The Berlin Sculpture Network

The exhibition ‘PERGAMON – Panorama of the Ancient City’ is a core component of the three-year long research project entitled ‘Berlin Sculpture Network – Contextualisation and Interpretation of Ancient Sculpture’ which serves to disseminate current research findings to a wide audience. The 'Berliner Skulpturennetzwerk' project for the contextualisation and interpretation of ancient sculpture is jointly run by the Freie Universität and the National Museums in Berlin and falls under the joint auspices of Prof. Johanna Fabricius (Institute of Classical Archaeology at the FU Berlin) and Prof. Andreas Scholl (Collection of Classical Antiquities, National Museums in Berlin). As part of its focus on the 'transforming function of humanities', the project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in its funding initiative 'Freedom for Research in the Humanities'.

3D-Visualisierung des antiken Pergamon
© BTU Cottbus, Lehrstuhl für Darstellungslehre, Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dominik Lengyel

The project aims to digitally archive and make public images of the ancient sculptures contained at the Collection of Classical Antiquities at the National Museums in Berlin (around 4400 in total), as well as around 4000 modern plaster casts of ancient sculptures held in all the National Museums' other various collections, the Replica Workshop, as well as the plaster collection of ancient sculpture at the FU and the Humboldt University's Winckelmann Institute. The overriding scholarly concern is to concentrate on a historically differentiated reconstruction of the contexts in which the works were originally displayed, as well as on determining possible links between the works as to their spacial and functional context. This demands that digital records are also made of the relevant archive material and current excavation dates and that these two sets of information are combined. The work is carried out by qualified research assistants. Supplementary projects under the umbrella project include the interlinking of all data in a semantic 'context browser' and the formation of an interactive 3D recreation of Pergamon and its surrounding areas (including an inventory of excavations, a reconstruction of known parts of the city layout, the contextualisation of statues and a reconstruction of the landscape).

3D-Visualisierung des antiken Pergamon
© BTU Cottbus, Lehrstuhl für Darstellungslehre, Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dominik Lengyel

The initial research findings will be presented to the public in 2011/12 in the major Pergamon exhibition which will also include a contextualised, interactive 3D recreation of the ancient city. The exhibition, which will see numerous objects from the Pergamonmuseum's own storerooms go on show for the first time, forms the basis for the long-term development of new display concepts for exhibitions, both temporary and permanent, as organized by the Collection of Classical Antiquities in Berlin.

National Museums in Berlin, Collection of Classical Antiquities; Photo: Johannes Laurentius

The publication of images of sculptures and plaster casts will take the form of both online catalogues and publications in print. The Berliner Skulpturennetzwerk's expertise should then be consolidated in the long-term within the 'Berliner Antike-Kolleg', a panel created by the Excellence Cluster Topoi. The Skulpturennetzwerk's expertise should also come to fruition in teaching activities at the various universities involved. Partners to the network include: the Istanbul Department of the German Archaeological Institute, the Cologne Digital Archaeology Laboratory (CoDArchLab) at Cologne University's Archaeological Institute, Zuse Institute Berlin (ZIB), as well as the department for illustrative design at BTU Cottbus.

Arbeitsstelle für Digitale Archäologie - Cologne Digital Archaeology Laboratory (CoDArchLab) am Archäologischen Institut der Universität zu Köln