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Welcome to Ancient Spaces

Featured Work in Progress: A Nisga'a Longhouse

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We are very grateful to

Wilp Wilxo'oskwhl Nisga'a

for permission to undertake this reconstruction.
Modeler: Ilia Slobodov
Scholar: Nancy Mackin (UBC)


Welcome to the Project

Using the technology behind online video games, we want to help you discover, research and explore the ancient civilizations of Greece, Egypt, and the Americas. Do you want to converse with Socrates in the Agora? How about rebuilding the Pyramids, the Ziggurats, or the Temple of Jerusalem? Have you wondered what life would be like in an ancient First Nations village? Would you like to join Julius Caesar's campaigns?

Welcome to Ancient Spaces. Please get in touch with any questions, comments, or suggestions about the project.


Our Mission

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Khonsu on the Nile (Egypt)
Credit: Tony Seymour Pending review

If every major history and culture class included the opportunity for students to create a high-quality online 3D environment that could be deployed as an asset for a popular video game - or as a component of a cluster of massively multiplayer worlds available online - we might discover a new way of making academic research available to a wide public, and broaden the horizons of cultural experience in the process.


Ancient Spaces is developing a 3D client and editor to encourage those explorations, and to draw the academic research community closer together with the public and with the living heritage of history. After all, if a fictional online world (MMO) can become so popular that millions master an imaginary geography, story, and economy, then perhaps a real culture can be every bit as compelling, entertaining, and immersive. And with students and the academic community enabled to provide 3D models, scripts, and stories, the online space would never be at a loss for constantly evolving content.


In this spirit, Ancient Spaces aims to enable students and non-academics to join researchers in creating and sharing knowledge beyond the walls of the university. We hope to create a simple interface and technology for sharing, qualifying, and evaluating interactive three-dimensional content.

On this website, see our current projects, multimedia and news pages for updates, and visit our less formal developers' blog for the latest. And please feel free to contact us with questions or suggestions.

About Us

About the Project

Ancient Spaces, developed in Arts Instructional Support & Information Technology at the University of British Columbia, is an 'open-source' project that aims to deliver immersive, three-dimensional historical environments to your computer via the Internet - allowing multiple users to interact with artifacts, structures, and historical characters within an immersive and compelling virtual space. Building on the technology of 'massively multiplayer' computer games, which attract millions of players daily, our goal is to change perspectives and open minds, by giving students, researchers, and members of the public access to the life of cultures that are difficult to reach in reality.

About the Platform

Technology (Programming & Modelling)

Based on OGRE 3D, the Ancient Spaces platform was developed in 2006 with a view towards course applications and integration at UBC's Faculty of Arts. [more on technology]

More About Us

Image Goals & Philosophy
- Outreach. To open minds by offering a new portal into cultures, political systems, arts, and societies that lie beyond the reach of youth in western societies [more].

ImageProject Team & History
- Ancient Spaces is a unique blend of student-driven research with teaching & learning innovations ... [more]

News and media highlights

December 2007

picture of Ulrich RauchPodcast: An interview with Ulrich Rauch, Director of Arts Instructional Support & IT

September 2007

CourierAncient Spaces is featured in the Vancouver Courier's story "New Worlds". Updates coming soon!

February 2007

ImageThe official launch of Arts Metaverse by UBC's Faculty of Arts Instructional Support & Information Technology unit. Click here to watch a short video clip and browse some images.

August 2006
On 18 August, Ancient Spaces was featured on CBC Radio's On the Coast programme. Listen to the interview with Michael Griffin here. There's also a shorter CBS Radio interview online here.
June 2006
Ancient Spaces is featured in Educause's Innovations & Implementations series - check out the article here [PDF]. The Educause Learning Initiative (ELI) is a community of higher education institutions and organisations committed to advancing learning through innovation.

Latest blog entries

Click here to read up on our progress in the new Ancient Spaces blog, soon to be syndicated here by RSS.