ARCA2606 – Introduction

August 3, 2011 § 1 Comment

[ This is a student journal for the subject ARCA2606 “Maps, Time, and Visualisation”, taught in Archaeology at USYD by Ian Johnson and Andrew Wilson. ]

To start things off:

The Benefits of Visualisation.

Within archaeology (and history), visualization can, and has, made significant contributions to research and education.Visualizations help those especially unfamiliar with the area, to contextualize information, viewing it as a whole, rather than in it’s component parts. It utilizes young minds’ natural curiosity in discovering relationships in complex patterns, natural pattern recognition, which humans are inherently skilled at. Physical simulations, such as the “Lark Quarry Dinosaur Stampede” at the Australian Museum, demonstrate hypothesis grounded on fact to museum visitors (nearly half of which are comprised of school children). Integration with new technologies such as augmented reality also provides novel methods for children to experience these areas. In addition to streamlining the cognitive analysis of two and three-dimensional space, visualizations (many interactive) can facilitate a fourth dimension, time, whose relationship amongst the dimensions are often hard to grasp (Santiago, 2007).

Research has also benefited from maps and other forms of visualization. This is not only in reference to historic maps that can reveal social and cultural information, as witnessed in BBC’s “The Beauty of Maps (2010)”, but also to emerging uses of visualization through the combination of databases, gis, etc. These visualizations can aid in more thoroughly analyzing the samples of an area before commencing expensive and destructive excavations (Sanders, 2008). With computers, the mass amounts of stored information on artifacts and areas can be accessed to build visualizations with multiple variables; whoms relationships can be established with quick visual analyses (Santiago, 2008). Most importantly, visualizations such as simulations help test hypothesis and refute claims, as evidenced in UCLA’s Virtual Qumran project (Schniedewind, 2005).



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