Returning to Second Life

With my somewhat better internet connection, I can now once again explore in Second Life. It’s been roughly one year since I was last in there; I wonder what’s new, archaeology-wise? So, I went to http://maps.secondlife.com/ and searched ‘archaeology’, and found:

Results 1-10 for “archaeology

ROMA Archaeology

Interested in archaeology? Come dig in the interactive archaeological excavations
in the corner of the ROMA Transtiberim sim. Interested in archaeology?

Okapi Island (archaeology research, education, public outreach)

Team OKAPI and Berkeley archaeologists mirror the prehistoric village,
museum and archaeology in action at Catalhoyuk, Turkey.

The Second Life Center for Archaeology (SLCA) is being developed as an undergraduate
project at Anglia Ruskin University in the UK and focuses on the use

The Roma simulation of an excavation is really rather good. There are animations there that will soon have you troweling or shoveling away. This is very much an exhibit – there are explanatory panels giving some info on the various tasks and strategies of the archaeologist. There’s a bit of interactivity in some games that have you identifying which pot in the stratigraphy is likely oldest, that sort of thing. The graphics and objects are very well done – much better than my attempt at a virtual excavation from some time ago. However, my excavation wasn’t so much as an exhibit as an attempt to translate our metaphors in archaeology into manipulatives in Second Life. Which approach is better? Probably the wrong question to ask… (Incidentally, I tried using Jing to film myself wandering about the exhibit, but it didn’t work.

Okapi island still goes from strength to strength.

The only new one to me then that this search provided was SLCA.There were no explanatory panels or such like, but a couple of reconstructions. The Roman villa seemed nice…

I know the Portus people at Southampton have something going on, but clearly ‘search’ in Second Life still leaves something to be desired.

Virtual Excavation in Second Life Has Found a New Home

My thanks to Colleen Morgan, who has found a lovely corner of Anteater Island, an island in SL associated with the AAA/American Anthropologist and UC Irvine, for me to re-establish my virtual excavation.

I hope to have it up and running within the next month, at which point I’ll give the exact  slurl and invite feedback and criticism.

Thank you very much Colleen!

Public Archaeology in Second Life – Remixing Çatalhöyük Day

Just saw this today on the Second Life Education List, regarding the Çatalhöyük project. I’ve written about this project in Second Life before, so am very glad to see it moving on like this!. If only my bloody laptop had a fast enough graphics card so that I could visit it too! Somebody send me a postcard.

Remixing Catalhoyuk Day
Remixing Catalhoyuk Day
10am to 6pm Pacific Standard Time (GMT-8)
November 28, 2007
Location: Okapi Island
http://slurl.com/secondlife/Okapi/128/128/0

Join us for Remixing Catalhoyuk Day, a public program sponsored by
OKAPI and the Berkeley Archaeologists at Catalhoyuk. Visit OKAPI
Island in the 3-D virtual environment of Second Life and explore the
past and present of Catalhoyuk, a 9000-year-old village located in
present-day Turkey. OKAPI Island features virtual reconstructions of
the excavation site and multimedia exhibits of research data. The
Island was constructed by a team of undegraduate research apprentices
during the Spring and Fall 2007 semester. The Remixing Catalhoyuk
program includes lectures, guided tours, games, and much more. Mark
your calendars!

Remixing Çatalhöyük Day Activities

(10-10:30 AM, 3-3:30 PM PST)
Guided Tours of OKAPI Island. Tours will be conducted by Ruth Tringham
(Professor of Anthropology, UC Berkeley, and Principal Investigator of
Berkeley Archaeologists at Çatalhöyük) and the Remixing Çatalhöyük team.

(1 – 2 PM PST)
Lecture: “Cultural Heritage Interpretive Videowalks: Moving Through
Present Past Places Physically and Virtually” Presented by Ruth
Tringham to the UC Berkeley Landscape Architecture and Environmental
Planning Colloquium and simulcast in Second Life.

(2 – 4 PM PST)
Turkish Music Mix. Visit OKAPI Island, learn about Çatalhöyük and
build your own remixes in the OKAPI Island Sandbox while listening to
DJ (and UCB Anthro grad) Burcu’s eclectic mix of classical and
contemporary Turkish music.

(4-5 PM PST)
Remixing Çatalhöyük Video Festival. Nine video producers will share
videos about Çatalhöyük. The Video Festival will be hosted by VJ (and
UCB Anthro grad) Colleen Morgan.

(5 – 5:30 PM PST)
Remix Competition. The public is invited to use the OKAPI Island
Sandbox or Graffiti Cube to build and share reconstructions of
Catalhoyuk or “remixes” of archaeological research data. At 5pm PST,
the Berkeley Archaeologists at Catalhoyuk team will review and select
top entries for virtual awards and exhibition on OKAPI Island.

Reading & Experiencing Space

When I was an MA student at Reading University (studying the City of Rome), one of the texts that we used was Diane Favro’s The Urban Image of Augustan Rome, Joesphy Ryckwert’s The Idea of a Town, and Kevin Lynch’s The Image of the City. One of the things I took away from that experience was about reading and experience space, and the messages encoded in the urban fabric. One of the things that has always bugged me about reconstructions – whether written or drawn or CAD – is that, no matter how good they are, the experience and the reading is always at one or two steps’ remove.

Today, I was briefly at Vassar’s Sistine Chapel in Second Life. This it strikes me is an excellent example of how archaeological space and its reconstructions might be profitably done. For starters, the simulation takes control of your avatar so that you must read the code of conduct. If you do not agree to behave inside, the simulation dumps you elsewhere (how I wish the real Sistine Chapel had such an device!). Once inside, the space surrounds you. Because you can fly, you too can play the artist and poke your nose against the paint. Moreover, every fresco, every scene seems thick with information. Touching one presents you with a notecard with all of the information you could want about that particular scene.

The experience was tranquil; it was like stumbling into one of those churches in the back alleys of Rome that the tourists always miss… which I suppose raises some questions about whether spiritual experiences are possible in Second Life. But I digress.

I would love to see a reconstructed and annotated Pantheon; or a walk through the Campus Martius teeming with information attached: hyperlinked experienced virtual space… Imagine publishing your excavation in Second Life, a reconstruction where different layers could be peeled away, or ‘wall54’ tagged with all of the associated info, perhaps via a link to an online database. Publishing through Experiencing…