Filling in the Gaps: New Technologies for Archaeological Reconstructions

Posted in: Annual Meeting, ASOR, ASORTV
Tags: annual meeting, Archaeological Reconstructions, Archaeology, Architecture, Barcelona, Mediterranean, Mesopotamia, Myths to Reason, New Technologies, San Diego, Spain, Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña UPC
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Case Studies of the Exhibitions ‘Before the Flood: Mesopotamia, 3500–2100 BC’ and ‘Mediterranean: From Myths to Reason.’


At the 2014 ASOR Annual Meeting, Pedro Azara and his team presented the paper, “Filling in the Gaps: New Technologies for Archaeological Reconstructions: Case Studies of the Exhibitions ‘Before the Flood. Mesopotamia, 3500–2100 BCE’ and ‘Mediterranean. From Myths to Reason’.” Team members: Pedro Azara, Marc Marin, Joan Borrell, and Eric Rusiñol all from the Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña UPC, Barcelona.

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Abstract from the 2014 ASOR Annual Meeting Program Book

As architects collaborating in archaeological missions in the Near East—Tell Massaikh (Syria) and Qasr Shemamok (Iraq)—we face the challenge of generating graphical and visual documents to help understand, reconstruct, and publish the findings. At the same time, digital drawing and rendering techniques, of daily use in our discipline, have proven to be a helpful tool in the dissemination of archaeological knowledge, not only to specialized, but to the general public as well. In the second case it is essential to achieve a graphic language that successfully communicates this information to the nonspecialized observer. New technologies (3D modeling, photogrammetry, Augmented Reality) have expanded the possibilities of virtual reconstructions displayed in exhibitions, permitting us simultaneously to show more layers of information.

The virtual reconstructions displayed in two exhibitions in Spain (“Before the Flood. Mesopotamia, 3500–2100 BCE” and “Mediterranean. From Myths to Reason”) provide a case study on how new and old techniques can be complementary. Hand drawings, physical models, photographs, and videos of the actual state of the site, complemented with computer renderings, animations, and ancient texts recordings, were projected into spaces expressly designed for the video installations. By juxtaposing ancient and modern traces, the documents intended to transfer at the same time what we know (evidence), what we think we know (reconstruction), and what the archaeological site looks like today, encouraging the observer to be transported—in time and space—from the exhibition hall to the archaeological site.


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