OLYMPIA, Greece, Nov. 10,
2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The Hellenic Ministry of Culture
and Sport and Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday announced Ancient
Olympia: Common Grounds, a new collaboration to digitally preserve
and restore ancient Olympia, the
original home of the Olympic games, using AI. This digital revival
project allows viewers around the world to explore ancient
Olympia as it stood more than
2,000 years ago through an immersive experience via an interactive
mobile app, web-based desktop experience, or a Microsoft HoloLens 2
exhibition at the Athens Olympic Museum.
Digitally preserving ancient Olympia gives people a way to walk through the
site during one of history's most important periods — brought
to life in a realistic, engaging way that was never before
possible. This new form of digital archiving will continue to offer
a portal to another era, helping us understand what humanity has
achieved in the past and reminding us of what we're capable of
"Ancient Olympia: Common Grounds is a unique way of experiencing
Greece's proud cultural heritage.
Visitors around the world can virtually visit the ancient site
of Olympia and experience history
firsthand using augmented reality technology," said
Kyriakos Mitsotakis, prime minister of Greece.
"The project to digitally preserve ancient
Olympia is a stunning achievement
in cultural heritage, bringing together humanity and cutting-edge
technology to benefit the world and empower coming generations with
new ways to explore our past," said Brad
Smith, president and vice chair, Microsoft.
"With the digital representation of the Panhellenic sanctuary of
Ancient Olympia, its cultural heritage — but also the values of
Olympism, peace, harmony, excellence and noble rivalry — becomes
accessible to the whole world through the use of state-of-the-art
technology. The digital preservation project, through the use of
artificial intelligence and augmented reality technologies,
implemented through the cultural sponsorship of Microsoft, promotes
and highlights the unique and emblematic archaeological site of
Ancient Olympia. This contributes to the research and documentation
of monuments, supports the tourism and extroversion of the country
as a modern and strong democracy with a long historical and
cultural past and unquestionable development dynamics," said
Lina Mendoni, Hellenic Republic
Minister of Culture and Sports.
"We thank the Greek government for the trust and the great
partnership it took to make this project a reality. I am looking
forward to exploring the different ways we can work together to
leverage even further Common Grounds to enhance tourism, education
and Greece's brand name to the rest of the world," said
Theodosis Michalopoulos, general
manager for Microsoft Greece Cyprus and Malta.
In total, the project digitally preserves 27 monuments at the
site, among them the original Olympic Stadium, the temples of Zeus
and Hera, and the workshop of the renowned sculptor Phidias. In the
3D experience, these buildings are recreated in lifelike
detail, painstakingly researched by
the Hellenic Ministry's expert archaeologists to be as
true as possible to their original forms. This includes historical
timelines of the site's changes over time and depictions of
artifacts from each period.
Through its AI for Cultural Heritage initiative, Microsoft
partnered with technology company Iconem, which specializes in
digitizing historic sites in 3D, to create the foundational model
of ancient Olympia. Both
on-the-ground cameras and drones were used to take hundreds of
thousands of images of the site, which Microsoft AI processed to
create models so precise, they render as
The collaboration between the Greek Ministry of Culture and
Sports and Microsoft brought together people from diverse
backgrounds — theoretical and technical, like archaeologists and
developers — and from various parts of the world to work, find new
ways to overcome challenges, and eventually find a common ground to
make this project come to life — not just to preserve the past with
the use of AI technology but also to drive these principles into
These monuments survived thousands of years of weather, war,
earthquakes and modernization, and are in need of digital
preservation to ensure that all the evidence of the rich history
and civil common ground values that the site was built upon is
handed over to future generations.
The web experience may be viewed at
olympiacommongrounds.gr, and the app may be downloaded on the
iOS and Android app stores.
The Ancient Olympia: Common Grounds Exhibition,
featuring the HoloLens 2 Virtual Tour, is now open to the
public at the Athens Olympic Museum.
Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT" @microsoft) enables digital
transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an
intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every
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