Virtual Reconstruction of Maritime Sites and Artifacts

Donald H. Sanders

in The Oxford Handbook of Maritime Archaeology

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195375176
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Virtual Reconstruction of Maritime Sites and Artifacts

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  • Archaeology
  • Archaeological Methodology and Techniques



The integration of virtual reality into archaeological research began in the early 1990s. The use of computer-based methods in maritime archaeology is recent. Before exploring a real-time virtual, a 3D computer model is created from drawings, general sketches, raw dimensions, 3D scanned data, or photographs, or by using simple primitives and “drawing” on the computer. Virtual reality is a simulation of physical reality offering the viewer real-time movement through a true 3D space and interactivity with the objects, which can be further enhanced with 3D sound, lighting, and touch. This article presents case studies to show how virtual reality becomes valuable for the four components of archaeology: documentation, research/analysis/hypothesis testing, teaching, and publication. As digital technologies advance, so too will the opportunities to explore underwater sites in ways that will continue to enhance our abilities to understand and teach maritime history.

Keywords: virtual reality; virtual reconstruction; simulation; digital technologies; archaeological research; maritime history

Article.  8846 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Archaeological Methodology and Techniques

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