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Friday, April 1 • 10:30 - 10:55
S10-04 Epistemological considerations on image-based 3D representations: Bridging the paradigms through the objectification of field interpretation

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Epistemological considerations on image-based 3D representations: bridging the paradigms through the objectification of field interpretation

Matteo Pilati

This paper investigates what image-based 3D models are and what their contribution is for archaeological epistemology. Given that this particular form of digital representation is integrated in documentation work, data management systems, as well as in different analytical and interpretive contexts, several assumptions are made about their contribution to information generation. On these premises, the risk is that the epistemological affordance of image-based 3D models becomes regulated by methodological frameworks which may not acknowledge the full palette of heuristic, informative, and documentary values inherent to these representations.
The first point to be discussed relates to the automatization of the image-based 3D reconstruction process, its dependence on raster data and use of algorithms, which simulate optic perception, meaning that image-based 3D models are profoundly mimetic, true to reality and un-interpreted representations of archaeological contexts. From a methodological point of view, these models reproduce situations precedent to their representation-based interpretation and provide objective evidence for contextual analytical work. Another point is that given the truthfulness of image-based 3D models to reality and their detail degree they do not simply represent the physical boundaries of an excavated context or unit. Image-based 3D recording captures the archaeological contexts in a broader context of documentation surfaces, features, alongside details, actions which may be considered marginalia, and often cropped. This visual information is a record of the historicity of the excavation work, revealing onsite interpretation dynamics; it can be employed to inform excavation strategies, evaluate analyses and interpretations, promote reflexivity and adaptive documentation strategies, and enhance the historical presence of the interpreting subjects in the digital archive.
Based on these observations, this paper states the capability of image-based 3D representations in providing objective and detailed information of subjectively shaped material evidence, hence drawing closer epistemological positions traditionally perceived as reciprocally opposed.


Dr. Sara Perry

University of York
University of York Twitter: @archaeologistsp Personal Page: http://saraperry.wordpress.com


Friday April 1, 2016 10:30 - 10:55 CEST
Domus Media, Auditorium 13