5. Conclusion

In this article I have presented my concept and vision of the embodied GIS, and demonstrated its effectiveness in changing the archaeologist's perception of an archaeological landscape through three different senses. I have presented each sense independently, but the embodied GIS can (and should) combine all of these sensory applications (see Eve 2014). This type of application has great potential for further development and for acting as a way to feed new information into the GIS database as a result of fieldwork. Coupling the AR-enabled fieldwork with a GIS model means, in the case of the Cornish example, it would be possible to use the attributes of each roundhouse (for instance the time span, or 'type' of house) to automatically and dynamically change the augmented models. In this way it would be possible to investigate the views of the settlement over the life of the settlement itself, perhaps first showing the early phase, and then adding new houses as they are built, and being able to view the site during these different time phases. The same could be applied to the York and the Moesgård examples, using the spatial as well as the temporal depth represented within the GIS model. This results in an application that allows archaeologists to explore their sites dynamically in any number of different ways in any number of different time periods in situ.

The embodied GIS is not a system that encourages mere consumption of data; instead it fosters the opportunity to question both the landscape being walked through, and the data that underlie the computational analysis. I have shown the potential of a mixed reality application to transform practice in landscape archaeology and bridge the middle ground between computational and phenomenological fieldwork and, in doing so, I have created a way in which we can view archaeological landscapes in a more nuanced and sometimes completely different light. We can now experiment with the experiential approach in situ but in such a way that the conditions of the experiments can be reproduced, shared and documented.


Internet Archaeology is an open access journal. Except where otherwise noted, content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY) Unported licence, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided that attribution to the author(s), the title of the work, the Internet Archaeology journal and the relevant URL/DOI are given.

University of York legal statements