Walking among Mammoths. Remote Sensing and Virtual Reality Supporting the Study and Dissemination of Pleistocene Archaeological Sites: The Case of Fuente Nueva 3 in Orce, Spain
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AuthorReinoso Gordo, Juan Francisco; Serrano-Ramos, Alexia; Luzón González, Carmen; Jiménez Arenas, Juan Manuel
Pleistocene heritage siteVisitor attractionPhotogrammetryImmersive virtual reconstructionVideogames
Reinoso-Gordo, J. F., Barsky, D., Serrano-Ramos, A., Solano-García, J. A., León-Robles, C. A., Luzón-González, C., ... & Jiménez-Arenas, J. M. (2020). Walking among Mammoths. Remote Sensing and Virtual Reality Supporting the Study and Dissemination of Pleistocene Archaeological Sites: The Case of Fuente Nueva 3 in Orce, Spain. Sustainability, 12(11), 4785. [DOI: 10.3390/su12114785]
SponsorshipJunta de Andalucia BC.03.032/17; FEDER 2010 Operative Program Research Project A-HUM-016-UGR18
Remote sensing is a useful tool for the documentation of archaeological sites. The products derived from a photogrammetric project applied to archaeology such as orthophotos and three-dimensional virtual reconstruction (3DVR), allow for detailed study of the Fuente Nueva 3 site in Orce. In our study of the Fuente Nueva 3 site in Orce, we used 3DVR intensively to map out the morphometric features of mammoth tusks exposed on the surface and a geological fault affecting the site’s deposits. To do so, we used imagery captured since 2017 in order to follow the evolution of ongoing excavations during each subsequent field season. We also integrated the 3DVR model in a videogame environment, to create a virtual reality (VR) that allows a VR navigation experience around the scenario using a head mounted display like Oculus Rift. The main features of this VR experience are: (1) It is ideal for the diffusion of archaeological contents since it permits an attractive presentation mode thanks to stereo visualization and realistic immersion sensations; (2) it provides a high level of detail all along the navigation experience, without incurring any damage to the archaeological remains; (3) it allows users to observe more details than they would in an in situ visit to the site; (4) it makes it possible to convert an archaeological site into portable heritage, opening up the possibility to extend visits to vulnerable groups: specifically those with reduced mobility. Our results show that using VR should permit enhancements to a visitor’s experience and contribute to the socio-economic development of the town of Orce, one of the Spanish municipalities with the lowest income.