Author Archives: Mike Gogan

Thuburbo Majus

Thuburbo Majus or Colonia Julia Aurelia Commoda, its Roman name, was originally a Punic town, later founded as a Roman veteran colony by Augustus in 27 BC. Military veterans were sent to Thuburbo, among other sites, by Augustus to allow them to start their post-army lives with land of their own. Its strategic location and access to trade routes made it an important establishment. Ruins of the town are in the middle of the countryside with no towns in close proximity.

Most of the town was built around 150–200 and restored in the 4th century after the Crisis of the Third Century. It received a Capitolium in 168. The town was a productive grower of grain, olives, and fruit.Under Hadrian it was made a municipium, helping cause a growth in wealth, and Commodus made it a colony.

The Virtual Experience Company are working with the British Council and the Institut Nationale du Patrimoine Tunisie t bring this extraordinary site to the attention of the world, using Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality.  In the first phase of the project we scanned and photographed the site using drones.  Over the coming months we will be adding new content so please come back and follow our progress

Developed in association with the British Council

El Jem

The Roman city of Thysdrus was built, like almost all Roman settlements in ancient Tunisia, on former Punic settlements. In a less arid climate than today’s, Thysdrus, which became part of the Roman province of Byzacena, prospered especially in the 2nd century, when it became an important center of olive oil manufacturing for export.

By the early 3rd century AD, when the amphitheater was built, Thysdrus rivaled Hadrumetum (modern Sousse) as the second city of Roman North Africa, after Carthage. However, following the abortive revolt that began there in 238 AD, and Gordian I’s suicide in his villa near Carthage, Roman troops loyal to the Emperor Maximinus Thrax destroyed the city. The town is shown on the 4th century Peutinger Map.

Today, the Virtual Experience Company is collaborating with the British Council and the Institut National du Patrimoine Tunisie to bring the Amphitheatre to the world, using Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality.  This first phase of the project includes the use of drones to film and scan the Amphitheatre.

Update 28 October 2019:  We have now released the new website for the El Jem Museum, which can be found at

We will be bringing you updates on the project as it develops over the coming months but, in the meantime, we hope you’ll enjoy some of our photos and video.  Please feel free to send feedback via our comments page

Developed in association with the British Council

Ksar Said – A Virtual Experience

Ksar Saïd Palace is a former Tunisian beylic palace located in Bardo, on the outskirts of Tunis. The Virtual Experience Company and Cambridge University have developed this interactive model of the palace, which links to an educational programme about the Palace and Tunisian cultural heritage.

The project is funded by the British Council’s Cultural Protection Fund and is designed to enable young Tunisians to explore the myriad of influences that make up their unique culture.

The project website can be viewed at HERE

Photogrammetry Using Drones

As part of our ongoing development of new technologies we are now working on processes to create 3D models using drones. This is an extremely efficient way of capturing large amounts of data, which can then be used to develop full interactive models.

Below are some raw examples of heritage sites in the UK.


Aberystwyth Castle

Paxton’s Tower

Westminster Hall

The Virtual Experience Company was commissioned by Parliament to develop a visualisation of Westminster Hall, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The project was designed as part of a wider exhibition and we showed how the Hall may have looked in 1099 when it was first built by William Rufus. This visualisation was overlaid with a model of the Hall from 1400, when the famous hammer-beam roof was installed.

We also produced a suite of videos to describe the history of various aspects of the Hall.  This  example describes the King’s Table

Salut, Oman

The Virtual Experience Company was commissioned by HE the Cultural Advisor to HM the Sultan of Oman to develop a visualisation of the Archaeological Castle at Salut.

The history of the castle goes back into the mists of time and legend.  The site is being excavated by the University of Pisa, who have uncovered a treasure trove of artefacts and evidence of occupations from, in particular, the Bronze Age, the Early Iron Age and the Late Iron Age.