Interactive Presentation of Archaeology in the Historical Context and the Present - Virtual Heritage Experiences that Blend Tangible and Intangible Cultural Heritage

Authors: Anderson, E.F. and Cousins, T.

Conference: CAA-UK 2019: annual meeting of the UK Chapter of Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology

Dates: 4-5 October 2019


Improvements in virtual environment infrastructure over the past two decades have ensured that the presentation of tangible cultural heritage using virtual-, augmented- or mixed-reality is no longer an exception. The presentation of intangible cultural heritage, on the other hand, is lagging behind although interactive virtual environments are ideal for this purpose. We have developed a mode of public presentation of cultural heritage that creates a synthesis of both tangible and intangible cultural heritage, providing audiences with a virtual experience that allows the interactive exploration of archaeological remains and also presents these archaeological artefacts in their historical context in form of a serious game allowing audiences to travel back in time to take part in and experience the historical event that resulted in the archaeological remains. A demonstrator to prove the concept is our "Exercise Smash" virtual heritage experience, an interactive virtual environment that allows the audience to take part in a historical second world war training exercise. During the titular "Exercise Smash", conducted in Studland Bay in preparation of the 1944 D-Day landings, several amphibious tanks sank, the wrecks of which have been surveyed by the BU Maritime Archaeology department and recently been listed as scheduled monuments. In the serious game the audience experiences a snapshot in time where they are tasked to land a swimming tank on the beach during the exercise, after which they explore the present-day wrecks in a virtual dive, extending the concept of conventional "Virtual Dive Trails" by incorporating interaction modes of entertainment games.

Source: Manual