Imaging the Sanctuary of Hercules Victor
Journal article, 2010
The rapid progress of both information technology and digital media allows for an increasing amount of effective and exciting ways of documenting and communicating our common cultural heritage. Three dimensional scanning through photometry and laser, as well as augmented reality, photorealistic computer graphics and interactive displays; all these are technologies that in days to come will shape the profession of both archaeology and museology.
This exploratory article describe the design and production process of a visualization of the Sanctuary of Hercules Victor in Tivoli, part of the interdisciplinary research project Via Tiburtina — Space, Movement and Artefacts in the Urban Landscape at the Swedish Institute in Rome. We address both the philosophical and practical ramifications of communicating the past using technology which allows us to create representations that not only mimic reality but also shape society’s idea about reality through photorealistic visualizations. A pedagogical approach is presented and discussed in a context where the visualization is tested as a communicative device that encourage questions rather than acceptance. Further, we discuss how a communicative exchange through the visual language can be adapted to let the audience de-construct the re-construction and track different layers of certainty in a visualization. In the process we propose and test a set of core guidelines when creating historical representations, with the aim to enhance the pedagogical quality of the scientific visual language.