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    Reconfiguring Experimental Archaeology using 3D Reconstruction

    Electronic Visualisation and the Arts (EVA 2012)

    London, UK, 10 - 12 July 2012


    Stuart Dunn & Kirk Woolford


    Experimental archaeology has long yielded valuable insights into the tools and techniques that featured in past peoples’ relationship with the material world around them. We can determine, for example, how many trees would need to be felled to construct a large round-house of the southern British Iron Age (over one hundred), infer the exact angle needed to strike a flint core in order to knap an arrowhead in the manner of a Neolithic hunter-gatherer, or recreate the precise environmental conditions needed to store grain in underground silos over the winter months, with only the technologies and materials available to Romano-Briton villagers (see Coles 1973; Reynolds 1993). However, experimental archaeology has, hitherto, confined itself to rather rigid, empirical and quantitative questions such as those posed in these examples. This is quite understandable, and in line with good scientific practice, which stipulates that any ‘experiment’ must be based on replicable data, and be reproducible. Despite their potential in this area however, it is notable that digital reconstruction technologies have yet to play a significant role in experimental archaeology. Whilst many excellent examples of digital 3D reconstruction of heritage sites exist (for example the Digital Roman Forum project) most, if not all, of these are characterized by a drive to establish a photorealistic re-creation of physical features. This paper will discuss possibilities that lie beyond straightforward positivist recreation of heritage sites, in the experimental reconstruction of intangible heritage.


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