This lab provides a ‘hands-on’ opportunity to explore hominin evolution using assets created for the upcoming Virtual Museum of Human Evolution. I’ve been using a version of this lab since the fall semester of 2017 at the University of Central Florida. The lab is divided into two parts. The first portion requires students to explore 3D models of hominin fossils created and uploaded to Sketchfab. The second portion requires them to use their notes from these comparisons and complete a quiz (which can be offered in-class or online). The lab is designed specifically for introductory courses with high enrollments. My sections typically have between 150-300 students.
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.