A Role for Immersive Visualization Experiences in Teaching Archaeology

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Kevin James Garstki
Chris Larkee
John LaDisa


As archaeologists continue to utilize digital 3D visualization technologies, instruction can also benefit from purpose-driven uses of these data. This paper outlines a pilot project that used previously captured 3D data in a large-scale immersive environment to supplement the instruction of basic archaeological concepts to an undergraduate introductory anthropology class. The flexibility of the platform allowed excavation trenches to be investigated in three-dimensions, enhancing the understanding of excavation methods and providing additional insight in the choices of the excavators. Additionally, virtual investigation of the artifacts provided a way for students to interact with objects on the other side of the world in a more complete way. Instructor-led immersive virtual experiences have significant potential to widen the interest in archaeology and enhance the instruction of archaeological concepts. They allow students to interact with the content, guided by an expert, and in the presence of each other. While the facilities are not available at every university at the current time, the cost effectiveness and ability to deliver these experiences via head-mounted displays represents an exciting potential extension for complementary self-paced, yet guided, exploration.  


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Garstki, K. J., Larkee, C., & LaDisa, J. (2019). A Role for Immersive Visualization Experiences in Teaching Archaeology. Studies in Digital Heritage, 3(1), 46–59. https://doi.org/10.14434/sdh.v3i1.25145
Special Issue "Digital Heritage Technologies: Applications and Impacts"


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