By: Stuart Eve, University College London and L – P : Archaeology
Firstly, I would like to thank Jen Fitzgerald for asking me to contribute a guest post to the ASOR Blog. I am currently undertaking a doctoral thesis at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London – researching the middle ground between phenomenological, in situ landscape investigation and computer-based analysis. My area of study is the British Bronze Age, but I hope that the techniques and methodologies I discuss will be relevant to the ASOR audience as well.
Archaeology has been a fore-runner in the attempt to use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to address the challenges of recreating perception and social behaviour within a computer environment. However, these approaches have traditionally been based on the visual aspect of perception and analysis has usually been confined to the computer laboratory. In contrast, the latest archaeological theories and methods involving phenomenological analysis of landscapes and past environments are normally carried out within the landscape itself and computer analysis away from the landscape in question is often seen as anathema to such approaches. I would argue that the importance of the embodied experience to any discussion of past people cannot be overstated. In this post I want to introduce some of the problems that currently exist when trying to marry these two approaches and suggest that a possible solution may be found via the use of Mixed Reality techniques. (more…)