UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Deploying low cost virtual reality for archaeological research Tari, Jem Patrick


In recent years powerful and inexpensive Virtual Reality ecosystems have become widely available, a side effect of the cellphone revolution. Both the archaeological and software development communities have struggled with both the pace of change and the unique properties of the medium, with the result that many projects have had mixed and inconsistent outcomes. In this thesis I argue that VR adds significant adjunctive capabilities to several areas of archaeological inquiry—wayfinding, space and place, landscape archaeology and saliency theory in particular—as well as offering real explanatory potential for questions of identity and materiality. I suggest that, to date, this potential does not appear to have been realized, and that this delay can likely be ascribed to the ‘teething problems’ of understanding, and engaging, with a novel medium. Given the expense of retaining development resources, together with growing skill shortages, I suggest that there is a requirement for a more structured and efficient approach, one that both identifies and engages with key issues and key opportunities in the field of VR-centric research and provides a framework for archaeological collaboration.

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