Augmenting Archaeological Walks (Chrysanthi)

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PhD Research successfully concluded in 2015, University of Southampton

by Dr. Angeliki Chrysanthi

for an updated academic record see [1]

Supervisor: Prof. Graeme Earl

Examiners: Prof. Stefanie Moser and Dr. Kalliope Fouseki

Title

AUGMENTING ARCHAEOLOGICAL WALKS. THEORETICAL AND METHODOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS.

Abstract

This research was initiated by a personal fascination with archaeological sites and the possible creative ways of communicating them in situ to the public. One of the most undertheorised and unimaginatively conducted aspects of Archaeological Heritage Management (AHM) is planning for on-site visitor movement. The identified limitations in informed theory and methodologies for assessing, conceiving and planning archaeological walks was the launching point of this research endeavour. In the early stages of this research, this otherwise vast topic was associated with the idea that apart from conducting critical conservation assessments, it is important to understand the visitor-archaeological space interaction before and after planning accessibility and routing. It was also considered that the notions of movement and space are interrelated and thus the investigation of one informs the other and vice versa. At once, in our technologically advanced societies notions of space and movement are defined by a complex network of factors, tangible and intangible, physical and digital, which add another layer that requires consideration, when thinking about space and conduct of movement in archaeological sites.

This research aims to expand on Manovich’s notion of ‘augmented space’ in processes of dealing with visitor movement and archaeological walk planning. More specifically, it seeks to establish an interdisciplinary dialogue in order to identify the under-explored links between the visitor-archaeological site interaction, common practices, digital interventions, as well as conceptual planning in order to investigate the main following question: What does it mean to plan for visitor movement in archaeological sites in today’s technologically enhanced society? In this, the notion of ‘augmented space’ aspires to be the overarching theme in investigating the following:

• Can observations of the visitor movement-archaeological site interaction contribute to archaeological walk planning and how?

• What is the influence of physical and digital affordances in our interactions with cultural heritage sites? how can this be explored at a methodological and conceptual level?

In order to achieve this dialogue, this research draws on well-established principles of AHM and interpretation via traditional and novel media, visitor mobility studies, architectural and media theory. In parallel, traditional and novel computational methods are explored and developed in order to support the main arguments of the thesis both on theoretical and evidence-based grounds. Based on the outcomes, this research addresses and challenges timely discussions on new theoretical directions, active engagements with heritage, informed creativity and creative solutions, for a strategic shift in dealings of research communities with cultural heritage sites and the public.

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