This research is focused on evaluating the impact that 3D modelling has upon archaeological research, academic and public dissemination. The main aim is to understand how people perceive 3D interactive visualisations of archaeological sites, engage with and learn through them.
This study is based upon data from Erimi-Laonin tou Porakou (2000-1450 Before Christ), a Middle Bronze Age site located in the southern coast of Cyprus.
Erimi-Laonin tou Porakou:
The site was organized into three areas, on sloping terraces. The top of the mound was occupied by a workshop complex (Area A) while the first lower terrace was occupied by a residential area (Area B). A cemetery area (Area E) surrounds the south facing settlement.
The chronology of the site suggests two main periods of occupation. The earlier Period 2 is the best documented and dates to the Middle Bronze Age. Two phases are attested within Period 2: Phase B 2000-1700 Before Christ and Phase A 1700-1450 Before Christ. The following Period 2, is related to a sporadic use of the area during the Hellenistic and Roman periods.
My project is focused on the workshop complex (Area A), a production complex which currently extends over an area of 30x30m. This complex is organised into 12 units : 5 open working spaces, named Working Areas (WA) and 7 big roofed units, named Storage Areas (SA). Artefact assemblages, together with installations and paleobotanical data suggested that it could be identified as a workshop to produce textiles, in which activities including spinning, weaving and dyeing were carried out.
First, I created an interactive 3D model that shows the workshop complex in its actual state today and in its hypothetical reconstruction. Using Autodesk 3ds Max (Autodesk Inc., 2012), I have modelled and textured elements that have been destroyed over time and are no longer visible (walls, roofs, doors etc.).
This hypothetical reconstruction is based on archaeological data collected during six years of excavations and the results of micromorphological analyses (micromorphology is a method of studying soil samples with microscopic techniques).
Then, I made the 3D model interactive using Unity (Unity Technologies 2016), adding hotspots for information and avatars for a first-person navigation.
To understand how people engage with digital visualisations of archaeological sites, I am presenting my interactive 3D model to different users (experts and non-experts) and collecting their feedback using questionnaires and interviews. I will then analyse such feedback and use it to improve 3D models and make them more engaging and understandable.