Engaging the general public in archaeological pursuits has always been difficult. Some of the challenges include creating interest in the project, allowing access to the project in progress, and disseminating the findings once the field project has ended. New technology through smartphones is helping to bridge those gaps. How do you take a dig site that looks boring and slightly dangerous and make it more interesting to the public? You use interactive technology. 

In 2020 Apple launched the IPhone 12 Pro series with a LiDAR sensor integrated into the device. LiDAR stands for light detection and ranging. It is a technique that uses lasers and a receiver to detect and measure the distance to an object by bouncing the laser off the object. This video explains what LiDAR is and how it works on a smartphone.  https://youtu.be/FOxxqVzDaaA?feature=shared (embed)

The LiDAR technology is used with phone apps like the one we used, Scaniverse. The product of the app scan is then uploaded onto platforms like Sketchfab for the public to access. This video shows what it is like to use Scaniverse. https://youtu.be/ELXLFMjLOx8?feature=shared (embed)

Here is an example from our archeological excavation site. This picture along with written documentation and measurements is the standard way to record an excavated pit.       

Combining this information with technology brings a whole new level of understanding and interest.  https://skfb.ly/oOsEL (embed)

Taking the 3D models of the excavations and combining them with 3D models of artifacts on a website that gives context and background takes the viewer into the past in whole new ways. The Archeology Department in Boston, Massachusetts has already started utilizing these methods in their archeology projects “City Archaeology Program Brings the Past to Life with LiDAR.” The Boston project has a website, Facebook page and  Sketchfab collection of artifacts and architecture to help engage the public in their archeological pursuits.