Seeing through time

Exploring the use of 3D models of objects in archaeological research - October 15th - 16th 2016

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The Workshop

Perception of the increasing role of 3D modelling for object studies in archaeology varies from it being a revolutionary resource to a useful addition to our toolkit. Its use for excavation documentation, structures and landscapes has been established in archaeology, though its role in the analysis of smaller items of interest has yet to be considered in depth. It is clear, however, that we are making and using 3D models with increasing frequency for material culture studies (broadly interpreted) and in other areas such as osteological research. In turn, this ranges from using models as an aid for documentation during primary studies, in a more active role as objects (or datasets) for research in themselves, as dynamic tools for academic dissemination, to augment or challenge experimental projects, and as a tool for citizen science and public outreach in both digital and print forms.

The actual 3D modelling process therefore constitutes a node linked to a wide array of archaeological research questions and methodologies. The methods, objectives, capabilities and outputs of each strand have capacity to complement each other in novel ways, which may be seen as an important development in itself. In this way, the use of 3D models may provide cross-fertilisations that challenge conventional workflows within the study of objects in archaeology. From primary research through to dissemination, they represent a new consideration in the study of objects that many are now taking on board in their project designs. In a rapidly changing field, this issue seeks to take the pulse of where we are presently with the use of 3D models from both theoretical and practical / functional perspectives. Our intention is also to consider future directions in the field of archaeology that utilise 3D models as a resource to augment, enhance or potentially enable the conduct of new research.

We invite contributions that reflect on the benefits, challenges, and opportunities that 3D modelling can provide and those that consider this as a symptom of a broader digital movement best not treated in isolation. We invite you to ask is this a revolution, a resource or a redundant question?


We were pleased to welcome the following colleagues to Dublin for the workshop

Andrea Dolfini and Rob Collins (Newcastle)
Ashley Kruger (Witwatersrand), (representing also Heather Garvin, Peter Schmid, John Gurche and Patrick Randolph Quinney)
Barry Molloy (UCD)
Christian Horn (Kiel), (represenging also Ulf Bertilsson, Johan Ling and Rich Potter)
Christine Morris (TCD), Alan Peatfield and Brendan O'Neill (UCD)
Jugoslav Pendic (Belgrade)
Linda Hurcombe (Exeter)
Manon Galland (UCD), (representing also Ron Pinhasi)
Marina Milic (UCL / UCD)
Mariusz Wisniewski (Warsaw)
Michael Ann Bevivino (Discovery Program)
Paola Di Giuseppantonio (Cambridge)
Rob Sands (UCD)
Roger Doonan (Sheffield)
Stuart Eve (UCL)
Kristina Golubiewski-Davis (Middlebury College) Jill Hillditch (University of Amsterdam)


We had the opportunity to listen to and discuss 16 presentations over the course of two days and a visit to the UCD Centre for Experimental Archaeology and Material Culture. Papers were 20 minutes with ca. 10 minutes for discussion.

We are now working with the jounral Open Archaeology, a peer-reviewed open-access publication, to publish these papers and we also welcome furhter contributions that focus on portable material culture or objects (broadly defined, including skeletal material)

The deadline for submission of papers for review is March 30th 2017

The book of abstracts can be found here. abstracts

Love Irish Research

This workshop and associated research is generously supported by the Irish Research Council through a New Foundation Grant and is linked to the Marie Sklodowska Curie funded "Breaking the Mould" project. This work is being hosted by the UCD Centre for Experimental Archaeology and Material Culture. #LoveIrishResearch

Irish Research Council