Digitalisation Working Group Launched

Digitalisation WG

Thank you to all of those who joined last week's launch event for the Digitalisation Working Group. Of course we met online! EXARC itself started working with going digital about five years ago, when we started the RETOLD project, and it will be the theme of our annual conference this year in September (see link below). Of course, that conference will be hybrid… 

At our launch, we spoke about experimental archaeology as well as open-air museums. A colleague from Cyprus wants to have 3D models of Bronze Age houses to better explain how these looked like, and what it takes to build life-size reconstructions in real time. Another person works in Norway in an open-air museum. Here, the season for visiting is very short, and although they already have a very impressive, reconstructed longhouse, a 3D model you can walk through virtually, would make a huge contribution to the way they tell their stories. Also, virtual versions of objects can travel, like back to the site of origin, and reconnect with the site and the people who currently live there. Her colleague will present at the EXARC conference in September about Digitally Restoring Museum Objects to Their Original Context. Or take our PhD student in the Czech Republic who works with Neolithic mounds. Starting off form photogrammetry, he intends to bring 3D techniques into science and experimental archaeology because where in reality one usually constructs only one option of how it could have looked like, in the virtual world one can visualise, or maybe even test several options.
And then you have our colleague from Israel, working as user experiences designer for cultural heritage, but equally involved in the Israel Experimental Archaeology Forum. Their idea is creating an online database of archaeological experiments so
we do not reinvent the wheel and can learn form each other. Another participant in the chat played around with digitalization of things for his job, like motion graphics. With the democratization of the programs for 3D scanning, he sees so much more could be done. So, he popped in to be inspired.

One good part of this going digital, is that one needs to cooperate with people outside your usual expertise. Equally, preparing to make a 3D model of a house for example, requires a good number of steps, and taking a structured approach. You
are preparing to tell a story. Once you think about going digital, you see that the options are very diverse, and it can soon become quite complicated. For example, how do we make sure that whatever we develop can speak with other solutions? How can we re-use old digital material, even photos from the 1990’s?

Needless to say, we had a good time. Cooperation is very helpful, and for that, the Discord channel, and the EXARC Working Group is “always open”, both to EXARC members and non-members. ´”See” you soon!