The Harvard Yard Archaeology Project: From Analog Past to Digital (AR) Future

Citation:

Emanuel, J. P. (2019). The Harvard Yard Archaeology Project: From Analog Past to Digital (AR) Future. In Digitorium 2019, Tuscaloosa, AL, Oct. 10-12.
The Harvard Yard Archaeology Project: From Analog Past to Digital (AR) Future

Abstract:

Since the turn of the millennium, students in the Harvard College course Anthropology 1130 “The Archaeology of Harvard Yard” have participated in a biennial excavation of a portion of Harvard Yard, the center of America's oldest college. The course includes excavation, conservation, analysis, and cataloguing of material finds, many of which are displayed by the Peabody Museum for Archaeology and Ethnology in an exhibit called “Digging Veritas.” 

In the 2016 field season, the Peabody Museum and Harvard’s Academic Technology group partnered to integrate digital methods into the excavation process and the course. This began by gathering geospatial and photogrammetric data from the excavation, by building 3D models of the excavation trenches, and by developing and supporting an Omeka site for images and “object biographies” of key finds. This partnership has since focused on the development of an Augmented Reality (AR) application that will help accomplish the public archaeology and cultural heritage missions of the excavation and exhibit by enabling the public – physically at Harvard Yard or around the world – to interact with the excavation and its results, and to learn about the early history of American higher education, including its multicultural nature and the experiences of the students who lived it. 

This presentation discusses the purpose of the excavations and the integration of digital methods, lessons learned, and future prospects, and offers a hands-on demonstration of the AR application for use and feedback.