MAKING VIRTUAL ARCHEOLOGY GREAT AGAIN (WITHOUT SCIENTIFIC COMPROMISE)
Keywords: Virtual reality, digital archaeology, cyberarchaeology, 3D environment, digital phenomenology, methodology
Abstract. In the past two decades or so, digital tools have been slowly integrated as part of the archaeological process of information acquisition, analysis, and dissemination. We are now entering a new era, adding the missing piece to the puzzle in order to complete this digital revolution and take archaeology one step further into virtual reality (VR). The main focus of this article is the methodology of digital archaeology that fully integrates virtual reality, from beta testing to interdisciplinary teamwork. We briefly discuss data acquisition and processing necessary to construct the 3D model, the analysis that can be conducted during and after the making or creation of the 3D environment and the dissemination of knowledge. We explain the relevance of this methodology through the case study on the intendant’s palace, an 18th century archaeological site in Quebec City, Canada. With this experience, we believe that VR can prompt new questions that would never have occurred otherwise and can provide technical advantages in terms of gathering data in the same virtual space. We conclude that multidisciplinary input in archaeological research is once again proven essential in this new, inclusive and vast digital structure of possibilities.