Yesterday I was given a book about the Roman limes in the province of South-Holland, with images of how certain forts along the limes used to look and how those regions look now. It’s quite fun and I will definitely be visiting these places in the future. Even more interesting, however, is that there is an accompanying app called TimeTravel – limes which gives you the information and allows you a 360 degree look at any of the forts! It works with virtual reality glasses too, although I do not own a pair, so I haven’t tried that. They have a few other areas in the Netherlands mapped out as well, including Dam Square in Amsterdam and a prehistoric site in Boxmeer. The company aims to recreate 50,000 historical sites according to their website – https://timetravel.world/en/about/.
I find this really cool, but also so important for archaeological progress. A recurring problem in archaeology is the dissemination of information for the public; making it understandable and accessible so non-professionals can feel involved as well. According to the NEARCH survey, conducted in several European countries to better understand what people think of archaeology, 71% of people would like better dissemination of archaeological information (Kajda et al 2018). Given our current reliance on technology, what better way to reach large audiences (and those with no interest in reading academic articles) than with interactive apps! I might be in my 20s and studying for an archaeology MA, but museums with interactive exhibitions are still my favourite. Apps such as TimeTravel mean people can enjoy 3D reconstructions without even having to visit the sites, and they learn new things, too. I really hope more and more interactive games and apps involving archaeology emerge, as there is so much potential for using virtual reality and 3D reconstructions within (pre)history!
Source: Kajda, K., Marx, A., Wright, H., Richards, J., Marciniak, A., Rossenbach, K. S., Pawleta, M., van den Dries, M., Boom, K., Guermandi, M. P., Criado-Boado, F., Barreiro, D., Synnestvedt, A., Kotsakis, K., Kasvikis, K., Theodoroudi, E., Luth, F., Issa, M., and Frase, I. 2018. Archaeology, Heritage, and Social Value: Public Perspectives on European Archaeology. European Journal of Archaeology 21(1), 96-117.