Moving through the past lecture at TOPOI

Returning from Berlin, where I was giving a lecture on the MiPP project at TOPOI, part of the Free University. This was the first MiPP presentation I have given to an audience composed for the most part of students, and as so often, it was questions from students which led to the really interesting and important questions.

MiPP was the requested topic, and the pictures are still pretty, but it is now beginning to sound a bit like old news, especially since we now have at least four publications on the back of it. Now thinking hard about where the concept could go next. After all, MiPP was part of the AHRC’s DEDEFI programme, a capital infrastructure grant that was not even supposed to fund research per se in the first place. What research in archaeology might we enable?

So in preparation for the lecture, I revisited some old intellectual haunts, the spatial significances of architecture in Classical Greece. Lisa Nevett has done a good deal of work pulling together the material, iconographic and literary sources to elucidate notions of oikis vs polis household and state, inside and outside, but as Nevett shows, these are concepts that are drawn from literary culture. We have no way of knowing what actual relevance they have on the ground. Nevett’s approach is to fall back on material/archaeological evidence, but here we run it to the sort of conceptual limitations of interpretation that MiPP has, I think quite successfully, defined. Discussion with colleagues working with reconstruction during and after the lecture made me think that there is a great deal of scholarly demand for augmenting material culture beyond simply representing it in the virtual world: what are the points of interest and points of interpretation drawn from architecture, artefacts and. Landscape that determine how people react to all three? How can we document these in 3D? Also, the concepts of comparanda between different levels of familiarity and experience was raised. A simple question could be, if a person is used to living and working in a round house, how would they behave in a Roman villa? How would heir actions differ from someone who had grown up in such an environment?

Another factor which came up in questions is the potential for using motion-based representation as a means for publication, dissemination and engagement. An area where there is likely of be not only interest, but money too.

I should record that there was great interest in the iPad app that Kirk Woolford developed as part of MiPP. Check out this video on his Sussex webpage.



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