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Augmented Archaeology

Augmented Archaeology ScreenshotSenior Thesis for the B.A. in Interactive Media Studies. This research is exploring how to connect the public to the past through the development of a program that utilizes augmented reality to allow users to interact with 3D artifacts where they were excavated at archaeological sites. The project was inspired by my summer experience working on the Hahn Village Archaeological Site in Cincinnati, Ohio, in which we uncovered a variety of interesting artifacts in what appeared to be an empty field. By using an augmented reality program, sites such as this could be presented as engaging archaeological sites. Augmented Reality has primarily been developed using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript through an augmented reality enabled browser known as Argon and the three.js 3D support program. Ongoing project.

Research Goals: 1-Answering the primary question: “How can we engage the public with the past?” 2-Exploring the ways that Augmented Archaeology can be used to engage the public with the past at archaeological sites, 3-Developing an Augmented Reality mobile application that allows users to interact with local archaeological sites
Research Outcomes

How it works: users download the free Argon app- Argon is an AR-enabled web browser (newly developed by Georgia Institute of Technology). As Argon is further developed and AR expands, the possibility of increased browser compatibility is more likely. Next, users visit the AR site's URL, this will be provided at the site/museum. Then, users view the archaeological site through their mobile device's camera. Users can wander freely through an archaeological site, such as some of the sites controlled by the Ohio History Connection. As they encounter artifacts within their camera frame, they will appear on the screen. Users can opt to view more details about an artifact, such as its excavation details, current location in a museum, and an up-close 3D rendering. Future goals for the project include adding the ability to collect points for finding each artifact. This will likely use a Boolean trigger to ensure that artifacts cannot be triggered more than once, which would allow users to artificially inflate their point count. Another goal is adding the ability to match artifacts found onsite with the real objects in a museum. This will likely feature either a QR code at the museum, or an image match to allow users to match their collected artifacts to the artifacts in the museum. And finally, implementing a fully functional (including gamification) prototype at an archaeological site for user testing.


Bond, Sarah. 2016. "After The Success Of 'Pokémon GO,' How Will Augmented Reality Impact Archaeological Sites?" Forbes website, July 17. Accessed [September 17, 2016].

Campana, Stefano. 2014. "3D Modelling in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage- Theory and Best Practice." In 3D Recording and Modelling in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage- Theory and Best Practices, edited by Fabio Remondino and Stefano Campana, 7-12. Oxford, England: Archaeopress British Archaeological Reports Gordon House.

Chung, Namho, Heejeong Han, and Youhee Joun. 2015. "Tourists' Intention to Visit a Destination: The Role of Augmented Reality (AR) Application for a Heritage Site." Computers in Human Behavior 50: 588-99.

Deliyiannis, Ioannis, and Georgios Papaioannou. 2014. "Augmented Reality for Archaeological Environments on Mobile Devices: A Novel Open Framework." Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry 14(4): 1-10.

Keil, Jens, Laia Pujol, Maria Roussou, Timo Engelke, Michael Schmitt, Ulrich Bockholt, and Stamatia Eleftheratou. 2013. "A Digital Look at Physical Museum Exhibits Designing Personalized Stories with Handheld Augmented Reality in Museums." Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers 2013.

Kysela, Jiří, and Pavla Štorková. 2015. "Using Augmented Reality as a Medium for Teaching History and Tourism." Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 174: 926-31.

Magalhaes, Luis Gonzaga, Joaquim Sousa Joao, Ricardo Bento, Telmo Adao, Francisco Pereira, Vitor Filipe, and Emanuel Peres. 2014. "Proposal of an Information System for an Adaptive Mixed Reality System for Archaeological Sites." Procedia Technology 16: 499-507.

Special Thanks to: Dr. Eric Hodgson, Artie Kuhn, Matthew Board, Dr. Jeb Card, Dr. Mark Peterson, Miami University Department of Anthropology
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