Creating interactive 3D visualizations of archaeological data : a case study of the Early Bronze Age Helike Corridor House
Part of book or chapter of book
- Publisher: Taylor & Francis?
Recent review of Geoinformatic Technologies for landscape archaeology  has highlighted methodological issues concerning state-of-the-art digital techniques available to archaeologists. Virtual environments and data visualization help the archaeologist to explore, comprehend and explain data and information acquired from vastly diverse sources . This paper advances research by addressing interactive visualization issues in archaeology [3, 4] through a methodological approach for fully geo-referenced, 3D interactive visualizations using open source tools. The method is focused on the generation of 3D models, and on placing archaeological datasets and artefact representations over large landscapes visualized on Google Earth (GE). A time-line for each object is defined so that relevant period data can be displayed. The Helike Corridor House (HCH) and related archaeological and borehole data are used here as a case study . First, we discuss how items from a geoarchaeological database (e.g. borehole data) organized on a spreadsheet or on a MySQL database are augmented by a tag-based structure with attributes using the XML-Extensible Markup Language for conversion into KML file format for GE display. Second, we examine the methodology for creating geo-referenced 3D models using SketchUp by direct manipulation of the geographic area imported from GE into SketchUp. With regards to this issue, we explore the addition of textures and the exporting of the final 3D model to KML format. Finally, we submit our propositions on how overlays and animations in GE are created in the perspective of acquiring a powerful interactive experience and easy sharing of archaeological data. Overall the paper enhances the range of insights on the digital relationships with archaeological data that enable new inferences and knowledge by the implementation of universally shared low cost applications.