Its creators describe Oslo 1324 as a "competence development project" and a "digital experience." It's actually something far more down-to-earth. 

Oslo 1324 gives visitors an authentic immersion into the Norwegian capital as it was 700 years ago. The date is no coincidence. 

Equipped with extensive knowledge of medieval architecture and practices, the team endeavored to reconstruct a true-to-life section of the town, featuring Bispeallmenningen and its vibrant activities. Source: Oslo 1324

Recreating the past 

"It marks a particular anniversary," says Egil Lindhart Bauer, an archeological researcher at the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU). 

"In 1624, Oslo burned to the ground, and a whole new city was rebuilt alongside the old one. 1324 also predates the Black Death reaching Norway in 1349. This was when Oslo was at its peak."

An active local population "of about 3,000" is presented going about their daily business. But how?

This is where Tidvis comes into the picture. 

Makers of digital, 3D, and animated recreations of historical events and eras, this Oslo-based company has already put together projects such as the Viking Village Project Veøya and a Time Machine at Romsdal Museum

"The archeological team gives us as much information as they can," says Tidvis CEO and historian Ragnhild Hutchison, "then it's our job to reinterpret the streets, shops, churches, and houses in a visual, digital format." 

Egil and his fellow specialists are basing their findings on excavations carried out in 2017 and 2018. 

The Follo rail line, which opened on March 5, 2023, was constructed through the area of the original, pre-1624 city of Oslo. 

This construction provided archeologists with extensive opportunities to conduct excavations under Bispegata, also known as Bishop Street, a significant thoroughfare historically linking the main town to the waterfront. 

"In Norway, we have a rule that the polluter pays," says Egil. "So, we were allowed to explore medieval Oslo before they built their railway." 

You can see the team in action along modern-day Bispegata here

The Time Machine Oslo project extends beyond a 3D virtual tour, incorporating educational role-playing games, compact mini-exhibitions, and video games to enhance the learning experience. Source: Oslo 1324

Going digital 

Equipped with much newly discovered information, Egil's team was ready to disseminate their findings when the pandemic hit: "This spurred us on to take a new direction. There were no guided tours, no visits; all communication had become virtual." 

Having crossed paths before, Egil approached Tidvis to discuss a digital realization. 

He promptly sought funding, recognizing that the significant year of 2024 would resonate with key city institutions. 

These include the museum and the Oslo ladegård manor house, which stands on the site of the Old Bishop's Palace, a structure dating back to the early 1300s. 

"We wanted to show a cross-section of the town along what was then called Bispeallmenningen, the churches and secular buildings, the trades and pastimes, all set to scale." 

Egil's team had expert knowledge of the architecture and local building practices of the period, but there were gaps in their research. 

The harbor, for example, is shown in the distance as it would have been near impossible to present it with the same painstaking level of detail. 

"The hardest thing for us to do is the insides of houses," admits Ragnhild. 

"The furniture, the stove, the doorways - these elements take the most time. Even the angle of a roof can be challenging, so we often have to consult with the archeologists." 

Shops are represented by their signs and taverns by a laurel wreath. There were no street numbers. 

For Tidvis, providing a fully immersive experience is crucial: "When you walk around medieval Oslo at noon and then switch to nighttime, you really understand how dark the world was back then," Ragnhild explains.

The developers utilize the material extensively, not only in the 3D realization but also in role-playing games for schools, mini-exhibitions packed into a box, and video games. 

Visitors can explore the Time Machine with or without a guide. While much of the Time Machine Oslo 1324 content is accessible without language skills, English versions are expected to be available in the near future. 

Time Machine Oslo 1324 will be showcased at the Bishop's Palace at 2 pm on January 16. 

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