Virtual archaeology: from archaeological excavation to the management and diffusion of heritage. Les Cases de la Catedral (Tortosa) and the protohistorical settlement of La Cella (Salou), Tarragona

Ivan Cots, Jordi Vilà, Jordi Diloli, Ramon Ferré, Laura Bricio

Abstract

This article reports how the new information technologies are used in two practical examples in the field of archaeology from the early stages of excavation up to the reporting of the results. The first example is an urban settlement focused on the process of documentation and recording, the presentation of the archaeological remains and the resulting museum discourse in Tortosa, Tarragona (Spain). The second example is a settlement near the coast with no urban problems or conditions, which is more focused on the diffusion of research results through a variety of virtual communication channels (La Cella, Salou). In this regard, we present a variety of techniques and systems that we apply to achieve our objectives. Photogrammetry is now an essential tool for recording archaeological data because it facilitates fieldwork, provides extremely accurate measurements and considerably increases the quality of the result. It also enables archaeological and heritage research to be socialized and the results target scientific and interpretative analysis. If it is combined with the appropriate software, the remains of artefacts and buildings recovered at the sites, and which in some cases cannot be conserved, can be displayed in 3D. Finally, it can be used to make recreations and virtual interpretations that can present all these archaeological data to a non-specialized public in the form of a virtual museum, an immersive virtual reality experience, or can be applied to improve scientific research, through 3D modelling and virtual experimentation.

Highlights:

  • Photogrammetric technique saves the real information that emerges and prevents much of it from disappearing, a common occurrence in archaeological excavations.

  • Virtual reconstruction is an effective method of presenting the results in an educational way for the general public.

  • The final product needs to show the result of a scientific hypothesis in an attractive and understandable way.


Keywords

dissemination; 3D reconstruction; virtual recreation; photogrammetry; virtual reality; heritage

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