Photorealism and Digital Reconstruction

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


Photorealism and reconstruction are two misunderstood and long‐debated terms in digital archaeology. Both words have been used as a basis to discuss accuracy, transparency, and authenticity in the implementation of three‐dimensional (3D) modeling and computer‐based visualizations as a process of producing and sharing knowledge about the past. Discussions have focused on the fact that any attempts to revive the past by using reconstructions—which by definition only comprise interpretations of past reality in the present—are futile, since the past cannot be ever fully known. Criticisms also emphasize that their high levels of visual stimulus can deceive end‐users into thinking that these are precise accounts of past reality based on the evidence unearthed in archaeological fieldwork and accurately interpreted by archaeologists, the authoritative agents of the past. However, their potential to become analytical tools and thinking mechanisms to aid archaeological interpretations has been relatively underexplored.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Encyclopedia of Archaeological Sciences
EditorsSandra López Varela
ISBN (Electronic)9781119188230
ISBN (Print)978-0-470-67461-1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2018


  • digital archaeology
  • digital reconstructions
  • photorealism
  • physical realism
  • 3d visualisation
  • ambiguity
  • knowledge production
  • computer graphic simulations
  • archaeology

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