Putting Space Syntax to the Test Digital Embodiment and Phenomenology in the Roman House

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David Fredrick
Rhodora G Vennarucci


While space syntax analysis has been widely applied to archaeological sites (including Pompeii), it is fundamentally limited by its isolation within the social sciences and its omission of decoration from the analysis of human cognition and movement within structures. At the same time, phenomenology in archaeology has typically arisen from the physical experiences of a limited number of professional archaeologists in a landscape, with little interest in digital embodiment in virtual spaces. The Virtual Pompeii Project has produced an updated version of space syntax which combines network measures common in the social sciences with visibility graphs to produce predictive models of movement within a set of three ancient Roman houses in Pompeii. These predictive models are tested through the navigation of virtual models of the houses by human subjects, demonstrating the significance of decoration in shaping movement, and, through quantitative and qualitative data, the value of digitally embodied phenomenology. This points ahead to the use of crowd-sourced, web-based global testing, diversifying the subject pool far beyond the narrow bounds of professional classicists or archaeologists.


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How to Cite
Fredrick, D., & Vennarucci, R. G. (2021). Putting Space Syntax to the Test: Digital Embodiment and Phenomenology in the Roman House. Studies in Digital Heritage, 4(2), 185–224. https://doi.org/10.14434/sdh.v4i2.31521
Special Issue "3D Methodologies in Mediterranean Archaeology"
Author Biographies

David Fredrick, University of Arkansas

Associate Professor of Classics, World Langauges, Literatures, and Cultures and Director of the Tesseract Center for Immersive Environments and Game Design

Rhodora G Vennarucci, University of Arkansas

Assistant Professor of Classics, Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures


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