Reconstructing the Past: Providing an Enhanced Perceptual Experience

Reconstructing the Past: Providing an Enhanced Perceptual Experience

Luís G. Magalhães (Centro Algoritmi, University of Minho, Portugal), Telmo Adão (University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal & INESC TEC, Portugal) and Emanuel Peres (University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal & INESC TEC, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2927-9.ch007

Abstract

Accurate modeling/reconstruction and visualization of real environments, particularly archaeological sites, is both a major challenge and a crucial task. This work will address the entire process of the virtual reconstruction of archaeological sites, since the construction of the virtual model until its visualization. The chapter begins with an introduction to the process of virtual reconstruction of archaeological sites, where the several stages that should take place to obtain a faithful virtual representation of an archaeological site and its artifacts are identified. Moreover, each stage is characterized and its main methods and techniques are identified, in dedicated sections. The authors' contribution for the state of the art will be highlighted in each stage. The chapter ends with the authors' vision about future trends for this field and unveils what could be their contributions to this vision.
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Virtual Reconstruction Process

The use of computers in Archaeology dates back to the late 1950s and early 1960s, essentially for the statistical treatment of information collected during excavations (Reilly & Rahtz, 1992). At that time, the use of computers was confined to a very limited set of archaeologists. In the early 1970s, a group of enthusiasts and experts in the use of computers in Archaeology joined in and started a cycle of international conferences designated as “Computer Applications in Archaeology”, which still takes place with the title “Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology”. In the following years, the use of computers in Archaeology has evolved to the use of computer aided design (CAD) systems, database management systems (DBMS) and geographic information systems (GIS). The first, besides allowing to digitally store the topographic survey carried out during the field work also enabled, based on the acquired data, some earlier works on the 3D reconstruction of both the terrain and the archaeological site’s existing structures. While both DBMS and GIS allowed storing data acquired during the excavation, GIS enabled storing, manipulating and visualizing data with a spatial nature. The term “Virtual Archaeology” as a reference to the use of Virtual Reality in Archaeology was first mentioned by Reilly (1990), but the creation of virtual reconstructions in the field of archaeology began in the 1980s.

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