Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Dr. Neal Ferris


We are of an era in which digital technology now enhances the method and practice of archaeology. In our rush to embrace these technological advances however, Virtual Archaeology has become a practice to visualize the archaeological record, yet it is still searching for its methodological and theoretical base. I submit that Virtual Archaeology is the digital making and interrogating of the archaeological unknown. By wayfaring means, through the synergy of the maker, digital tools and material, archaeologists make meaning of the archaeological record by engaging the known archaeological data with the crafting of new knowledge by multimodal reflection and the tacking and cabling of archaeological knowledge within the virtual space. This paper addresses through the 3D (re)imagination of a 16th century pre-contact Iroquoian longhouse, by community paradata blogging and participatory research, how archaeologists negotiate meaning-making through the use of presence and phenomenology while also addressing the foundations of the London Charter: namely agency, authority, authenticity and transparency when virtually representing constructed archaeological knowledge. Through the use of Ontario Late Woodland longhouse excavation archaeological data, archaeological literature, historical accounts and linguistic research in combination with 3D animation and visual effects production methodologies, and engaging this mental construction made real in virtual reality by deploying these assets in a real-time gaming and head mounted immersive digital platform, archaeologists can interact, visualize and interrogate archaeological norms, constructs and notions. I advocate that by using Virtual Archaeology, archaeologists build meaning by making within 3D space, and by deploying these 3D assets within a real-time, immersive platform they are able to readily negotiate the past in the present.