The WAVE and 3D: How the Waters Might Have Parted—Visualizing Evidence for a Major Volcanic Eruption in the Mediterranean and Its Impact on Exodus Models

  • Jürgen P. Schulze
  • Jessica Block
  • Philip Weber
  • Thomas E. Levy
  • Gregory L. Dawe
  • Brad C. Sparks
  • Thomas A. DeFanti
Part of the Quantitative Methods in the Humanities and Social Sciences book series (QMHSS)


To fully engage in Late Bronze Age “world building” and the Exodus narrative for the EX3 exhibition (see Chap. 11), transdisciplinary research in archaeology, geology, and computer graphics were integrated in a new 3D immersive Wide Angle Virtual Environment (WAVE). The goal was to marshal geological evidence for a hypothesis that might explain the “Parting of the Sea” narrative in the Book of Exodus. The research explores the possibility of a connection to the Santorini island (Thera) volcanic eruption of the Late Bronze Age inducing a tsunami that would first draw the water away from the shore before surging back into a large wave. We collected data from various sources and geo-located it on a 3D map of the Mediterranean region. Combined with an automated presentation sequence and narration, the resulting virtual reality application presents the data in a novel way, which allows for a more intuitive approach for its interpretation. This chapter introduces the new WAVE and describes how we created a real-time virtual reality demonstration to present archaeological and geological data that may inform elements of the Exodus story. We explain how the data was acquired, how it was fused onto a 3D terrain map, and how an automated demonstration was created with narration for the Exodus exhibition. The chapter examines the scientific features of the visualized data, as well as the implementation of the visualization software.


Nile Delta Geospatial Data Plume Height Audio Clip Sinai Peninsula 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank the following researchers for contributions to this project: Stephen Moshier for his digital geospatial database (see Moshier and Hoffmeier,  Chap. 8), Steven Ward for his collaboration and contributions of tsunami simulations, Daniel Jean Stanley for his Nile Delta data and intellectual contributions, Falko Kuester for WAVE leadership, Tiffany Fox for press release text concerning the WAVE, and last but not least, Brad C. Sparks for his Thera calculations and Exodus route maps and mapping data.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jürgen P. Schulze
    • 1
  • Jessica Block
    • 2
  • Philip Weber
    • 3
  • Thomas E. Levy
    • 4
  • Gregory L. Dawe
    • 3
  • Brad C. Sparks
    • 5
  • Thomas A. DeFanti
    • 2
  1. 1.Qualcomm InstituteUC San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  2. 2.Qualcomm InstituteUniversity of California, San Diego (UCSD)La JollaUSA
  3. 3.Qualcomm InstituteUC San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  4. 4.Department of Anthropology, and Levantine & Cyber-Archaeology Laboratory; Qualcomm Institute/California Institute of Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2)University of California, San Diego (UCSD)La Jolla, San DiegoUSA
  5. 5.Archaeological Research Group, Los Angeles-San DiegoSan DiegoUSA

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