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BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access March 16, 2018

Modelling Physical and Digital Replication: Bridging the Gap Between Experimentation and Experience

  • Andrea Dolfini EMAIL logo and Rob Collins
From the journal Open Archaeology

Abstract

The replication of objects lies at the heart of material culture research in archaeology. In particular, replication plays a key role in a number of core activities in our discipline including teaching, research, and public engagement. Despite its being fundamental to the archaeological process, however, replication comes across as an under-theorised field of artefact research. The problem is compounded by the recent development of digital technologies, which add a new layer of challenges as well as opportunities to the long-established practice of making and using physical copies of objects. The paper discusses a number of issues with artefact replication including aims, design, and methodology, from the standpoint of two research projects currently coordinated by the authors: the Bronze Age Combat project, which explores prehistoric fighting techniques through field experiments and wear analysis (Dolfini); and the NU Digital Heritage project, which centres upon the digital capture and modelling of Roman material culture from Hadrian’s Wall (Collins). Both projects have actively created replicas in physical or digital media, and direct comparison of the two projects provide a number of useful lessons regarding the role, uses, and limits of artefact replication in archaeology. Bronze Age Combat project: http://research.ncl.ac.uk/cias/research/bronzeagecombat/ NU Digital Heritage project: http://research.ncl.ac.uk/cias/research/nudigitalheritage/

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Received: 2017-05-03
Accepted: 2017-08-21
Published Online: 2018-03-16

© 2018

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License.

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