Reconstructing traditional Inuit house forms using three-dimensional interactive computer modelling

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Virtual heritage environments provide researchers and the general public with a tool for exploring archaeological data in a dynamic and interactive fashion. This paper discusses recent attempts by the authors to construct a prototype three-dimensional interactive computer model of an Inuvialuit sod house based on archaeological, ethnohistoric and ethnographic data from the outer Mackenzie Delta area in Arctic Canada. Such computer models have the potential to provide significant insights into the design principles used in traditional Inuit architecture. They can also be integrated with three-dimensional scans of cultural artifacts and other recorded media to create an interactive virtual heritage environment. In addition to providing an armature for the collection of oral histories and traditional knowledge, these web-based virtual environments allow members of the general public to experience cultural sites in inaccessible areas like the Canadian Arctic. Virtual environments may also provide archaeologists with new insights into the role that human senses may have played in the design of small-scale dwellings. This paper will focus on how the computer model was constructed, and presents examples of how the model can be used both as a research and education tool.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 2004

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