The Challenges of Archaeological Reconstruction : Back Then, Now and Tomorrow
Chapter from the book: Hageneuer, S. 2020. Communicating the Past in the Digital Age: Proceedings of the International Conference on Digital Methods in Teaching and Learning in Archaeology (12th-13th October 2018).
Archaeological reconstruction has been part of archaeology since its beginnings. From rudimental sketches to elaborated artwork, from pages in a notebook to immersive three-dimensional worlds, from detailed scientific research to mere fantasy, the spectrum of quality, media and reliability of archaeological reconstructions is broad and shows a wide variety. In most cases, however, we are not able to see that variety in the visualisation itself and are misled in believing what the past looked like. Reconstructions are a popular way of communicating the past to a broader audience, as can be observed in museums, magazines, documentaries or even video games. The effect of an elaborated reconstruction is however often preferred over the truthfulness of the underlying sources. Although there are guidelines and charters promoting a good way of documenting and presenting, they are often ignored. This chapter aims to sum up the development of reconstructions from the very beginning to today and give a glimpse into the future.