News FocusArchaeology

Virtual Archaeologists Recreate Parts of Ancient Worlds

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Science  08 Jan 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5962, pp. 140-141
DOI: 10.1126/science.327.5962.140

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Archaeologists are using computers to recreate the environment and conditions of the past, including objects, buildings, and landscapes with human actors, such as ancient battles. The field is a natural evolution of archaeology in the digital age. And although virtual archaeology arose in the mid-1990s, it is only now going mainstream, as archaeologists realize the benefits of using computers to make the most of their necessarily incomplete data and as costs go down. Archaeologists argue that virtual worlds offer the best way to test complex hypotheses. The field also gets a boost from the entertainment industry: The technology is the same as that used in video games and movie special effects, and many universities have recently added 3D modeling programs.