Ancient Olympia: Common Grounds

An augmented platform to revisit, learn and discover the birthplace of the Olympic games and their shared values.

Digitally preserving Ancient Olympia has created a time capsule of one of history’s most important periods—brought to life in a realistic, engaging way that was never before possible. This new form of digital archiving will continue to offer a portal to another era, helping us understand what humanity has achieved in the past, and reminding us what we’re capable of today.

A global initiative with the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sport of Greece and Microsoft to digitize and preserve the ancient site of the Olympics using AI, AR technologies.

Made at: A_DA
Client: Microsoft + Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sport
Year: 2020-21
Role: Lead Creative Technologist, AR/AI Technical Direction

As the birthplace of the Olympic Games, Olympia is home to institutions and ideals that have shaped the world as we know it.

Visitors from around the world flock to Olympia to get a glimpse of its “ruins,” the material remains of its glorious past. But this archaeological site in Greece — and now it’s digital presence — stand for much more than ancient history. The legacies that emerged from this cultural crossroads—from the ancient Olympic Games to art and architecture to civic ideals—remain as vivid and vital as ever.

Ancient Olympia: Common Grounds harnessed AI and AR to digitally preserve and restore this rich site for future generations by bringing its structures and cultural impact to life like never before, wherever you might be.



An Augmented Reality app was created to bring the ancient monuments to life in their ancient glory.

Visitors to the ancient site at Olympia can use the app to navigate the ruins and see monuments come to life in 1:1 scale. They can experience the monuments in 3D and using AR place them on or next to the ruins to witness what it was like to be at the games in ancient times. Each monument is accompanied by VO and historical imagery to tell the monument’s full story.

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A massive scale model of the ancient Altis was designed and 3D printed to depict the ancient games in the year 173 CE. The 4-meter long table depicted 27 of the major monuments and acted as the backdrop for the HoloLens 2 experience that transported visitors back in time to that year’s games.

Through an interactive and in-depth experience, users visited the workshop of the famed sculptor Phidias, the Pelopion, Temple of Hera, Stadium, Hippodrome, and held in their hand the Temple of Zeus before being transported inside to see the colossal Statue of Zeus to scale, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.


To connect people around the world to the significance and influence of the ancient games, a microsite was created inviting visitors to explore the Altis in 3D and share how the values of Ancient Olympia impacted their lives.

The site leverages the latest web technologies to enable visitors to explore the Altis by zooming in and around the grounds and go inside to experience in 360° and interact with some of the games’ most important monuments including the Philppeion and the Temple of Zeus.


To facilitate a dialogue around the ancient games’ lasting impact, visitors can choose one of the common values of the games – equality, fairness, excellence, peace, respect, and cooperation, and share what that value means to them.

Their audio or written answer is then plotted on a global map to show how others all around the world share the same values.

To make the website accessible and inclusive to people on every continent, Microsoft’s AI stack was used to capture audio and translate the site to over 20 languages.

“Common Grounds is a unique way of experiencing Greece’s proud cultural heritage. Visitors around the world can virtually visit the ancient site of Olympia and experience history firsthand using augmented reality technology.”

Kyriakos Mitsotakis Prime Minister of Greece