Sorry for the delay over the last couple of weeks. Craig and I were busy with the wonderful 1.0 version of Ryerson University’s B3D Design Conference two Friday’s ago and we’ve both been catching up since the Heritage Toronto event. B3D proved to be an enlightening set of broad based discussions ranging from Virtual Reality to 3D Printing, however I was really impressed with both the awareness and promotion of virtual archaeology and heritage management. Very refreshing to see that non-archaeologists/heritage professionals were also valuing the effort and research being engaged around digital visualization and preservation.
Our session with Athomas Goldberg, Dr. Andrew Nelson and Craig Barr opened up the conference. Craig and I were lucky to be able to present one after the other, so that gave me time to talk about the main theoretical themes of the London Charter; Agency, Authority, Authenticity and Transparency as it applied to our project and the larger considerations for visualization of heritage objects. This helped to frame further discussions during the day when we got into 3D printing and visual representation. Athomas, who has been very active on the gaming engine scene for over 18 years presented some of the real-time interactive work he did for the “Shattered Adam“/Lombardo’s “Adam”exhibition at the MET. Andrew talked about his extensive research into the use of 3D scanning of Mummy’s and other recent fine detailed objects. The notion of “agency” loomed big over our discussion with the audience and the “authenticity” of the 3D scans. Overall, the session proved as a great starting point for future research as public appetite for 3D visualization and printing has become voracious as of late.
During the conference I had been thinking of Paul Reilly, the “father of virtual archaeology”, and his latest work entitled Additive Archaeology: An Alternative Framework for Recontextualising Archaeological Entities.Essentially he’s nailed it once again that 3D printing, like 3D visualization in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, will have a profound effect on how heritage is not only researched but preserved. That our ability to understand the archaeological record through the use of additive manufacturing would extend not only research, but public engagement.
I’ve railed against our misguided notion that digital media will solve everything for years. My students seemed bemused that I’ve spent so much of my career dealing with digital media, that I’m still harking back to the necessity to have some sort of physical material record for future generations, to discover and research. The digital world disintegrates so there also needs to be a material copy in order to ensure a record of some sort. Getting back to Paul’s paper, I realized while sitting through the B3D conference that our Longhouse 3.x would also need more than a digital representation. Conference papers and book chapters, if deemed worthy research, is one way to enable some preservation. However, should we also 3D print Longhouse 3.x so that a physical model of the research exists? If we print the model, is it an artefact? If so, should it be housed within Sustainable Archaeology along with the other Southwestern Ontario archaeological material? Is there a London Charter 3.0 in which we need to include 3D printing as a means to make physical, our virtual archaeology?
In an effort to remain transparent during all stages of the project, I have provided below my B3D presentation entitled Virtual Archaeology, Virtual Longhouses and “Envisioning the Unseen” within the Archaeological Record. The audience at the conference was a broad mix of specialists and knowledge experts, so the presentation reflects this. As discussed, Craig and I broke our presentation out into theory and methodology.
Many thanks to Claire van Nierop and Ron Williamson from ASI for providing the images I used in the slide deck below of various archaeological sites and excavation plans. The iconic image of Indian Jones comes from Lucas Film/Paramount Pictures. The images of Palmira comes from recent on-line news articles from various sources. Finally, Think2Thing (T2T) provided the images of Craig and I speaking at the conference.
Craig’s presentation took a technological bent, which included an animated visual walkthrough of the longhouse environment on slide 12, which you can see in Longhouse 3.5.5.
Craig provided a lively presentation on the uses of technology and how the Ocular Rift tool set allowed him to “site inspect” the 3D longhouse model in Maya before sending it over to me for approval. It was yet another way in which the technology is allowing archaeologists to experience the process from a different perspective and inform how the material culture might be interpreted differently.
I hope by providing the slide decks of our presentation that we can transparently demonstrate how the research is being discussed. By now means is this work finished, but it provides a unique opportunity to see the progression in not only our own thinking, but how the material is also leading into new areas of thought.