'Breaking the fourth wall': 3D virtual worlds as tools for knowledge repatriation in archaeology

Peter Dawson, Richard Levy, Natasha Lyons
2011 Journal of Social Archaeology  
Interactive 3-dimensional worlds and computer modeling can be used to excite interest in archaeology among indigenous groups such as the Inuit of the North American Arctic and Greenland. Using two case studies -a recently completed exhibition for the Virtual Museum of Canada on Thule Inuit whalebone houses and an interactive virtual world structured around the Siglit-Inuvialuit sod house -we explore how digital replicas might be used in the repatriation of traditional knowledge. This idea is
more » ... mined through the experiences of nine Inuit Elders who explored our digital reconstructions of Thule and Siglit-Inuvialuit dwellings in 3D. Discussions with the Elders suggest that the generic sense of 'presence' generated by 3D viewing enhanced their feelings of connectedness to their past. This would imply that virtual reality and 3D technology might be useful in establishing new discourses in archaeological interpretation, as well as assisting in the exploration, construction, and maintenance of cultural identities through knowledge repatriation.
doi:10.1177/1469605311417064 fatcat:jihuh3thlfh6tlmoostc4pvnbu