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Virtual Egyptian Temple

At the center of every flourishing ancient Egyptian community, there was a sacred temple, the House of the Divinity. This Establishment (Sacred Corporation) was a model for the Egyptian world, encompassing religion, government, daily life, and harmony between heaven and earth. The Virtual Egyptian Temple does not represent any particular site, but embodies the key elements of a New Kingdom temple. It is built from respected sources and intended to for all ages' curricula in history, archeology, religion, and culture. The temple itself and all supporting materials are free to the public for all uses, as described in the end-user license agreement in the installation package.

Tours of the Virtual Egyptian Temple is a regular show at the the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh. Click on the image, above, for close-ups of the temple.

Read the book, which provides background information on the temple. It is a bridge for the reader from the temple itself to more general information about ancient Egyptian life and culture.


Troche, J., Jacobson, J. (2010) An Exemplar of Ptolemaic Egyptian Temples. Computer Applications in Archaeology (CAA), Granada, Spain, April, 2010 PDF

Handron, K., Jacobson, J. (2010). Extending Physical Collections Into the Virtual Space of a Digital Dome, The 11th International Symposium on Virtual Reality, Archaeology and Cultural Heritage VAST (2010), A. Artusi, M. Joly-Parvex,G. Lucet, A. Ribes, and D. Pitzalis (Editors), Paris, France, September. PDF

Jacobson, J. (2010) Digital Dome Versus Desktop Computer in a Learning Game for Religious Architecture. Annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), Denver, CO, April, 2010 PDF

Jacobson, J., Holden, L. (2005e). The Virtual Egyptian Temple. World Conference on Educational Media, Hypermedia & Telecommunications (ED-MEDIA), Montreal, Canada, June-July, 2005. PDF

Enter the 3D Model

The most recent version (4.0) of the model exists in 3D Studio Maxx format and in Unity.

Download the executable for the PC Unzip the folder and click on the *.exe file.

Download the executable for the MAC Unzip, and click the *.app file.

Older Versions

World Toolkit: We built the first version of the temple in 1993, which opened at the Guggenheim in 1994 in an exhibit of artwork employing new technology and has been improved upon ever since. We used the first version of World Toolkit on an IBM 486, which had one of the first graphics accelerator cards ever made.

VRML: Later, we rebuilt the temple in VRML format. To view the temple, install a VRML plug-in for your web browser. For the PC, we recommend the free player at Octagon, but Cortona and BS Contact VRML work too. Mac users should definitely use Cortona. Linux users should try FreeWRL or OpenVRML. Once your VRML viewer is installed, download the whole thing as a ZIPfile.

UT2004: The temple runs on a standard PC or Mac with at least a 1-ghz processor and 256K of video RAM on a game-graphics oriented video card. Most desktop computers today are entirely adequate. The temple also requires an installed copy of Unreal Tournament 2004 UT2004 is out of print, but generally available through eBay and second-hand venues. Then download the 54MB installation package file,, open it, and follow the directions in the README.TXT file.

Link to Credits

Latest News:

Many K-12 dome shows this year funded by Nord Family Foundation, NASA, and NSF. Ancient Greek farmer puppet/avatar. A collaboration with VIZIN Helping with a workshop in digital puppetry.