My motivation for doing this came from this a number of sources. The most proximate inspiration came from a recent, fine article: Brandon Olson, Ryan A. Placchetti, Jamie Quartermaine, and Ann E. Killebrew, “The Tel Akko Total Archaeology Project (Akko, Israel): Assessing the suitability of multi scale 3D field recording in archaeology,” Journal of Field Archaeology 38 (2013), 244-262 (check out my brief summary and discussion here)’ I’ve also been amazed and inspired by some of Sebastian Heath’s recent work with the Kenchreai Excavations; Adam Rabinowitz’s interest in new ways to document both ongoing excavations and archives (e.g. here); Eric Poehler’s work at the Pompeii Quadraporticus Project; my wife’s encounters with 3D modeling through Sue Alcock’s, now-completed, Coursera MOOC: Archaeology’s Dirty Little Secrets; and Joanna Smith’s recent efforts at Polis-Chrysochous where I work. There seems to be enough buzz around the most recent generation of modeling software – particularly Agisoft Photoscan – to warrant some kind of treatment of this technology in print.
The contributions might best reflect the following issues (but I’m open to others!)
1. How do we understand the current crop of 3D modeling technologies in context of the history of archaeological imaging? Are the most optimistic readings of this technology mere echoes of earlier enthusiasm for photography in an archaeological context or is this somehow qualitatively different?
2. Is there an emerging consensus on best practices in 3D imaging of archaeological sites? What are the current limits to this kind of technology and how does this influence the way in which data is collected in the field?
3. How do we understand archival considerations for 3D models and their dependent data? For example, what happens when we begin to prepare archaeological illustrations from 3D models collected in the field and processed using proprietary software? How do we manage the web of interrelated data so that future archaeologists can understand our decision making?
4. What is the future of 3D modeling in archaeology? At present, the 3D image is useful for illustrating artifacts and – in some cases – presenting archaeological and architectural relationships, but it has yet to prove itself as an essential basis for analysis or as a robust medium for communicating robust archaeological description. Will 3D visualization become more than just another method for providing illustrations for archaeological arguments?
My proposal for publication is as follows: This fall we run a series of blog posts on various aspects of the questions posed above (or whatever you want to write on). Let’s set a preliminary deadline of September 1st. I’ll post to my blog articles on Tuesdays and Thursdays (Three-D Tuesdays/Thursdays) for as long as we have content. I’ll create a heading image or something and will need an author/affiliation line from everyone. The main benefit of running this on my blog, rather than a separate blog, is that we have visibility.
Once all the posts are up and comments are made, I can take the posts and edit them with comments into a little pdf book. If we’re all beyond excited, I’m willing to prepare it for circulating in paper as print-on-demand. This is but a small step from preparing a pdf copy).
To make this easier, I ask that you send me your posts as .txt files with hyperlinks in parenthesis and in-text citations. Please send along images as separate files (in a zip folder) include captions where you’d like them to appear in the blog post. Include a works-cited at the conclusion of your contribution. The deadline for all contributions will be September 1 and the posts will start as soon as possible thereafter! I’m imagining contributions of under 2500 words, but since “electrons are free” I can certainly accept longer pieces!
If you’re doing interesting work and want to contribute to this drop me a line: billcaraher (at) gmail (dot) com. This will be a very inclusive project.