The value of digital recordings and reconstructions for the understanding of three-dimensional archaeological features

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


The application of computer methodologies in archaeology and cultural heritage is not a recent trend, as it is often argued. It was in 1973 at Birmingham, UK, where a group of computer scientists and archaeologists gathered to present their work on the implementation of computer methodologies in archaeology. Buckland (1973) for example, presented a site information retrieval scheme using the BASIC language in order to enhance on-site recording of finds. Since then, on-site recording has developed to involve advanced desktop- and web-based databases, three-dimensional Geographic Information Systems (GIS) databases (Katsianis 2012) and modern equipment, such as satellite-based navigation systems (GPS) and tablets. Certainly, the rapid technological advancement, especially in the last two decades has led to the development of new fields, innovative methodologies and novel approaches at both a theoretical and practical level. This paper will focus on the use of three-dimensional recording methods and digital reconstructions as tools for understanding and interpreting archaeological evidence and enhancing knowledge production in the archaeological process. First, it will highlight the paradox that dominates archaeological practice and limits the boundaries of understanding and interpretation only in two dimensions. Then, it will make a brief introduction to three-dimensional recording in archaeology, emphasising the use of laser scanning, photogrammetry and reflectance transformation imaging (rti). By using as a case study Koutroulou Magoula, a Greek Neolithic site in central Greece, this paper will discuss how digital recording methods and digital reconstructions can help archaeologists and the people involved in knowledge production during the archaeological process to augment understandings and interpretations. It will conclude by arguing that three-dimensional visualisations in a reflexive and multivocal context should be considered an inseparable element of archaeological fieldwork and a tool in the hands of archaeologists.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAegis: Essays in Mediterranean Archaeology
EditorsZetta Theodoropoulou Polychroniadis, Doniert Evely
Place of PublicationOxford, UK
ISBN (Print)178491200X, 9781784912000
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • 3D
  • visualisation
  • 3d visualisation
  • reconstruction
  • 3d reconstruction
  • computer graphics
  • photogrammetry
  • structure from motion

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