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Open Archaeology

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Digital Technologies and Communication: Prospects and Expectations

Francesco Gabellone
  • IBAM - Istituto per i Beni Archeologici e Monumentali (CNR - Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche), Lecce, Italy
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2015-04-14 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opar-2015-0005


The birth of virtual reality marked a new path forward and also gave a fresh view of reality, allowing alternative ‘readings’ of cultural heritage. This new way of representation and simulation was soon associated with the term virtual environment, used to indicate those interactive three-dimensional models that could be navigated and that simulated a place, building, or synthetic representation scheme in real time. A virtual environment is like a “microscope for the mind” that allows you to elaborate amplified projections of the material world, to “look beyond” simple appearances and to make logical connections between elements grouped together. In recent years, virtual environments have been greeted positively by the public and scholars, testified by the quantity of thematic conferences on the subject of Virtual Archaeology. Despite this, there are still many contradictions found in the varying terms and the diverse aims of the developing disciplines that gravitate around the field of virtual reality such as Cultural Virtual Environment, Virtual Restoration, Virtual Archaeology, Enhanced Reality, and Mixed Reality. The spread of new media has upset the traditional systems of communication such as books, television, radio and even the roles of some cultural stakeholder. With this in mind, the role of virtual heritage also consists in transmitting information using the language and cognitive metaphors used in video-games, considering these as cultural paradigms for a form of communication that is freed from the classic rules of elite culture. It is quite frequent to find projects of digital promotion for monuments that are characterised by difficulty of access, or for objects that have been taken from their original context. One solution to enhance the accessibility of those sites is certainly the use of some visual computing technologies which without presuming to be the ultimate answer to the problems posed, try to offer communications tools that permit an effective support to the visit.

Keywords: virtual environments; digital restoration; scientific transparency; digital media; archaeological heritage


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About the article

Received: 2014-11-27

Accepted: 2014-12-30

Published Online: 2015-04-14

Citation Information: Open Archaeology, Volume 1, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 2300-6560, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opar-2015-0005.

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© 2015 Francesco Gabellone. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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