After 10 years of work, researchers this week unveiled a detailed 3-D simulation of ancient Rome, circa A.D. 320. Visitors can examine 7,000 buildings and even go inside the Colosseum for an in-depth tour.
It took centuries for Rome to rise up on the banks of the Tiber River to become one of the ancient world's most influential and advanced cities. But researchers from around the globe managed to recreate the jewel of antiquity in just 10 years -- in a digital copy.
"This is the first step in the creation of a virtual time machine, which our children and grandchildren will use to study the history of Rome and many other great cities around the world," Bernard Frischer, leader of the project, told reporters as he presented the project in Rome on Monday.
The project recreates almost the entire city center within the old city walls and cost $2 million (€1.5 million) to complete. It shows how buildings, now almost completely in ruins, fit together at a time when the vibrant city had a population of around 1 million.