Spatial Organization and External Referencing
The original focus of the real-time model was on the Temple Mount platform and the areas to the south and west recently excavated by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). It quickly became apparent, however, that reference to the small-scale urban fabric of the City of David was needed to provide context for the monumental Temple Mount. With little excavation data from this area available, the reconstruction team made the decision to create generic building forms based on the scale of the two Herodian houses excavated in the Jewish Quarter. These 'context blocks' were then placed in the model along either side of Tyropoeon Valley, the site of the major north-south street during the Herodian period. This approach provides views with a sense of the scale of the ancient city and can be easily updated with new excavation information.
Three context blocks were built for the east side of the valley, then copied and rotated 180 degrees to create the context blocks for the west side of the valley. The shading for the six blocks (and the entire model) was calculated based on a morning sun shining from the southeast. Multiple copies of the six context blocks were placed in the digital terrain model (DTM) and positioned in spatially compact clusters along Tyropoeon Valley. From within the DTM, these multiple links to the six context block files are known as external references. For a real-time model, external references are a very powerful tool. For the entire City of David area that is seen in the Herodian Temple Mount model, the simulation software needs only load the six different context blocks.