Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Groningen Institute of Archaeology, the University Museum in Groningen not only opened the interactive exhibition DIG-IT-ALL: Archaeology of the future, but also organised the weekly ArcheoHotspot, where visitors of all ages can test their skills as archaeologists.
By Yelena Kilina
All archeologists for one day can piece together excavation findings and classify the materials free of charge every Friday in August, from 12 noon until 5 pm. After getting the hands-on experience, museum guests can explore the digital technologies that archeologists use today: from virtual reality to 3D reconstructions.
3D model from the Ancient Greece
For example, RUG student Yannick de Raaff created a 3D model of loose stones found near the area where Helen of Troy lived (at least, according to the Greek poet Homer). Those stones are known to be roofs of ancient tombs, but it is unclear how those stones were layered on the top. The 3D model has helped archeologists to make reconstructions to show how the tomb may have been built.
Yannick de Raaff is one of 10 Master students who created the digital draft for the DIG-IT-ALL exhibition. The exhibition is the result of a collaboration between the Groningen Institute of Archaeology, the CIT department, the University Museum and the Groningen municipality. ‘We wanted to make an exhibition to focus on the relevance of archeology now and in the future and to showcase current research in combination with high-tech techniques’, says Daan Raemaekers, director of the Institute.
Even though the DIG-IT-ALL exhibition was planned to be the most technologically advanced activity of the University museum ever, the global pandemic almost put the crimp in a scheme. ’It took about half a year only to design the exhibition, but the last preparation works were finished literally two days before the national lockdown in March’, recalls Anne Ponten, who took part in the exhibition as a student. ‘It was quite heartbreaking’, confirms museum director Arjen Dijkstra. ‘But we came up with new ways to make the exhibition corona-proof.’ Since not all interactive tools such as VR-glasses and touch-screens would be safe to use after re-opening of the museum in June, visitors can tap and draw on the large screens with special pens and do research on their own smartphones through a museum application. ‘It is still a great exhibit,’ says Dijkstra.