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New Books
Utilizing 3D technologies, Constructing the Sacred addresses ancient ritual landscape from a unique perspective to examine development at the complex, long-lived archaeological site of Saqqara.
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by Archaeology Newsroom

Constructing the Sacred

Elaine A. Sullivan

Elaine A. Sullivan, Constructing the Sacred. Visibility and Ritual Landscape at the Egyptian Necropolis of Saqqara, Stanford University Press, 2020. ISBN: 9781503603332

A new “born-digital” publication by UC Santa Cruz associate history professor Elaine A. Sullivan takes a fresh look at the region [of Saqqara] to demonstrate how the site has evolved over more than 2,500 years.

Utilizing 3D technologies, Constructing the Sacred addresses ancient ritual landscape from a unique perspective to examine development at the complex, long-lived archaeological site of Saqqara, Egypt. Sullivan focuses on how changes in the built and natural environment affected burial rituals at the temple due to changes in visibility. Flipping the top-down view prevalent in archeology to a more human-centered perspective puts the focus on the dynamic evolution of an ancient site that is typically viewed as static.

Sullivan considers not just individual buildings, but re-contextualizes built spaces within the larger ancient landscape, engaging in materially-focused investigations of how monuments shape community memories and a culturally-specific sense of place, thus incorporating the qualitative aspects of human perception.

3D models promise to have great potential for research in a broad range of artifact- and object-based research, yet current technology does not allow for a robust environment of engaging with complex objects that change over time. This publication is among the first to push the boundaries to include interactive 3D models that can be navigated both spatially and temporally.

About the author

Elaine A. Sullivan is Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Cruz.