Brussels, 24 Jun 2003
An information technology project funded by the Greek government has enabled archaeologists and the wider public to take an online tour of the complete Parthenon frieze, whose blocks themselves are held in three separate museums in Greece, the UK and France.
The Greek Ministry of Culture, together with the national documentation centre and first ephorate of prehistoric and classical antiquities, decided to digitalise the frieze on account of its cultural importance, and exploited new technologies in order to maximise the projects appeal and impact.
The virtual tour of the frieze, which is over a metre wide and 160 metres long, includes an introduction and a stone by stone description of the frieze in both Greek and English. Furthermore, the photographs of the original blocks, many of which are incomplete due to damage, are supplemented with drawings of the missing sections dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries.
Visitors can move from stone to stone in either direction using arrows and scrollbars and, by clicking a box at the bottom of the image, can chose whether or not to view the photographs with the supplementary drawings in the background.
The frieze itself depicts a great procession to the Acropolis during the Panathenaia, the festival held in honour of the goddess Athena. Some 360 human figures are represented in the frieze, along with the twelve Gods of Olympus and more than 250 animals, mainly horses.
During an event to mark the project's completion, speakers emphasised its general appeal and importance, but also welcomed the creation of a key tool for archaeologists and teachers that will broaden research in this area of cultural heritage.
The tour can be found on the national documentation centre's website, and is also available on a CD-ROM, which is available to museums, libraries, universities, research centres and schools.
To see the Parthenon frieze, please consult the following web address: