Since its discovery in 1993, an international team has been studying a unique find from Iran: the “Salt Men.”
These people perished in an ancient Persian salt mine about 2,400 years ago. The salt preserved their bodies for thousands of years, making them the only surviving salt mummies.
Since April 2021, visitors to the German Mining Museum in Bochum can take a closer look at the salt men and the salt mine of Chehrābād in the special exhibition “Death in Salt: An Archaeological Investigation in Persia.”
The special feature? The exhibition has been completely digitized and can be explored purely digitally and free of charge in a web browser. A visit to the exhibition in the museum was possible between June and September 2021.
The app programmers and multimedia experts at ArcTron 3D created a special attraction for the on-site visit by developing an augmented reality app as a digital companion through the exhibition. At the beginning of their visit to the museum, visitors can borrow tablets with the preinstalled AR app (AR, short for augmented reality) at the ticket office to easily experience all digital content. Short tutorials and simple user guidance make the app ideal for one-time use by many visitors* in a museum.
While interactive info points are distributed around the room in the digital exhibition, these are replaced by QR codes in the museum. These can be scanned in the app, whereupon the appropriate content is opened on a micro web page in the app’s internal Internet browser. This means that visitors do not have to constantly switch between several applications on their smartphones. Accordingly, all functionalities are available directly in one app.
Even before the start of the app development, a 3D model of the Iranian Chehrābād mine, where the salt mummies were found, was prepared, printed and authentically painted by a restoration painter. The model, measuring approximately 80 x 80cm, was then placed in the special exhibition. If you scan the QR code on the model with the app, virtual info points are displayed at the exact position of the discovery sites in the printed mine. If an info point is selected, further information, images and interactive 3D models are displayed.
The second AR content is located at a 2 x 1m light table, which shows an extremely high-resolution image of the mummy “Salzmann 4”. As soon as the AR content is activated, a virtual 3D model of the salt mummy in real size appears above the flat graphic. Additional content about the mummy and the accompanying artifacts in the form of text, images or 3D models can also be displayed here via info points. Through the reconstruction of the mummy, visitors get an insight into the everyday life and equipment of the ancient Persian workers in the salt mine about 2400 years ago.