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Virtual Reconstruction Model
Detailed Modeling - The Royal Stoa

The computer model of the Royal Stoa is the most detailed of any in the Herodian Temple Mount reconstruction. This model is a perfect example of the different techniques used to create a real-time simulation. It contains a nested hierarchy of files, it relies extensively on external references, the textures are a combination of site photographs and digital reconstructions, and it contains a number of carefully controlled levels of detail. The following pages describe the construction of the computer model of this important building.

The Israel Antiquities Authority excavations guided by archaeologist Ronny Reich revealed a wealth of artifacts from the Royal Stoa including a column drum, a piece of carved cornice, a fragment of a carved frieze, and a portion of a lintel. Excavations in the nearby Jewish Quarter also revealed fragments that informed the reconstruction including an Attic column base and painted stucco fragments. These artifacts were used by Reich to guide his reconstruction and by Urban Simulation Team modeler Lisa M. Snyder to build the computer model.

The first stage in the construction of the Royal Stoa was to define the preliminary massing. The finished size of this structure varies considerably between published reconstructions and the process of building the computer model pointed up serious flaws in past reconstructions. Michael Avi-Yonah's physical reconstruction of the Royal Stoa at the Holyland Hotel stretches along the entire southern length of the platform - an astonishing 270 meters. Josephus Flavius tells us that the building contained four rows of 40 columns plus two additional columns. This would mean that the span between columns in Avi-Yonah's model would need to be over 6.5 meters (or 21.32 feet) and still provide adequate support for the upper floors of the structure. Considering the construction materials available at the time, this is highly unlikely. Reich's reconstruction features a much more compact structure.

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