Crow Canyon Looking to the Future of Archaeology

Susan Grant adjusted JOOMLA

When it was invented in the 1830s, the stereoscope introduced the world to 3D as hand-drawn images took the viewer to a new dimension.

It was, in fact, nothing short of revolutionary.

Today, nearly 200 years later, virtual reality and 3D models are again taking us places that we never could have imagined. Thanks to VR, a user can move through the interior storeroom of a remote cliff dwelling without disturbing a single artifact. Or it can give someone the opportunity to visit a kiva or a great house when—due to time, distance, or disability—they would otherwise only be able to read about them in books or see them on television.

Crow Canyon is working to bring these experiences to students and learners of all ages. In fact, Crow Canyon has long been a leader in the use of technology in archaeological research. Nearly 20 years ago, the Sand Canyon Archaeological Project Site Testing Report was a milestone in archaeological publication: shifting from a 1,300-page printed volume to an interactive, data-driven platform with links to hundreds of maps, graphs, tables, and photographs.

In the years since, most of Crow Canyon’s site reports, as well as extensive research databases, have been published in this interactive format. It's all a part of our mission to make the human past accessible and relevant.

That ongoing mission is why Crow Canyon is launching a new initiative to update and upgrade our technology.

"We are building the next generation of interactive research report, embedding audio, video, and story maps into reports that look great on mobile and desktop platforms," says Dr. Kyle Bocinsky, the William D. Lipe Chair in Research and director of the Research Institute at Crow Canyon. "Virtual and augmented reality will be used to invite people to inhabit 3D models of ancient villages. And a fourth dimension will be added to these immersive experiences: time. For example, we will invite participants to visualize how a particular village grew and changed over time."

To make this initiative a success, though, Crow Canyon needs to upgrade and expand our current technological abilities.

"We want to invite school groups, educators, research associates, and program participants to join us virtually if they cannot travel to southwest Colorado," says Bocinsky. "But this requires the right software and computing capacity."

This increase technological capacity will help keep Crow Canyon in the forefront of public archaeology and research. But we need your help to make it happen. Please click here or call 800-422-8975, ext. 124 to support advances in technology at Crow Canyon.