« Capturing the Senses: Digital Methods for Sensory Archaeologies », Lund, 1 et 2 Juin 2017

1-2 June 2017, Lund University

Organisers: Giacomo Landeschi (Lund) and Eleanor Betts (Open University, UK)


Significant advances in archaeological computing, digital methods and sensory approaches have led archaeologists to rethink strategies and methods for creating narratives of the past. Integrated techniques of data-acquisition (IBM 3D modelling, UAVs, 3D GIS platforms etc.) provide interesting opportunities for landscape/site representation and reconstruction, and offer a platform for presenting an embodied version of the past. This conference combines the digital and the sensory, encouraging participants to reflect on how a sensorial engagement with the past can be facilitated by digital media. Speakers present innovative methods for representing an embodied experience of ancient space, simulating (but not recreating) ancient behaviours and social interaction. A ‘sensory spatial structure’ (Wheatley 2014:8) necessitates a multidisciplinary approach in which formal methods contribute to our understanding of the social significance of space. The conference demonstrates that multisensory approaches can give a new perspective on how ancient spaces were intended to be used by inhabitants to convey messages, and to regulate movement and presence. In particular, one of the questions that arises is whether the recent advances in archaeological computing allow us to improve the capacity ‘to explore the agential capacity of landscape and people’ (Llobera 2012). Recent progress in data visualisation and implementation, as well as other nascent digital sensory methods, means that it is now easier to explore and experience ancient space from a multiscalar perspective, from the individual body or single building to the wider landscape. Proxemics (Hall 1966; Wheatley 2014) affords the opportunity to develop a methodological framework in which different scales of representation can be defined to specifically target a variety of sensory perceptions. The conference aims to open discussion of how digital technology can contribute effectively to improving our understanding of the past through a sensory engagement based on the evidence of material culture. In particular, we would like to encourage those specialists who consider senses and human agency to be important factors in studying ancient space, and who recognise the role played by digital tools in enhancing a human-centered form of analysis.



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