Science Art: Minecraft Colosseum replica (Amphitheatrum Flavium)

A screengrab from:
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One of the more interesting trends in scientific illustration lately – and I do think that it’s exactly the same kind of thing that inspired amateur illustrators of the 1800s were doing with pencil and paper – is creating replicas of archaeological sites in Minecraft. There’s an expert in reddit’s /r/AskHistorians sub who’s done it with a digital Teotihuacan, there’s a mighty Minecraft version of the Borobudur mega-stupa, and replicas of Harappa and Mohenjo Daro in Pakistan. There seems to be a tension between the desire to recreate these ancient sites as they appeared in their glory, or (as in this Minecraft Machu Picchu and countless Stonehenges) as the mysterious ruins they are today.

A version of the Parthenon seems pretty standard as a beginner replica-build project, while some ambitious folks have even attempted 1:1 replicas of Manhattan.

There’s not too much emphasis placed, perhaps, on accuracy – not when speed is a point of pride (as in this build of the Ziggurat of Ur). But there’s definitely something to gain from the experience of walking into the architectural wonders of the past, of exploring the buildings level by level from the inside, just as the real-world stone-cutting builders did.

For this virtual rebuilding of the Roman Colosseum, the builder evidently spend a long time working out some really precise details and even then wasn’t entirely satisfied. From the description:

Minecraft replica of the Amphitheatrum Flavium, aka Colosseum, I tried to do a 1:1 scale replica by following a lot of plans and photos to try to make it as similar as possible to the original Colosseum, obviously is not exact because of block limitations. The main difference is that the arena is not on the same level than the ground, but about 4 – 6 blocks lower, this is due to block slope; the rest of things, corridors, stairs, levels, windows, entrances … are as similar as I could watch on many plans and photos.

Even so, just to be able to “walk” into the thing and look up and around….