Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
In This Section

Open Archaeology

1 Issue per year

Open Access
Online
ISSN
2300-6560
See all formats and pricing
In This Section

Beyond Digital Dwelling: Re-thinking Interpretive Visualisation in Archaeology

Alice Watterson
  • Monumental Collective (info@alicewatterson.co.uk), Website: www.alicewatterson.co.uk, Research Blog: www.digitaldirtvirtualpasts.wordpress.com
Published Online: 2015-04-15 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opar-2015-0006

Abstract

Archaeology is a visually rich discipline with a long history of utilising images across a variety of contexts within its practice. However, due to the often unavoidably subjective nature of visual interpretation, fundamental issues with its application remain problematic and largely unresolved. Furthermore, in recent years the rising dominance of digital techniques for archaeological threedimensional surveys and interpretive visualisation has resulted in a rapid uptake of emerging technologies without adequate assessment of their impact on the interpretive process and practitioner engagement. Using an example from experimental work in Orkney as a springboard for discussion this paper outlines the need for the field to develop a more practical approach to addressing some of these recurring issues by developing methodologies which more accurately reflect the multi-layered, interpretive and ambiguous processes involved in archaeological interpretation.

Keywords: Archaeological visualisation; creative practice; data capture; digital documentation; archaeological interpretation; laser survey; laser scanning; photogrammetry; reconstruction; storytelling

References

  • [1] Molyneaux, B. L., The Cultural Life of Images: Visual Representation in Archaeology, London: Routledge, 1997

  • [2] Smiles, S. and Moser, S., Envisioning the Past: Archaeology and the Image, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2005

  • [3] Cochrane, A. and Russell, I., Visualising Archaeologies: A Manifesto, Cambridge Archaeological Journal 2007, 17 (1), 3-19

  • [4] Van Dyke, R.M., Seeing the Past: Visual Media in Archaeology, American Anthropologist 2006, 108, 370-375

  • [5] Bateman, J., Wearing Juninho’s Shirt: Record and Negotiation in Excavation Photographs, in: Smiles, S. and Moser, S. (eds.) Envisioning the Past: Archaeology and the Image, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2005

  • [6] Bohrer, F. N., Photography and Archaeology: the Image as Object, in: Smiles, S. and Moser, S. (eds.) Envisioning the Past: Archaeology and the Image, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2005

  • [7] Renfrew, C. DeMarrais, E. and Godsen, C. (eds.), Substance, Memory, Display: Archaeology and Art, Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, 2004

  • [8] Russell, I. A. and Cochrane, A., Art and Archaeology: Collaborations, Conversations, Criticisms, New York: Springer, 2014

  • [9] Swogger, J., Image and Interpretation: The Tyranny of Representation? in: Hodder, I. (Ed.) Towards Reflexive Method in Archaeology: The Example at Çatalhöyük, Cambridge: MacDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, 2000

  • [10] Reilly, P., Towards a Virtual Archaeology, in: Lockyear, K. and Rahtz, S. (eds.) CAA90: Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology, BAR International Series, 1991, 565, Oxford, 133-139

  • [11] Pujol-Tost, L., Does virtual archaeology exist? In: Posluschny, A., Lambers, K. and Herzog, I. (eds.) Layers of Perception: Proceedings of the 35th International Conference on Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology, 2008, 35, 101-107

  • [12] Huggett, J., Archaeology and the new technological fetishism, Archeologia e Calcolatori, 2004, 15, 81-92.

  • [13] Zubrow, E. B W., Digital Archaeology: A Historical Context, in: Evans, T. L. and Daly, P. (eds.) Digital Archaeology: Bridging Method and Theory, New York: Routledge, 2006, 10-31

  • [14] Watterson, A., The Value and Application of Creative Media to the Process of Reconstruction and Interpretation, in: Chrysanthi, A., Murrieta Flores, P. and Papadopoulos, C. (eds.) Thinking Beyond the Tool: Archaeological Computing and the Interpretive Process, BAR International Series 2012, 2344, 14-23

  • [15] Rust, C., Unstated Contributions: How Artistic Enquiry Can Inform Interdisciplinary Research, International Journal of Design, 2007, Vol 1:3, 69-76

  • [16] Riedel, A. and Bauer, T., Three-Dimensional Computer Models as a Working Tool for Documentation and Investigation in Building Archaeology – Pretty and Useful? In: Posluschny, A., Lambers, K. and Herzog, I. (eds.) Layers of Perception: Proceedings of the 35th International Conference on Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology, 2008, 35, 141 (On Disc)

  • [17] Jones, A. M., Freedman, D., O’Connor, B., Lamdin-Whymark, H., Tipping, R. and Watson, A., An Animate Landscape: Rock Art and the Prehistory of Kilmartin, Argyll, Scotland, Oxford: Windgather Press, 2011

  • [18] Renfrew, C., Figuring it Out: The Parallel Visions of Artists and Archaeologists, London: Thames and Hudson, 2003

  • [19] Watson, A., Monuments that Made the World: Performing the Henge, in: Cleal, R. and Pollard, J. (eds.) Monuments and material culture: papers in honour of an Avebury archaeologist: Isobel Smith, East Knoyle: Hobnob Press, 2005

  • [20] Edmonds, M. and Ferraby, R., Stonework, Orkney: Group VI Press, 2013

  • [21] Cajori, M., Joan Mitchell, Portrait of an Abstract Painter, 1992, Film 58 mins

  • [22] Waterton, E. and Watson, S., Culture, Heritage and Representation: Perspectives on Visuality and the Past, Farnham: Ashgate, 2010

  • [23] Gillings, M., The Real, the Virtually Real, and the Hyperreal: The Role of VR in Archaeology, in: Smiles, S. and Moser, S. (eds.) Envisioning the Past: Archaeology and the Image, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2005

  • [24] Marion, J. S. and Crowder, J., Visual Research: A Concise Introduction to Thinking Visually, Bloomsbury Academic, 2013

  • [25] Earl, G. P., Video killed engaging VR? Computer Visualizations on the TV Screen, in: Smiles, S. and Moser, S. (eds.) Envisioning the Past: Archaeology and the Image, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2005

  • [26] Turkle, S., Simulation and its Discontents, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2009

  • [27] Berger, J., Ways of Seeing, London: BBC and Penguin, 1972

  • [28] Richards, C. (ed.), Dwelling among the Monuments, Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, 2005

  • [29] Elphinstone, M. and Wickham-Jones, C., Archaeology and Fiction, Antiquity, 2012, 86, 532-537

  • [30] Joyce, R. A., The Languages of Archaeology, Cornwall: Blackwell Publishing, 2002

  • [31] Wheatley, D., Spatial Technology and Archaeological Theory Revisited, in: Lockyear, K., Sly, T. and Mihailescu-Birlitsa, V. (eds.) Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology, Oxford: BAR International Series, 2000, 96, 123-131

  • [32] Pink, S., Doing Visual Research: Images, Media and Representation in Research, London: SAGE Publications, 2007

  • [33] Barceló, J. A., Forte, M., and Sanders D. H, (eds.), Virtual Reality in Archaeology, BAR International Series, 2000, 843

  • [34] Greengrass, M. and Hughes, L. (eds.), The Virtual Representation of the Past, Farnham: Ashgate, 2008

  • [35] Chrysanthi, A., Murrieta Flores, P., and Papadopoulos, C. (eds.), Thinking Beyond the Tool: Archaeological Computing and the Interpretive Process, BAR International Series, 2012, 2344

  • [36] Ryan, N., Documenting and Validating Virtual Archaeology, Archeologia e Calcolatori, 2001, 12, 245-273

  • [37] Pletinckx, D., Interpretation Management: How to Make Sustainable Visualisations of the Past, Epoch, 2007

  • [38] Pletinckx, D., Virtual Archaeology as an Integrated Preservation Method, Virtual Archaeology Review, 2009, Vol 2, 4, 33-37

  • [39] Denard, H., London Charter, 2009 (http://www.londoncharter.org/http://www.londoncharter.org/fileadmin/templates/ main/docs/london_charter_2_1_en.pdf)

  • [40] Niccolucci, F., Virtual Reality in Archaeology: A Useful Tool or a Dreadful Toy? Proceedings of the Mediterra Symposium, Athens, 1999, 238-239

  • [41] Goodrick, G. and Gillings, M., Constructs, Simulations and Hyperreal Worlds: The Role of Virtual Reality (VR) in Archaeological Research, in: Lock, G. and Brown, K. (eds.) On the Theory and Practice of Archaeological Computing, 2000, 41-58

  • [42] Hermon, S. and Niccolucci, F., A Fuzzy Logic Approach to Reliability in Archaeological Virtual Reconstruction, in: Niccolucci, F. and Hermon, S. (eds.) Beyond the Artefact: Digital Interpretation of the Past, 2006, 11-17

  • [43] Denard, H., A New introduction to the London Charter, in: Bentkowska-Kafel, A., Denard, H. and Baker, D. (eds.) Paradata and Transparency in Virtual Heritage, Farnham: Ashgate, 2012

  • [44] Baker, D., Defining Paradata in Heritage Visualization, in: Bentkowska-Kafel, A., Denard, H. and Baker, D. (eds.) Paradata and Transparency in Virtual Heritage, Farnham: Ashgate, 2012

  • [45] Smith, P.H., The Body of the Artisan: Art and Experience in the Scientific Revolution, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004

  • [46] Law, J., After Method: Mess in Social Science Research, Oxon: Routledge, 2004

  • [47] Woolgar, S., Science: The Very Idea. London: Routledge, 1988

  • [48] Bradley, R., To See is to Have Seen: Craft Traditions in Archaeology, in: Molyneaux, B. L. (ed.) The Cultural Life of Images: Visual Representations in Archaeology, London: Routledge, 1997

  • [49] Frankland, T., A CG Artist’s Impression: Depicting Virtual Reconstructions Using Non-Realistic Rendering Techniques, in: Chrysanthi, A., Murrieta Flores, P. and Papadopoulos, C. (eds.) Thinking Beyond the Tool: Archaeological Computing and the Interpretive Process, BAR International Series, 2012, 2344, 24-39

  • [50] Watterson, A., Engaging with the Visual: Re-Thinking Interpretive Archaeological Visualisation, PhD thesis, Digital Design Studio, The Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, UK, 2014 (available online at http://radar.gsa.ac.uk/3449/)

  • [51] Watterson, A., Baxter, K. and Watson, A., Digital Dwelling at Skara Brae, in: Russell, I. A. and Cochrane, A. (eds.) Art and Archaeology: Collaborations, Conversations, Criticisms, New York: Springer, 2014

  • [52] Watson, A., Making Space for Monuments: Notes on the Representation of Experience, in: Renfrew, C., Gosden, C. and DeMarrais, E. (eds.) Substance, Memory, Display: Archaeology and Art, 2004

  • [53] Morgan, C. L., Emancipatory Digital Archaeology, PhD thesis, University of California, Berkeley, USA, 2012

  • [54] Tilley, C., A Phenomenology of Landscape, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994

  • [55] Ingold, T., The Perception of the Environment, Oxon: Routledge, 2000

  • [56] Hodder, I., Archaeological Theory Today, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2012

  • [57] Jordanova, L., The Look of the Past: Visual and Material Evidence in Historical Practice, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012

  • [58] Berger, J. and Mohr, J., Another Way of Telling, London and New York: Writers and Readers Publishing Cooperative, 1982

  • [59] Shanks, M., The Archaeological Imagination, Left Coast Press, 2012

  • [60] Garrett, B. L., Explore Everything: Place-Hacking the City, Verso: London, 2014

About the article

Received: 2014-12-09

Accepted: 2015-03-16

Published Online: 2015-04-15



Citation Information: Open Archaeology, ISSN (Online) 2300-6560, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opar-2015-0006. Export Citation

© 2015 Alice Watterson. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in