Pathways, Perception and the
          development of Place

          Computational
          approaches to
          mov...
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Pathways, Perception and the development of Place; Computational approaches to movement and perception of landscape in prehistory

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Presentation given at the “Exploring Research” - The Faculty of Law, Arts and Social Science Conference, University of Southampton, Jun 7th 2005.

Based on presentation given at CAA 2005 held in Tomar, Portugal. Presenting my PhD research to a non-archaeological, non-technical audience.

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Pathways, Perception and the development of Place; Computational approaches to movement and perception of landscape in prehistory

  1. 1. Pathways, Perception and the development of Place Computational approaches to movement and perception of landscape in prehistory A 3D reconstruction of the Beckhampton Avenue, Avebury, Wilts. Paul Cripps, Postgraduate Research Student, University of Southampton, School of Humanities; Archaeology
  2. 2. 2 Pathways, Perception and the development of Place; Computational approaches to movement and perception of landscape in prehistory “Exploring Research” - LASS Conference, University of Southampton, Jun 7th 2005 Outline  Introduction  Landscape studies  Visibility analysis  Abstractions of reality  Approximations of the situation  Moving and seeing  Movement  Perception  Computer based approaches  An integrated approach A 3D reconstruction of the Cove in Longstones Field, Avebury, Wilts.  Available tools; GIS and 3D  An integrated system
  3. 3. 3 Pathways, Perception and the development of Place; Computational approaches to movement and perception of landscape in prehistory “Exploring Research” - LASS Conference, University of Southampton, Jun 7th 2005 Background & Introduction  Any landscape can be seen as a snapshot of the complex continuum of interaction between humans and their environment  The formation of landscapes, particularly significant places within them, can therefore be seen as a function of this interaction  This interaction has at its core the notions of movement and perception, humans being highly visually attuned, mobile actors  In the later Neolithic, we see monumental forms which are linear in nature and may be related to movement of one kind or another
  4. 4. 4 Pathways, Perception and the development of Place; Computational approaches to movement and perception of landscape in prehistory “Exploring Research” - LASS Conference, University of Southampton, Jun 7th 2005 e.g. Stonehenge, Wilts.  Many archaeological remains  Complex sequence of developments over a very long period of time  Linear monuments include an avenue and two cursus
  5. 5. 5 Pathways, Perception and the development of Place; Computational approaches to movement and perception of landscape in prehistory “Exploring Research” - LASS Conference, University of Southampton, Jun 7th 2005 Landscape studies & visibility analysis  Landscape interpretation comprises functional aspects (eg Renfrew) and phenomenological aspects (eg Tilley, Thomas)  Complementary rather than bipolar  Visibility analysis fuses these aspects and has been used successfully to analyse visual characteristics of landscape built up from the point of view of individual human actors  eg Exon, Gaffney, Woodward & Yorston (2000); investigated intervisibility of sites around Stonehenge  eg Wheatley (1995); looked at intervisibility of long barrows around Avebury and Stonehenge  eg Llobera; looked at total visual characteristics of landscape
  6. 6. 6 Pathways, Perception and the development of Place; Computational approaches to movement and perception of landscape in prehistory “Exploring Research” - LASS Conference, University of Southampton, Jun 7th 2005 Abstraction from reality…  Visibility analysis can only ever provide an approximation of the situation  Better approximations can be achieved by improving the theoretical model used and/or the source data  Computers can be used to speed up the process of calculating lines-of-sight; a viewshed shows all the lines-of-sight from a location  A simple binary viewshed can be seen as a starting point illustrating a single static view but can also be used as the input to:  Cumulative, Fuzzy and Dynamic viewshed techniques used to give an improved approximation the situation
  7. 7. 7 Pathways, Perception and the development of Place; Computational approaches to movement and perception of landscape in prehistory “Exploring Research” - LASS Conference, University of Southampton, Jun 7th 2005 Approximations of the situation  But this is still only part of the story!  Traditionally, visibility analysis dependent on a purely mathematical approach using Line-Of-Sight vectors  What about other factors…?  Vegetation has a dramatic effect on visibility, as does weather, colour, relative position and lighting  Static viewpoints only give one view, often biased by the choice of archaeological sites as input locations
  8. 8. 8 Pathways, Perception and the development of Place; Computational approaches to movement and perception of landscape in prehistory “Exploring Research” - LASS Conference, University of Southampton, Jun 7th 2005 Approximations of the situation  A mathematical approach to visibility  Processor intensive; powerful computers needed  Many calculations possible on a modern computer
  9. 9. 9 Pathways, Perception and the development of Place; Computational approaches to movement and perception of landscape in prehistory “Exploring Research” - LASS Conference, University of Southampton, Jun 7th 2005 Moving and seeing  So visibility analyses to date, while successful, have for the most part, ignored effects of movement and perception  While there may be significance in particular static viewsheds, what about humans as dynamic agents, moving through, seeing and interacting with the landscape around them…?  This investigation will draw on theoretical discourses and make use of the concept of visibility as a means to investigate this cultural continuum in terms of movement and perception  Hence, inferences regarding site location, relative chronology and functional aspects may be made
  10. 10. 10 Pathways, Perception and the development of Place; Computational approaches to movement and perception of landscape in prehistory “Exploring Research” - LASS Conference, University of Southampton, Jun 7th 2005 Perception  For the purposes of this investigation, a simplified perceptual model is used:  Based on visibility and factors influencing visibility alone eg effects of colour, lighting, relative position, environmental factors, etc  Other senses (aural, haptic, etc) are currently ignored  Drawing on interdisciplinary sources eg psychology and landscape design
  11. 11. 11 Pathways, Perception and the development of Place; Computational approaches to movement and perception of landscape in prehistory “Exploring Research” - LASS Conference, University of Southampton, Jun 7th 2005 Movement  Humans are dynamic agents capable of moving and interacting with their environment  It is through such movements and interactions an understanding of landscape is constructed  This understanding is incorporated back into the landscape continuum by means of human action eg constructing/destruction of monuments, reserving ‘special’ places, cultural practices, etc  Movement is therefore an important factor in the way humans come to understand the world around them
  12. 12. 12 Pathways, Perception and the development of Place; Computational approaches to movement and perception of landscape in prehistory “Exploring Research” - LASS Conference, University of Southampton, Jun 7th 2005 An integrated approach  A holistic approach needed  GIS cannot adequetely account for the factors previously mentioned  3D technologies do not have the sort of analytical functions found in GIS, but outputs can be subjected to image analysis.  Therefore, make use of analytical 2D GIS and image analysis supported and qualified by 3D visualisation tools  Incorporate rich spatial data; terrain models, lighting/atmospheric models, environmental evidence, reconstructed archaeological features and interpretations (eg Neolithic neon)
  13. 13. 13 Pathways, Perception and the development of Place; Computational approaches to movement and perception of landscape in prehistory “Exploring Research” - LASS Conference, University of Southampton, Jun 7th 2005 GIS based Viewshed Analysis  Binary viewshed from the Cove in Longstones Field, Avebury, Wilts.  Pink areas visible, other areas not visible
  14. 14. 14 Pathways, Perception and the development of Place; Computational approaches to movement and perception of landscape in prehistory “Exploring Research” - LASS Conference, University of Southampton, Jun 7th 2005 GIS based Viewshed Analysis  Probabilistic viewshed from Stonehenge, Wilts.  Grey areas not visible; darker shades of blue indicate higher probability of being visible
  15. 15. 15 Pathways, Perception and the development of Place; Computational approaches to movement and perception of landscape in prehistory “Exploring Research” - LASS Conference, University of Southampton, Jun 7th 2005 GIS based Viewshed Analysis  Animated sequence of viewsheds along the path of the Beckhampton Avenue, Avebury Wilts.  A dynamic approach to viewsheds
  16. 16. 16 Pathways, Perception and the development of Place; Computational approaches to movement and perception of landscape in prehistory “Exploring Research” - LASS Conference, University of Southampton, Jun 7th 2005 3D visualisation  Animations  Modern computers capable of real-time high quality visualisations Animation showing the Cove, Longstones Field, Avebury, Wilts.
  17. 17. 17 Pathways, Perception and the development of Place; Computational approaches to movement and perception of landscape in prehistory “Exploring Research” - LASS Conference, University of Southampton, Jun 7th 2005 3D visualisation  High dynamic range imagery  Involves calculating a range of images of differing exposures to create a more realistic composite  Now possible in real-time Render showing the effects of HDR using Vue 5 Infinite © Eon Software
  18. 18. 18 Pathways, Perception and the development of Place; Computational approaches to movement and perception of landscape in prehistory “Exploring Research” - LASS Conference, University of Southampton, Jun 7th 2005 3D visualisation  Global Illumination  Gives realistic lighting in outdoor spaces Render showing the effects of Global Illumination using Vue 5 Infinite © Eon Software
  19. 19. 19 Pathways, Perception and the development of Place; Computational approaches to movement and perception of landscape in prehistory “Exploring Research” - LASS Conference, University of Southampton, Jun 7th 2005 3D visualisation  Atmospherics  Complex particle systems such as mist or fog Render showing the effects of can be added atmospherics using Vue 5 Infinite  Interaction © Eon Software with light sources can be controlled
  20. 20. 20 Pathways, Perception and the development of Place; Computational approaches to movement and perception of landscape in prehistory “Exploring Research” - LASS Conference, University of Southampton, Jun 7th 2005 3D visualisation  Complex lighting models; reflections and refractions  Output can be further investigated using image analysis techniques  Demo uses a range of Animation demonstrating the concept of Rendering with natural light (Debevec, techniques in 1998); the latest improved version of this real-time on ATI model runs in real-time on the ACRG graphics cards workstation using OpenGL (Apple Mac G5, Dual 2.7GHz processors, 8Gb RAM) © ATI
  21. 21. 21 Pathways, Perception and the development of Place; Computational approaches to movement and perception of landscape in prehistory “Exploring Research” - LASS Conference, University of Southampton, Jun 7th 2005 An integrated system Image Analysis (analytical gfx package Viewsheds Viewsheds tbc) (simple, (complex, Animations Rendered binary) compound) views 3D model 2D spatial analysis (Vue Infinite v5) (ArcINFO / Grass) Dynamic interaction (gaming engine / OpenGL tbc) GIS database (ArcINFO / Grass) Uni-directional data flow Bi-directional data flow Interface interaction
  22. 22. 22 Pathways, Perception and the development of Place; Computational approaches to movement and perception of landscape in prehistory “Exploring Research” - LASS Conference, University of Southampton, Jun 7th 2005 Next steps  This investigation is still very much work in progress (first year PhD, studying part-time)  Hardware set up (ACRG Workstation); Unix based (OSX; Tiger) 64-bit workstation recently acquired  System components to be integrated and tested (due late 2005); Open-source where possible  Detailed investigations of study areas to follow (scheduled for 2006), including fieldwork to validate results
  23. 23. 23 Pathways, Perception and the development of Place; Computational approaches to movement and perception of landscape in prehistory “Exploring Research” - LASS Conference, University of Southampton, Jun 7th 2005 Acknowledgements & image credits  Dr. David Wheatley (Supervisor)  English Heritage; Stonehenge & Avebury World Heritage Site GIS (archaeological data)  Archaeological Computing Research Group (support) http://www.arch.soton.ac.uk/Prospectus/ACRG/  Eon Software (manufacturers of Vue 5 Infinite) http://www.e-onsoftware.com/Products/vue5infinite  ATI (manufacturers of graphics cards) http://www.ati.com/developer/demos/macss2/
  24. 24. 24 Pathways, Perception and the development of Place; Computational approaches to movement and perception of landscape in prehistory “Exploring Research” - LASS Conference, University of Southampton, Jun 7th 2005 fin 360° Panorama from Windmill Hill, Avebury, Wilts.  Contact paul.cripps@soton.ac.uk  See www.soton.ac.uk/~pjc196/research/ for more information Based on a paper originally presented at Computer Applications in Archaeology, Tomar, Portugal, Easter 2005

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