myEleusis will be a flagship project with an essential role in the promotion of Eleusis as the European Capital of Culture in 2023. It will revolve around the sanctuary of Demeter and Kore, which will be a main attraction for the anticipated visitors.
In this context, the project aims to initiate visitors into ancient Eleusis and the Mysteries before, during, and after their visit. It will offer a comprehensive experience through a versatile set of state-of-the-art digital systems that will engage visitors on-site and beyond. myEleusis will employ modern interactive methods to enrich the visitors’ experience at the sanctuary of Demeter and the archaeological museum of Eleusis, both of which are numbered among the most prominent and world-renowned classical sites in Greece (Mylonas 1961, Papangeli 2002).
The sanctuary of Demeter and Kore was established in the Late Bronze Age (Mycenaean Greece) and remained in use throughout antiquity as the place where the Eleusinian Mysteries were celebrated. The incorporation of the Mysteries in the Athenian religious calendar and the erection of new buildings, after the destruction wrought by the Persians in 480 BCE, breathed new life into the festival. The sanctuary reached its heyday during the Roman period when several emperors adorned it with magnificent buildings. In the late 4th century CE Eleusis fell into obscurity. A long period of continuous use, combined with the effects of many decades of archaeological research (which began in 1812) resulted in the visible presence of architectural remains from all periods within the narrow confines of the archaeological site.
The technologies we propose to employ will contribute to the generation of personalized experiences. They will provide a strong element of interactivity with the cultural reserve and the accompanying digital content without undermining the actual monuments. On the contrary, they are designed to encourage users to visit them. They will introduce the uninitiated guests to the cultural product of the archaeological site and the museum of Eleusis and offer a wealth of pertinent information before, during, and after their visit.
myEleusis will contribute to:
1) the meaningful upgrade of current (exclusively traditional) dissemination methods
2) the installation of novel and attractive tools, and
3) indirectly, myEleusis will assist in the region’s sustainable long-term economic development.
The combination of 3D digitization technologies, virtual and augmented reality, digital storytelling, and serious games will produce a series of modern interactive applications that will enhance the site’s appeal. The applications include the establishment of a digital assets repository that will draw on the archaeological site and the exhibits at the museum in Eleusis. The repository will serve as the main source of scientifically sound and valid data that will support subsequent steps and the development of applications that will:
a) enhance real-world navigation with additional, on-demand, and personalized historical-cum-archaeological-cum-architectural information through smart portable devices and virtual reality technologies, and
b) facilitate (simultaneously) the readability of these sites with novel and more attractive methods.
At the same time, the digital assets will provide:
a) a source of information for the creation of educational activities (serious games), and
b) a source for the enrichment of the virtual museum accessible by visitors at various areas designated by the Ephorate.
A web-based interactive map will provide an overview of the cultural reserve of Eleusis and will connect the monuments that are scattered throughout the city. The cultural reserve will enable us to produce original audiovisual material that will introduce the site to people with mobility limitations or those who live far away. The aforementioned set of tools will transform the archaeological site into the most important comparative advantage of Eleusis 2023.