Here at the Past in Pixels every decision we make in our products is informed from archaeological evidence. We use a variety of different sources for each project, depending on what information is available and what information is needed to build and create the sites. Below is an overview of some of the types of archaeological data we utilise:
Hillshade model produced in GIS. Raw LiDAR data provided by the Illinois State Geological Survey, Data collected by the History Channel, Data Processed Ali 2017
GIS information and LiDAR
GIS stands for Geographical Information Systems, it is a mapping methodology that lets us visualise, analyse, and process geographical data. It is a methodology employed by many industries to question data and understand trends, relationships and patterns.
For our land based sites we use GIS platforms to understand one specific type of data, LiDAR. Light Detection And Ranging is a common methodology used in archaeology to examine archaeological features, sometimes hidden features, on land. It works by using a laser projected from an aircraft to measure the distances from earth to the aircraft. With enough measurements the distances are used to create a three dimensional landscape that can be analysed in GIS programs.
Most of the United States and the whole of the United Kingdom has been surveyed using LiDAR data, and that data is free for the public to access and use. We utilise these data depositories to form the foundation of our landscape creations in our products.
Digital Capture Data
Digital capture refers to any data that is collected with digital aid. This includes digital photography, total station survey, and any type of digital scanning-- from photo scanning (photogrammetry), laser scanning, and structured light scanning. Depending on the sites needs, location, and artefacts we assess which combination of methodologies would be the most efficient way to capture the data we need to create our products.
With all the new technologies and methodologies, sometimes you can't beat good old fashioned research. We scour archives, books, journals, and archaeological grey literature to build the background and history of our products. We try to understand the whole time period each site resides in to provide valuable contextual information, and we use the grey literature such as site plans and interim reports to make sure our placement of reconstructions is exact and informed by evidence.
The digital capture and GIS methodologies provide the foundation for our products, but the literature review and history brings life to the past on our sites.
Photogrammetry model of the Ribadeo Shipwreck, created by Brandon Mason at the Maritime Archaeology Trust on behalf of ForSEAdiscovery (forseadiscovery.eu)
Archaeological field map overlayed onto the Cahokia site reconstruction.
Image from Iseminger, W. (2010). Cahokia Mounds: America’s First City. Electronic Book. The History Press, Charleston.