The use of digital technologies for visualizing past environments is currently experiencing something of a renaissance among archaeologists. This is largely due to dropping costs of hardware and an increase in the intuitive usability of various 3D modeling software. The ability to deliver interactive content via the internet (Web 2.0) provides new ways of sharing research with a wider audience. These developments also provide exciting potentials for engaging students in the historical archaeology classroom. This post discusses how my teaching of historical archaeology benefits from these emerging technologies. Specifically, the use of a virtual world environment to explore historical architecture as described in James Deetz’s In Small Things Forgotten: An Archaeology of Early American Life.
Update – check out the final (prototype) version of Raritan 3D here.
The use of virtual world environments to represent historic sites is often referred to as heritage visualization. This includes virtual reconstructions of archaeological sites and other past landscapes. These technologies are a central aspect of my research in Rosewood. Building on this experience, I am currently working with the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission and the New Jersey Crossroads of the American Revolution to virtually reconstruct the site of Raritan Landing as it existed during the Revolutionary War.
An Early Version of the Cornelius Low House Continue reading
My interest in data visualization centers on the use of geographic information systems (GIS) and 3D modeling. I am particularly interested in using these technologies and their related methodologies to explore the past. This includes a long-standing interest in issues of inequality and minority disenfranchisement. My interest in collaborative approaches to studying the past motivates my exploration of virtual technologies. My Deviant Art gallery includes past and ongoing projects.