Before Egypt app launch — bringing the Garstang collection to life

Posted on: 9 October 2019 by Dr Ardern Hulme-Beaman in 2019 posts

Dr Ardern Hulme-Beaman and the ACE photogrammetry team introduce the Before Egypt app — a new augmented reality app from the University of Liverpool's Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology created to bring objects from the Garstang Museum's collection to life.

For the last year a small group of staff and students from the University of Liverpool's Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology have been beavering away in the basement on a small project that we hope will change the way the Department can communicate archaeology to public and professionals alike.

Photogrammetry is becoming an integral part of archaeology and most of the ACE department interacts with, employs or at least has ideas for its application. ACE now has fully functioning and sophisticated photogrammetry facilities, which have been built upon, expanded and tested over the last year.

PhD student Charlotte Sargent photogrammetrying an Egyptian pot

The Before Egypt app is the first fruits of this and was built in collaboration with the university’s in-house app development team (they’re the team in CSD that build the timetabling and room booking apps students and staff use about the university everyday). This app will hopefully be some of the first footsteps in combining research and technological innovations in the department to bring our subjects and objects back to life.

The app comprises five predynastic objects from the Garstang collection and each object is associated with an individual postcard. Using image recognition, the app can identify these postcards when laid on a flat surface through your phone’s camera and will project an archaeological object to float above it.

The objects are fully interactive with small notations and even in the case of two objects, some simple and fun animations that the guys at the CSD couldn’t resist adding. The app will also be loaded to the departmental tablets for future use on open days and interactive public events.

With such potential, the photogrammetry team is planning future models to represent each section of the department. If academics and students have a favourite feature of their research that could be (and probably should be!) photogrammetried (we still haven’t figured out what verb to use for building these models…) then please get in touch with Ardern Hulme-Beaman (, JR Peterson ( or for Garstang objects, Gina Criscenzo-Laycock (

Download the app now.

Visiting undergraduate student Sofia Kinzer reconstructing a model for the app and demonstrating it to Garstang volunteer students

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