In 2018 the National Trust at Avebury hosted a research project for Bournemouth University, looking at the role of virtual reality as a way to help people better understand heritage sites. This meant that we could invite visitors to participate in a virtual tour of Avebury as it was 4,300 years ago.
This involved wearing a virtual reality headset and earphones which allowed vistors to ‘walk’ or ‘fly’ through the virtual henge, great stone circle, the two smaller circles and the newly discovered square monument. It also gave an idea of just how deep the ditches and how high the banks were when originally built.
All the researchers asked in return is that once the experience is complete, a questionnaire was completed by the participants to describe their experience.
Virtual Avebury was part of a nine month project exploring the potential of online virtual simulations to help people understand Avebury and its surrounding virtual landscapes. The virtual Avebury is built as accurately as possible and calls on the latest research to produce the final images and soundscape.
The research was being carried out by Bournemouth University in partnership with Daden Limited (a 3D simulation development company), Satsymph (a consortium of sound specialists) and the National Trust. The project was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
Sadly, Virtual Avebury is no longer available to visitors as it was built purely for the purpose of the research. However, for those interested in the results, the final report can be found here http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/34318/1/document.pdf