The Digital Past 2016 conference will be held in Llandudno on February 10th and 11th. Visit the website for more details:

I will be attending and presenting the following paper:

Digital Saqqara – from bits of paper to bytes of data

Traditionally Egyptologists have relied upon their extensive knowledge of published literature to understand the ritual landscape at Saqqara. This has been supplemented with a series of maps of varying quality. While the volume of relevant literature has grown considerably, the quality of mapping at Saqqara has not kept pace.

The use of modern digital technologies is providing the opportunity to combine traditional paper-based media with modern GIS and field survey data. The implementation of three-dimensional reconstruction modelling has encouraged the construction of innovative georeferenced environments of spatially-rich data that are accessible from a variety of perspectives. Using the latest software available from Autodesk, namely AutoCAD Map 3D 2016, AutoCAD Civil 2016 and Infraworks 360, an advanced multi-layered three-dimensional representation of the complex funerary landscape of North Saqqara is being assembled.

Using three-dimensional simulation and representation enables the exploration and investigation of the potential for corporeal perspectives through a consideration of landscape and material affordances. This permits new approaches to landscape studies for environments that may no longer be extant or accessible and opens up new possibilities for research. Moving beyond simple line of sight analysis, the digital ancient landscape can be visually explored and examined from different perspectives; it can be assessed diachronically; including or removing structures extant or lost within specific periods; adjusting the time of day, or even the weather conditions. The utilisation of digital technologies is underpinned by an academic framework through the application of the latest theoretical methodologies within archaeological GIS. Through this approach the georeferenced landscape model will provide a digital research heuristic.

This presentation will discuss the digital techniques employed in the project and provide a brief summary of work to date.