Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project in Second Life

I am a novice in Second Life, but I’ve read enough about its potential on blogs like Electric Archaeology (Shawn Graham, the electric archaeologist himself has some interesting remarks on its potential here) and seen some impressive installations like Vassar College’s Sistine Chapel to at least be intrigued.  Recently, Scott Moore, PKAP’s erstwhile co-director and ceramicist at Indiana University of Pennsylvania has become involved in a project with colleagues Bev Chiarulli in Anthropology, Allen Partridge in Communications Media, and students from the very impressive Robert E. Cook Honors College at IUP part of which will explore the application of Second Life to archaeology.  In our discussions, Scott has suggested that the emphasis on spatial relationships in archaeology makes it a natural match for a 3d interface like Second Life. It would certainly be able to reproduce the radical changes in elevation present at our site better than our flat, interactive maps.  Moreover, it would seem to coincide, in a much simplified way, with the current interest in 3D scanning and imaging in Mediterranean Archaeology (like at the Thivi-Kastorion Archaeological Project or among Digital Classicists).  Both technologies seek to present ancient architecture in a way that captures the experience of the space.

So far, their efforts have received some nice attention from the local media, a short article in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review:

…Indiana University of Pennsylvania history professor R. Scott Moore and anthropology professor Beverly Chiarulli recently received an IUP new Academic Excellence and Innovation Grant for “The Creation of an IUP Second Life Island for Technology Advancement in the Classroom.”

Chiarulli said her students will visit underwater sites and take tours on a Second Life island.

“A more 3-D atmosphere, while sometimes cartoonish, gives a much larger sense of what, for instance, Mayan sites would be like than through books or online,” she said… (more here…)

There hasn’t been too much done on archaeology in Second Life yet — there was only one paper, for example, at the recent Immersive Worlds Conference. The scholarly discussion, somehow appropriately, seems to function just below the radar and appear mainly in blog posts like this or this.  The media has been available now for a few years (there are even hints of an archaeology of second life in some places), but it’s educational potential is still being openly debated.  Scott Moore plans to talk about some about this over at his occasional blog, Ancient History Ramblings, possibly tomorrow.

In any event, PKAP already has a Second Life presence on Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Crimson Island.  Scott has built us a PKAP headquarters:


And a conference room for meetings (you can’t properly have a headquarters without a conference room, right?):


More interesting, however, is the emerging Second Life Pyla-Koutsopetria.  The plan, if I understand it, is to build a model of the site so that we can orient students, meet, and have discussions with the student-volunteers prior to actually arriving in Cyprus.  So far, I can see a vague resemblance, but they’ve only just begun:



While, PKAP headquarters and Second Life Pyla-Koutsopetria are still in the development phases (some parts of it should be ready for inspection soon!), Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Crimson Island is up and running with a small PKAP installation.  If you have a Second Life account (they are free!) you can visit it at:

  1. Aaron Barth
    October 17, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    Halo 3 is out now so who has time for Second Life?!?
    Could you maybe turn the Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project in Second Life into a first-person shooter?

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