Archaeology Magazine Archive

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Multimedia: Citizens of the Past Volume 51 Number 1, January/February 1998
by Donald H. Sanders

The web can be hard to browse, and frustrating when trying to find a particular piece of information, but it also can be fun, entertaining, personable, challenging, and educational. Such are the attributes of AncientSites (, designed and developed by CyberSites, Inc., a company established in 1994 by Columbia University architecture professors to create graphical on-line communities, interactive games, and "edutainment" packages. By its own proclamation, AncientSites is "where history comes alive." The user is encouraged to become a citizen of an ancient city, choosing a name, building a biography and family history, and chatting with fellow citizens about politics, architecture, or history. I viewed the site using a Pentium 166-based PC with 64MB RAM running Windows95 and Netscape 3.01 Gold; my Internet connection varied between 28.8 and 31.2 kps. AncientSites is optimized for Netscape Navigator 3.0; it has won "cool site" awards from USA Today, Magellan, Excite, and others.

Donald H. Sanders is president of Learning Sites, Inc., which offers digitally reconstructed ancient worlds for interactive education and research.

© 1998 by the Archaeological Institute of America