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Rome Transformed

Unique visualisations offer chance to explore ancient Rome

Published on: 24 May 2024

A new exhibition at Newcastle University's Great North Museum: Hancock uses stunning visualisations to transport visitors on a time-travelling journey to Ancient Rome.

Major European project

The exhibition, which opens on 25 May and runs until 1 September, aims to deepen our understanding of Rome and its impact on cultural change across the Mediterranean.  

Over the last five years, as part of a major European Research Council project, an international team of archaeologists led by Newcastle University has meticulously studied the transformation of southeast Rome. They explored changes from the time of Augustus, the first Roman Emperor, to the year 800, when a very different ruler, Charlemagne, arrived in Rome for his coronation by the Pope as Holy Roman Emperor.  

The archaeologists employed many specialist skills and cutting-edge technologies (lightweight drone imaging, laser scanning, and subsurface exploration) to uncover the grand tapestry of history marked by seismic shifts in politics, armies, and religion. This research also posed critical questions about investigating ancient cities, exploring how Rome grew, and discerning the ripple effects of Rome's transformations on a broader scale from the 1st to 8th centuries AD.

A Laser Scan of the Lateran Baptistery as part of the Rome Transformed exhibition

Unique new perspective

Ian Haynes, Professor of Archaeology and Principal Investigator for Rome Transformed, Newcastle University, said: “It is a real pleasure to be able to present our team’s research at the Great North Museum: Hancock. We hope visitors will find the combination of technology and adventure enjoyable. In addition to conveying brand new glimpses of what our research area looked like, we have sought to convey the experience of researching in Rome. Team members worked on many extraordinary sites, sometimes deep beneath the ground, and sometimes drone-aided far above the modern streets. Taken together, we aim to offer a unique new perspective on an amazing city.”

Malavika Anderson, Museum Manager at the Great North Museum: Hancock, said: “We are delighted to be presenting this innovative experience at the Great North Museum: Hancock in collaboration with archaeologists at Newcastle University. The visual history of Rome has always been a captivating topic and the insights that new technology and research can offer us are truly exceptional. We hope audiences enjoy immersing themselves in this hidden world of ancient Rome and learn more about the transformations of this extraordinary city.”

‘Rome Transformed’ runs from Saturday 25 May - Sunday 1 September. Entry is free. For full details of opening times, events, and facilities available, please visit the Great North Museum: Hancock website:

Press release adapted with thanks to Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums


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