EDUCATION \ SITE PRESENTATION \ 23cons
1: G. Buccellati, October 2009
Preservation and displayIt is obvious that what is to be presented ought to be presentable. In practice, this means that given architectural structures and stratigraphic elements must be identified and protected before they are interpreted and explained for the visitor.
Thus it is that preservation in all its nuances (conservation, restoration, reconstruction) is an integral part the overall project of site presentation.
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Real virtual realityI like to describe the result of our architectural conservation as "real" virtual reality: the buildings are simulated in ways that remind you of what you see on a computer screen, but instead of a virtual walk-through, you become physically engaged in the architectural spaces and volumes. This is pertinent to the point I just made about site presentation. Virtual reality forces our scholarly attention to correlations we had not anticipated, and in this respect it is much more than a mere exercise in aesthetics. It does, substantively, contribute to archaeology at its best.
It is the same with the effort at preparing for visitors the physical appearance of an excavation. Our scholarly attention is forced to consider aspects that had escaped us as long as we saw them abstracted from a living context. These aspects are intrinsic to the ancient data, hence they tell us as much about the ancient as about the modern fruition. But we must, as archaeologists, train our sensitivity so that we develop a greater awareness for these stimuli.