Daniel PLETINCKX / Carlotta CAPURRO / Dries NOLLET
(Visual Dimension bvba, Ename, Belgium)

Keywords: virtual reconstruction, natural interaction, education, serious game, archaeological park

Our work focuses on the research about and reconstruction of the Saint Saviour abbey in Ename (Belgium) in the 13th century, both in its architectural decoration and in its furnishing.
Aim of the reconstruction is the creation of a serious game with natural interaction (Kinect) targeted to school children visiting the site, that will allow them to virtually walk in the abbey and discover the daily life of monks.
We based our reconstruction on the large amount of historical sources and archaeological data that more than 25 years of extensive excavation provided. In the reconstruction of the furniture and the objects of the abbey, we also used a great number of iconographic sources, such as illuminated manuscripts.
The educational game has multiple goals. It will be installed in the Provincial Heritage Centre of Ename, erected next to the archaeological site, and it will be deployed in a room on the top floor overlooking the archaeological remains. In this way, it links to the complex archaeological remains and shows the splendour of the medieval phase of this abbey. The reconstructed period also shows the scriptorium in which Martijn van Torhout, a well known medieval writer, was active.
A second important goal is the re-contextualisation of museum objects that have been excavated in the abbey’s site. In the digital abbey, artefacts are shown in their original context and function both to help children to understand better their nature, but also to explain them the concept of heritage, and the reason why we spend effort and budget to excavate and preserve objects from the past.
The third goal of the project is a better interpretation of available archaeological and historical data. Reconstructing the inside of the abbey has improved significantly the understanding of the structure of the buildings, their function and interrelation.