Profs and Pints DC presents: “Resurrecting the Medieval,” a look at how drones, virtual and augmented reality, 3D scanners, and other modern technology are letting us view life centuries ago, with Victoria L. McAlister, archaeologist, assistant professor of history at Towson University, and author of an award-winning book on medieval Ireland.
Recent developments in technology are revolutionizing how archaeologists study the past and offering new insights into the lives of ordinary people whose existence often went undocumented. Come learn in detail just how this is being accomplished with Professor Victoria McAlister, who is uses drone-gathered data to identify the homes and fields of medieval Irish people within the present-day landscape and is the author of The Irish Tower House: Society, Economy, and Environment c.1300-1650.
In a talk sure to appeal to technology followers, archaeology and history buffs, and anyone interested in Ireland, Dr. McAlister will offer illustrations of how newer technologies are helping to “fill in the blanks” in our understanding of long-ago times.
She’ll discuss how digital recordings of castles and other architectural remains are aiding the virtual-reality reconstruction of dwellings such as Kilcolman Castle, the home of the famous Renaissance poet Edmund Spenser. She’ll describe how research on such a home of an elite can uncover the stories of many different individuals who lived or worked there.
You’ll learn about Dr. McAlister’s work as project director and co-principal investigator of the Human-Environmental Interactions in the Landscapes of Medieval Ireland (HELM) Project, which uses drone-gathered data to identify the homes and fields of medieval Irish people within the present-day landscape. Such drone data represents an inexpensive way for scholars to look at the physical changes wrought on the earth by farmers hundreds of years ago – changes that are otherwise hard to see with the naked human eye.
You’ll learn where to find some recent 3D scans of artifacts and historic sites that can be printed off on almost any 3D printer, and what handling tangible copies of precious artifacts can tell you about the people who made the originals. Among the questions the talk will tackle: How does stepping into the spaces of people from the past help us better understand how history shapes today’s events? (Advance tickets: $13.50 plus sales tax and processing fees. Doors: $17, or $15 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later.)
Image: A photo of Ireland’s Kilcolman Castle superimposed on a digital recreation. (Images from Centering Spenser: A Digital Resource for Kilcolman Castle / East Carolina University.)