The Harvard Semitic Museum has reproduced and digitally augmented the ancient Egyptian “Dream Stela,” the famous stone monument found between the paws of the Great Sphinx at Giza. This massive slab of pink granite recounts the narrative of Thutmose IV, the eighth king of the Eighteenth Dynasty, when he visited the Sphinx and fell asleep in its shadow. The stela was reproduced in the 1840s using a series of small plaster casts, while the original was left in place. Using modern casting materials, the Museum restored these old damaged casts to produce a new replica, which even restores lines of text no longer preserved on the granite original today. This faux-stone reproduction has been supplemented with an augmented reality (AR) experience to provide an interactive translation interface for the entirety of the stela. It allows visitors to “step back in time” and view the stela in its ancient context between the paws of the Sphinx at different time periods. Visitors can explore more about the story, characters, and Harvard’s history with the preservation of cultural heritage.
Adam Aja will discuss the process to recreate the full-scale replica, and Luke Hollis will demonstrate the AR application that brings the stela’s narrative of Thutmose and the Sphinx to life in the exhibition gallery and also at home for visitors that can’t physically be in the space.