Digital media for communicating archaeological research: text, Twine, VR

S4: Poster session | Poster
  • Despoina V. Sampatakou

Archaeologists are keen to try digital media and cutting-edge technology to study the past or to present their research to the wider public. Digital archaeology is an established field of archaeology usually focused on using digital technology to study or communicate the past. Interactivity and immersion along with archaeological storytelling are often used to create digital heritage experiences, such as Virtual Reality (VR) installations, to communicate archaeological research to the public and to attract more visitors to the museums and cultural institutions. However, the suitability, limitations, and results of these techniques have not been widely assessed and discussed, neither has the overall relationship between digital archaeology and public engagement.

In this poster I will present my current doctoral research, where I am looking into different media and techniques of communicating archaeological research. The aim of my research is to assess the impact and implications of the use of different forms of archaeological storytelling in communicating archaeological research to the wider public. In addition, I am examining whether and to what degree can an archaeologist employ such digital tools to communicate their research without hiring professionals, undergoing long training, or using extra funds. Finally, I want to assess which digital tools would offer the best options for archaeologists to develop such heritage experience. For this reason, I have looked into two widely used digital media: videogames and VR.

In order to study the impact of the stories and to assess whether and in what degree the research questions were covered, I have created an experiment as an assessing methodology which combines qualitative and qualitative research tools; The experiment made use of groups of individuals across three different countries: the UK, Malta, and Greece. The design of the experiment is focused on assessing any previous knowledge on the subject via pre-questionnaires, as well as the knowledge obtained after the experience via post-questionnaires. The quantitative data from the questionnaires were processed using Qualtrics and analysed using Excel. Moreover, qualitative data have also been collected during follow up interviews with the individuals, which will also be analysed and studied using Thematic and Discourse Analyses. Hence, the final datasets are a combination of quantitative and qualitative data aiming to help to better understand the impact of the stories as well as to answer the research questions.