Using VR Phenomenological Landscape Analysis to explore Diachronic Ritual Space at Cerros, Belize

Author(s): Jeffrey Vadala

Year: 2015


The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset used alongside 3D site reconstructions provides a huge potential for a phenomenologically based landscape analysis. This presentation explores the methods and results of a study using these technologies that focuses on understanding the diachronic changes in the construction of ritual space at the Maya site of Cerros, Belize. Site maps were modeled in 3D according to each historic phase and converted for use in a highly immersive and interactive video game engine compatible with the Oculus Rift. When combined with virtual reality, Cerro’s 3D recreated monumental site core creates a sense of spatial immersion that virtual reality specialists call "presence," a sense of being in another place. Phenomenological considerations of embodied movement in space could thus be analyzed in tandem with the active generation of visual fields. With this capability, the built and unbuilt landscapes were diachronically analyzed, focusing on how changing spatial orientations affected embodied movement, emerging visual fields, and the experiential capacities of public and private ritual events.

SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center for Digital Antiquity Collaborative Program to improve digital data in archaeology. If you are the author of this presentation you may upload your paper, poster, presentation, or associated data (up to 3 files/30MB) for free. Please visit for instructions and more information.

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Using VR Phenomenological Landscape Analysis to explore Diachronic Ritual Space at Cerros, Belize. Jeffrey Vadala. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397897)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;