Additive Archaeology: The Spirit of Virtual Archaeology Reprinted

Gareth Beale, P. Reilly

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Archaeologists in the 1980s were embracing wholeheartedly the rapidly expanding field of computer modelling, hypertext and visualisation as vehicles for data exploration. Against this backdrop ‘virtual archaeology’ was conceived. The term was originally intended to describe a multi-dimensional approach to the modelling of the physical structures and processes of field archaeology. It described some ways in which technology could beharnessed in order to achieve new ways of experiencing, documenting, interpreting and annotating primary archaeological materials and processes. Despite its initial promise, virtual archaeology failed to have the impact upon archaeological fieldwork which might have been expected. While the archaeological record is now
primarily digital, its sections, plans, drawings and photographs are facsimiles of the analogue technologies which preceded them. This retention of analogue conventions is increasingly out of step with the general prevalence of
digital technologies and especially 21st century advances in 'additive manufacturing', popularised through 3D printers, which could bring the world of virtual archaeology into closer alignment with the material one. This paper will set out to demonstrate that in spite of technological developments much of the theoretical infrastructure which underpinned virtual archaeology remains as relevant today as it was when the term was first conceived. Through an analysis of rapidly developing additive manufacturing technology, this paper will
demonstrate the need to move beyond passive technological appropriation and towards the development of authentically archaeological approaches to technology
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArchaeological Research in the Digital Age.
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 1st Conference on Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology Greek Chapter (CAA-GR) Rethymno, Crete, 6-8 March 2014
EditorsCostas Papadopulos, Eleophtheria Paliou, Angeliki Chrysanthi, Eleni Kotoula, A Sarris
Place of PublicationRethymno
PublisherRethymno: Institute for Mediterranean Studies – Foundation of Research and Technology (IMS-Forth)
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)978-618-81780-0-7
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014
EventComputer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology Greek Chapter Meeting - Rethymno, Greece
Duration: 6 Mar 20148 Apr 2015


ConferenceComputer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology Greek Chapter Meeting

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