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3D Virtual Dig: a 3D Application for Teaching Fieldwork in Archaeology

Paola Di Giuseppantonio Di Franco, Fabrizio Galeazzi and Carlo Camporesi

University of California, Merced, 5200 North Lake road, 95343, Merced, CA. pdifranco@ucmerced.edu / fgaleazzi@ucmerced.edu / ccamporesi@ucmerced.edu

Cite this as: P. Di Giuseppantonio Di Franco, F. Galeazzi and C. Camporesi 2012 '3D Virtual Dig: a 3D Application for Teaching Fieldwork in Archaeology', Internet Archaeology 32. http://dx.doi.org/10.11141/ia.32.4

Summary

Reconstructing excavation area

Archaeology is a material, embodied discipline; communicating this experience is critical to student success. In the context of lower-division archaeology courses, the present study examines the efficacy of 3D virtual and 2D archaeological representations of digs. This presentation aims to show a 3D application created to teach the archaeological excavation process to freshmen students. An archaeological environment was virtually re-created in 3D, and inserted in a virtual reality software application that allows users to work with the reconstructed excavation area. The software was tested in class for teaching the basics of archaeological fieldwork. The application interface is user-friendly and especially easy for 21st century students. The study employed a pre-survey, post-test, and post-survey design, used to understand the students' previous familiarity with archaeology, and test their awareness after the use of the application. Their level of knowledge was then compared with that of those students who had accessed written material only. This case-study demonstrates how a digital approach to laboratory work can positively affect student learning. Increased abilities to complete ill-defined problems (characteristic of the high-order thinking in the field), can, in fact, be demonstrated. 3D Virtual reconstruction serves, then, as an important bridge from traditional coursework to fieldwork.

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