Ingold & Wayfaring from a Digital Perspective

This post is a reprint of a 2011 Theoretical Archaeology paper I wrote in my first year of PhD studies.  Recently I was challenged by my supervisory committee to point to a theoretical framework that I would use for my PhD research and in those notes was a comment about Tim Ingold’s book Being Alive which we read extensively. In the four years since that course, I had completely forgotten about Ingold, although his books always seemed to be physically in the way on my desk!  I took the weekend to read it again and found, as I did four years ago, that his take on wayfaring blended nicely with the 3D animation/virtual reality process.

The paper below was my way of figuring out how Ingold and wayfaring fit within my initial research on developing an interactive 3D longhouse builder which eventually became Longhouse 1.0.  I hope you enjoy it for what it is, but I thank my committee for reminding me of Ingold’s influence on my research.To really understand the impact of the 3D CGI digital taskscape within the archaeological landscape, one needs to envision a virtual environment, empty of traditional senses. A black void of infinite 3D space, entirely dependent on user input, direction and purpose. A habitat entirely dependent on the coming into being, capture or importing of a single point, surface or object for any form of wayfaring to begin. This requires a paradigm shift of unparalleled magnitude, as the virtual world is a meshwork of organic, ever evolving tissue, influenced by an infinitesimal amount of inputs, properties or attributes. By breaking down the virtual world, to its most simplistic nuclei, the point, archaeologists can begin to understand the ramifications and rewards of digital archaeological methods, while formulating a new theoretical language to enhance the understanding of what digital means to archaeological study.


In an effort to have this paper peer reviewed and published, I have have taken this post down. For anyone interested in obtaining a PDF copy of this student paper, please contact me directly at


May 22, 2017

I am pleased to announce that a modified version of this paper has now been published in the Virtual Archaeology Review and can be accessed here: I’m grateful to my mentors Neal Ferris, Paul Reilly and Costis Dallas for their generous support and to Dr. José Luis Lerma for his constant editing suggestions as I developed this notion of Ingold’s wayfaring as a means to understanding meaning-making within 3D environments.



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