Digital Techniques

I think the Hidalgo County Public Cemetery Project could move towards more collaborative, co-creative or hosted methods of engagement by reaching out to other departments and programs in the university and exploring realms of public archaeology that overlap with Majors outside of Anthropology and outside of the social sciences. For example, computer science Majors can be invited to collaborate on the project. We can invite them to assist in making improvements to our data collection form, analyzing some of the data, or making improvements to our website use. Outside of the University, we can find institutions like museums and galleries to display, perhaps, a collection of models developed from 3D scanning. We can also compile our work at the cemetery for presentation at symposiums via multimedia presentations, etc.

The benefits of 3D technology in a public archaeology project are the ability to interpret or analyze data away from the site, the ability to share the data in a very visual and navigable way, and the ability to restore/reconstruct artifacts digitally without having to manipulate what could be organic or fragile material. For example, a 3D scan of an unidentifiable or illegible marker at the HCPC could provide a clearer reading of inscription that may be hard to pick up to the naked eye. Furthermore, having 3D scans of the cemetery can help us reach a wider audience online via interactive websites or visuals. This can help us reach people who may not even be in the area but would like to help or participate in the project anyway.

The pitfalls of 3D scans are that there is a potential for error in scanning, and its limitations in helping lie in the area you are actually able to scan. Surrounding material and matrix composition does not show up in a 3D scan. Despite these limitations, I still think 3D scanning should be integrated into the project by means of creating 3D models and providing an opportunity for digital restoration.

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