with a video and commentary. It is a well-executed and informative resource, and one of the best uses of Flash animation Web watch has seen.BBCi, Website of the Day, August 5, 2002“Information Technology: In Sites,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, August 5, 2002“Visit Egypt Without Leaving Your Home,” El Mundo, August 2002“Weekend Field Trips on the Web,” MSNBC Cosmic Log, Alan Boyle, August 2, 2002“Website Exposes Valley of the Kings’ Secrets,” Guardian Unlimited, Gwladys Fouche, August 2002
The most comprehensive Web site on Egypt’s Valley of the Kings…providing exhaustive information, maps, pictures and full histories of the 62 identified tombs in the valley where some of ancient Egypt’s most important pharaohs are buried.
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