Theorising 3D Visualisation Systems in Archaeology: Towards more effective design, evaluations and life cycles

Fabrizio Galeazzi1 and Paola Di Giuseppantonio Di Franco2

1. Department of Archaeology, University of York, King's Manor, York, YO1 7EP, UK. Email:
2. McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3ER, UK. Email:

Cite this as: Galeazzi, F. and Di Giuseppantonio Di Franco, P. 2017 Theorising 3D Visualisation Systems in Archaeology: Towards more effective design, evaluations and life cycles, Internet Archaeology 44.


 Powerwall condition. a) Changing light condition to explore objects. b) Manipulating objects (objects appear big on the screen due to off-axis parallax projection but the user perceives it as in real-life); c) Interacting with the objects without original colours (note the floating virtual menu in front of the user)

3D visualisation in archaeology has become a suitable solution and effective instrument for the analysis, interpretation and communication of archaeological information. However, so far only a few attempts have been made to understand and evaluate the real impact that 3D imaging has on the discipline under its different forms (off-line immersive and not immersive, and on-line platform).

There is a need in archaeology and cultural heritage for a detailed analysis of the different infrastructural options that are available and a precise evaluation of the differing impact that they can have in reshaping the discipline. To achieve this, it is important to develop new methodologies that consider the evaluation process as a fundamental and central part for assessing digital infrastructures. These new methods should include flexible evaluation approaches that can be adapted to the infrastructure that needs to be assessed.

This article aims to provide some examples of 3D applications in archaeology and cultural heritage and describe how the selection of the infrastructure is related to specific needs of the project. This work will describe the different applications and propose guidelines and protocols for evaluating their impact within academia and the general public.

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