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Coastal's Ashes2Art Web site project awarded NEH grant

April 25, 2007

Coastal Carolina University's Ashes2Art, an innovative Web site that shows the virtual reconstruction of Grecian ruins and monuments, has been awarded a $30,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

The grant was one of 16 Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants the NEH awarded to new projects "designed to explore and develop innovative uses of technology in humanities education, scholarship and public programming."

Ashes2Art, under direction of Coastal professors Arne Flaten and Paul Olsen, involves the digital, three-dimensional reconstruction of classical monuments of the early fourth century at Delphi in Greece.

In classrooms, Coastal students work on the reconstruction of animated re-creations and virtual tours of ancient monuments and important historical sites.Viewers enter a "virtual" location such as a Gothic cathedral and tour the structure from a practically unlimited number of viewpoints. The Web site,, offers fly-throughs, panoramas and access to high-resolution details of various architectural and sculptural elements, floor plans, stained glass, mosaics, etc., with links to discussions of iconography, artistic process and materials, as well as historical summaries.

The grant will allow professors Flaten and Olsen to take a group of students to Greece to photograph and study the ruins they will re-create on the computer through use of sophisticated software. Arkansas State University has recently teamed with the Coastal students and professors in a collaborative effort to expand development of the site.

"Ashes2Art is a new concept," says art historian and professor Flaten. "It will bring back ancient monuments into a fully searchable, rotatable, immersion experience. It utilizes cutting edge video and 3-D rendering software, onsite measurements and current research in archaeology, economics, politics, religion, art history, philosophy and socio-cultural history."