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Virtual archaeology in a material world: new technologies enabling novel perspectives

Virtual archaeology in a material world: new technologies enabling novel perspectives
Virtual archaeology in a material world: new technologies enabling novel perspectives
In the 1980's archaeologists embraced the rapidly expanding field of computer modelling and visualisation as a vehicle for data exploration. Against this backdrop ‘virtual archaeology’ was conceived. The term was originally intended to describe a multi-dimensional approach to the modelling of the physical structures and processes of field archaeology. It described the way in which technology could be harnessed in order to achieve new ways of documenting, interpreting and annotating primary archaeological materials and processes.

Despite their initial promise, these technologies have failed to have the impact upon archaeological fieldwork which might have been expected. Even with the prevalence of digital devices on all archaeological excavations the documentation, interpretation and subsequent narration of archaeological processes have retained their analogue character. While the archaeological record is now primarily digital, its sections, plans, drawings and photographs are facsimiles of the analogue technologies which preceded them. This retention of analogue conventions is increasingly out of step with the general prevalence of digital technologies and especially 21st century advances towards 'programmable matter' which could bring the world of virtual archaeology into closer alignment with the material one.

This paper will argue that developments in the capabilities and ubiquity of digital devices coupled with rapid increases in digital literacy among archaeologists, has the capacity to revolutionise the investigation, documentation, interpretation, and narration of the archaeological process
Beale, Gareth
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Reilly, Paul
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Beale, Gareth
52eb370c-cad0-4e4c-99c4-9efa1b2c1197
Reilly, Paul
b0803f86-2c58-411b-91c4-7c25415e2a67

Beale, Gareth and Reilly, Paul (2014) Virtual archaeology in a material world: new technologies enabling novel perspectives. CAA 2014 Paris: 21st Century Archaeology, France. 22 pp .

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Abstract

In the 1980's archaeologists embraced the rapidly expanding field of computer modelling and visualisation as a vehicle for data exploration. Against this backdrop ‘virtual archaeology’ was conceived. The term was originally intended to describe a multi-dimensional approach to the modelling of the physical structures and processes of field archaeology. It described the way in which technology could be harnessed in order to achieve new ways of documenting, interpreting and annotating primary archaeological materials and processes.

Despite their initial promise, these technologies have failed to have the impact upon archaeological fieldwork which might have been expected. Even with the prevalence of digital devices on all archaeological excavations the documentation, interpretation and subsequent narration of archaeological processes have retained their analogue character. While the archaeological record is now primarily digital, its sections, plans, drawings and photographs are facsimiles of the analogue technologies which preceded them. This retention of analogue conventions is increasingly out of step with the general prevalence of digital technologies and especially 21st century advances towards 'programmable matter' which could bring the world of virtual archaeology into closer alignment with the material one.

This paper will argue that developments in the capabilities and ubiquity of digital devices coupled with rapid increases in digital literacy among archaeologists, has the capacity to revolutionise the investigation, documentation, interpretation, and narration of the archaeological process

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More information

Published date: 25 April 2014
Venue - Dates: CAA 2014 Paris: 21st Century Archaeology, France, 2014-04-25
Organisations: Archaeology

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 364454
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/364454
PURE UUID: aad4e6d8-8503-4c1b-acc8-8010901ecbbb

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Date deposited: 30 Apr 2014 13:13
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 02:31

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Contributors

Author: Gareth Beale
Author: Paul Reilly

University divisions

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