Augmented Reality is a relatively new and exciting digital technology which amalgamates the real world with the digital world.  With the advancement of mobile telephone technology the use of Augmented Reality has become more ubiquitous and varied.  My paper will focus on defining what Augmented Reality is and its relationship with Virtual Reality.  I will also explore the different ways in which Augmented Reality can be implemented in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage.

I aim to discuss the use of Augmented Reality in relation to enhancing the visitor experience in museums and at archaeological and cultural heritage sites.  I will discuss particular projects which involve the development of Augmented Reality technology aimed at the general audience.  An example of such a project is ARCHEOGUIDE (Augmented Reality-based Cultural Heritage On-site GUIDE) which makes use of outdoor tracking, 3D visualisation and Augmented Reality techniques to deliver an “authentic”, interactive and personalised on-site experience for visitors to the archaeological site of Olympia in Greece.  Digital technology is used to reconstruct ancient buildings and monuments thus giving the visitors a unique insight into ancient life.

I will also discuss recent developments in gaming and their applications in relation to education and museums.  This is a field which is still under experimentation and needs further exploration.  With the advancement of technology games have increasingly become more realistic and sophisticated.  Although there are some problematic elements, I aim to illustrate the potential of gaming technologies and their benefits in the context of cultural heritage and education.

Moreover, I aim to examine Augmented Reality and its implementation in relation to archaeology from a professional point of view.  One such example is the development of the mobile application ARAC Maps (Augmented Reality for Archaeological Content) which combines paper maps and digital visualisations aimed at professionals and museum visitors alike.

Augmented Reality is a technology which constantly evolves.  This essay only explores some of the applications involved and is by no means a comprehensive account. (Word Count # 339)


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