Augmented reality app presents Old Uppsala in a new way
24 August 2016
In Old Uppsala lie the remains of one of Scandinavia’s most fascinating royal estates from the Iron Age. Once there were numerous houses and other buildings here, which visitors up until now have had to imagine from sketches. A new app called ‘Augmented History – Gamla Uppsala’ is changing this.
Old Uppsala is one of Sweden’s most well-known historic sites, known for its many burial mounds and for being the former home of kings who counted the god Frey himself as their ancestor. Even if visitors now can be impressed by the large burial mounds, these only make up part of the area’s character and content.
Once the area featured a great number of houses, even more graves and other monumental buildings. Archaeological research has generated a lot of knowledge over the years, but it has long been difficult to show visitors what the area actually looked like. Now, however, researchers at Uppsala University together with game designers and software developers have created a downloadable app for iPad to help improve the situation.
‘By using the GPS, compass and gyroscope features in smartphones and tablets it becomes possible to move through long-gone times and environments. As an added bonus, the user can discover virtual archaeological objects and collect them in a bag – just as in Pokemon Go – and at the same time receive information about these objects’, says John Ljungkvist, researcher at the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History at Uppsala University.
The app shows the site to visitors as it was roughly 100 years before the actual Viking Age, when all known large monuments were built but hadn’t yet been damaged by later activities and construction work. Visitors can experience the enormous hall in its majestic, elevated position on the plateau next to the church. This hall may have been the actual Uppsalen (literally translated Up hall) which gave its name to Old Uppsala and indirectly today’s Uppsala.
‘This is the first time this kind of technology is being used to enhance the experience at a landmark in Sweden. We hope this model can be used for more places and in more contexts, both to heighten the experience and to communicate research results’, says John Ljungkvist.
The app Augmented History – Gamla Uppsala 1.0 was launched on archaeology day, 28 August 2016. Visitors to the Old Uppsala Museum are offered to borrow iPads with the app installed, or to download the app to their own devices from Apple’s App Store. The next step will be to make the app available on Android too, as well as developing the option to use the app off-location.
The app development has been funded through the research projects ‘Old Uppsala – the establishment of a mythical centre’ and ‘The Viking Phenomenon’ at Uppsala University, as well as Uppsala Regional Council and the Old Uppsala Museum, who together have contributed knowledge and resources towards the visualisation of what the site may once have looked like. The result is an app which gives the visitor a window into history and an opportunity to explore 7th-century Old Uppsala.
The app, which to a large extent has been developed pro bono with a strong commitment from both researchers, 3D animators and developers, shows how research results together with game technology can enhance the experience of historic environments without affecting the ancient remains themselves.
New light cast on Scandinavia’s most important Bronze Age site
9 October 2018
Håga, Scandinavia's most significant Bronze Age site, is relatively unknown. But in a new book, archaeologists at Uppsala University have brought together what is known and placed Håga in a larger context.
New study shows virus traces in historical skeletal material
6 September 2018
A new international study shows the importance of studying historical skeletal material to increase knowledge about how viruses develop.
Large-scale whaling in north Scandinavia may date back to 6th century
13 June 2018
The intensive whaling that has pushed many species to the brink of extinction today may be several centuries older than previously assumed. This view is held by archaeologists from Uppsala and York whose findings are presented in the European Jour...
Vice-Chancellor Eva Åkesson to receive King’s Medal
8 June 2018
H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf has decided to award Uppsala University’s Vice-Chancellor Eva Åkesson and Johan Svedjedal, Professor of Literature, H.M. The King’s Medal.
This year’s Distinguished Teaching Award winners chosen
4 June 2018
The 2018 Distinguished Teaching Award winners at Uppsala University teach subjects related to art history, informatics and media, pharmaceutical biosciences and information technology. The free Distinguished Teaching Award was presented to Senior ...
Human diversity as a research area
29 May 2018
Human diversity abounds in language, culture and biology. An understanding of this diversity is central to a lot of research, but it is important to address the ethical issues raised by this research. The Human Diversity Research Network takes an ...
Shared meals important for wellbeing
29 May 2018
How, where and when we eat are key issues for human health and wellbeing. A multidisciplinary research network at Uppsala University aims to deepen knowledge about the significance of meals.
Is citizenship necessary for being part of a democracy?
26 April 2018
Nowadays, civil rights are usually connected with citizenship of a country. But how do growing globalisation and more mobility affect this?
Mobilising for research on higher education
26 April 2018
Remarkably little research is conducted on higher education in Sweden, but a large share of existing research on the subject is at Uppsala University. Through a research network for research on higher education, researchers are now mobilising to d...
Two Uppsala researchers elected at American Academy
25 April 2018
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences recently elected new members. Two Uppsala researchers were elected as international honorary members.
The Well-Laden Ship: Viking exhibition soon to reach America
11 April 2018
In late April, a ship will reach New York bringing the exhibition “The Vikings Begin” which will embark on a two-year tour of the US. On display will be a selection of 1,300-year-old items from the pre-Viking Age. Usually in storage at Gustavianum...
Art historian receives award from Vitterhetsakademien
9 April 2018
Every year, Vitterhetsakademien (The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities) confers prizes for outstanding scholarly achievements. PhD Hedvig Mårdh at Uppsala University was one of the 2017 prizewinners.
New Oscar Prize winners announced
21 December 2017
Uppsala University’s Oscar Prize for young researchers has been awarded to Eric Cullhed, Doctor of Philosophy, Department of Linguistics and Philology and Oskar Karlsson, Doctor of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences.
New thesis on 21st-century Swedish crime fiction: A Market of Murders
20 December 2017
Why have Swedish detective stories become so immensely popular in our century? What murder motives and weapons are most common in the genre, and why? And is it true that Swedish crime fiction is characterised by social criticism? A new thesis from...
Collaboration for new knowledge in culture and society
9 December 2017
Uppsala University is aiming to develop new research collaborations spanning different research subjects. The newly created Centre for Integrated Research on Culture and Society at the Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences will fac...
Ola Larsmo and Quentin Skinner new honorary doctors
16 October 2017
Author Ola Larsmo and Professor Quentin Skinner, University of London, have been appointed new honorary doctors at Uppsala University’s Faculty of Arts.
Equal Opportunities Award goes to Anita Hussénius
12 October 2017
Anita Hussénius, head of the Centre for Gender Research, has received the 2016 Equal Opportunities Award for her gender-equal and inclusive leadership.
Exhibition: Viking Age patterns may be Kufic script
3 October 2017
What was previously thought to be typical Viking Age, silver patterns on woven silk bands, could in fact be geometric Kufic characters. As part of an exhibition at the Enköping Museum, ongoing research is presented where a textile archaeological a...
First genetic proof that women were Viking warriors
8 September 2017
New DNA evidence uncovered by researchers at Uppsala University and Stockholm University shows that there were in fact female Viking warriors. The remains of an iconic Swedish Viking Age grave now reveal that war was not an activity exclusive to m...
Gustavian style – a Swedish style?
5 June 2017
Why has the neoclassical Gustavian style become so prominent in the Swedish self-image? A new dissertation from Uppsala University shows how researchers in art history, along with museums, commercial enterprises and the monarchy, have contributed ...