6. Conclusion and Future Directions

This project demonstrates how data can be gathered for an animated computer-generated visualisation using kite and pole platforms where access to low altitude airspace is limited. The resulting data, while in this case not recorded with the density and accuracy of methods such as laser scanning or conventional survey, were well suited for generating time-based interpretative media. The incorporation of captured lighting conditions into photo-textures in place of computer-generated lighting has been suggested as a way to afford fidelity to the end aesthetic of a computer-generated outcome. In addition, time of day was selected and manipulated within the computer-generated environment to tie in with the narrative of the site. The role of the camera and weather have also been considered for their narrative potential. The effectiveness of these photographic and cinematic considerations as story-telling mechanisms in their own right is suggested as an area for further research.

Placing reconstructed elements within a present-day site, while limiting the scope of the archaeological interpretations that can be shown, has a number of advantages for public engagement. Not only does preserving the visual profile of the modern-day site aid visitor orientation, the approach also reinforces the spatial link between past and present and in turn enhances engagement with the site, as was suggested by Vergauwen et al. (2004, 241). This raises the possibility for interpretations to be placed within an environment suggestive of a tangible modern experience, rather than a hypothetical digital space. It is acknowledged that all forms of representation fall short of emulating the experience of visiting an archaeological site. Only the visitor can get a lasting sense of the intrinsic connection between the story of Jarlshof and its location, and even then only as experienced within the modern landscape. It is suggested, however, that incorporating these experiential considerations into a narrative toolkit may be a useful point of departure to explore visualisations that are more meaningful to a public audience. At best the 'Jarlshof' outcome will enable the visitor, in their mind's eye, to visualise lost structures within the physical space where they used to stand.