Reconstructing Antiquity

Interpreting Ancient Architecture with Computational Simulation Tools

  • Tim Frank Kennesaw State University,


This paper presents a new approach to archeological reconstruction, utilizing state-based building performance simulation (BPS) tools to compare regressed climate data and architectural features unearthed during field excavation. In the archaeological discipline, where reconstructions of architectural systems are routine, no applied methodologies have been established that highlight the use of state-based BPS tools as a complimentary track to culture-based forms of interpretation. To address this shortfall, this paper offers an overview of a BPS enhanced workflow that prioritizes trial and error experimentation, enriched by the systematic observation of building-environment relationships that are fundamental to early dwelling patterns. The workflow consists of four primary phases: (1) the integration of archaeological datasets within an interoperable modeling domain; (2) the introduction of input states into the domain with subsequent statechange observation; (3) the corroboration of simulation output across multiple analysis types; and (4) the reiteration of various building configurations. The interaction of the base modeling platform and the simulation plug-in components within a common interface eases the swift instantiation of reconstruction alternatives from output acquired using state-based lighting, radiation and fluid dynamics domain branches. The observed behavior of light, heat and airflow patterns within the simulation domain invite incremental revisions to virtual models that test their probability with respect to the maintenance of human health described in ancient treatises. The paper provides an in-depth description of each workflow phase and demonstrates their functionality using case studies from classical sites in ancient Asia Minor including Miletus, Priene and Pergamon where structures currently exist in an incomplete state. While much can be understood about these building systems from even meager archaeological records including building location, ground integration, structural configuration and spatial disposition; new knowledge about how early populations organized space around the dictates of climate can be elicited using BPS tools.

How to Cite
Frank, T. (2018). Reconstructing Antiquity. ARCC Conference Repository.