Pyramids 3D ($13.99) is a multimedia journey into some of the most renowned and magnificent structures of the ancient world, the Pyramids, Sphinx, and tombs at Giza, Egypt. With this beautifully designed app, users can read about early Egyptian history, examine 3D-rendered artifacts, and even take virtual journeys into the Pyramids and tombs while a narrator explains what they are seeing. This fun and informative app offers content that will be of interest to anyone from curious youngsters to budding Egyptologists to armchair explorers.
When you first open the app, you are treated to a 3D aerial tour of the Great Pyramids, Sphinx tombs, lesser pyramids, and other structures on the Giza plateau. You come to rest, hovering high above the pyramids. By clicking on a pyramid or a tomb, you are transported to it and given the option to enter the structure. (You can also navigate to the various structures from a pull-down menu atop the screen.) When you do so, you are transported along corridors within the building, where you can visit various chambers. If you press Audio Intro, a voice will describe what you are seeing.? Moving your finger across your iPad?s touch screen will let you get a 360-degree view of the chamber or other location.
In the lower left corner of the screen are three buttons with icons: Places, Objects, and Book.
The Book section provides a good overview of Egyptian history from when the Nile valley was settled some 8,000 years ago through Greco-Roman times and including the more recent exploration and excavation of the tombs starting in the seventeenth century. It includes additional illustrations and artifacts, including basic cutaways of the pyramids as well as photos of the structures.
Anyone who?s watched specials on Egyptology in recent years will be familiar with archaeologist Zawi Hawass, secretary general of Egypt?s Supreme Council of Antiquities. Dr. Hawass wrote the text for this app, as well as selecting the 40 artifacts that appear in the Objects section. They were rendered in 3D by Sandro Vannini and his team, which also spent thousands of hours photographing Giza?s monuments.
The artifacts are largely statues, but also include an urn, a knife, and hieroglyph-covered palettes. There?s also the reconstruction of a boat?found near the Great Pyramid?that had been dismantled into more than 1,200 pieces of wood. It?s known as the Solar Boat, as it is believed to have been built to carry the deceased pharaoh Khufu on his afterlife journey through the sky with the sun god Ra. The centerpiece, though, is the exquisite 3D rendering of the golden funeral mask of King Tutankhamun.
Pyramids 3D shares the solid content and exquisite photography and production of another Touch Press ebook, the Editors? Choice app The Elements: A 3D Exploration (5 stars, $13.99). There are more in-depth books on Egyptology, but Pyramids 3D is a very good overview, and provides a fun and educational multimedia look at some of the grandest structures ever built.
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