Virtual Archaeology, Virtual Longhouses and "envisioning the unseen" within the Archaeological Record

Author(s): Michael Carter

Year: 2016


In the 1960’s, Ivan Sutherland envisioned a time in the near future in which people would be able to physically enter into an alternative, "digital" world. The ability to not only see the environment around them, but also to touch, smell, hear and be affected by the environment itself would provide a unique digital phenomenological experience where viewers become participants and build on their own personal narratives in a non-linear, almost life-like, virtual experience. In reimagining a 15th century Northern Iroquoian Longhouse within a virtual 3D environment we attempt to address issues of agency, authenticity, authority and, most importantly, transparency within virtual heritage reconstructions. Virtual Archaeology and our ability to harness the technology in an applied, innovative and experiential way has allowed scholars, Descendants and the public to "envision the unseen" within the archaeological record. As such, archaeological virtual reconstruction through virtual reality has become a powerful tool in the interpretation of archaeological landscapes and artifacts as a means of knowledge-building and meaning-making. Thus, Virtual Archaeology is moving from being evidenced-based to evidence-informed through a natural progression allowed by the evolution of technology and the growth of capabilities, user experience and expectation.

Cite this Record

Virtual Archaeology, Virtual Longhouses and "envisioning the unseen" within the Archaeological Record. Michael Carter. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404549)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -142.471; min lat: 42.033 ; max long: -47.725; max lat: 74.402 ;