We are surrounded by the material culture of the people who lived before us: architecture, artworks and artefacts. But can we be certain that, even when allowing for the ravages of time, what we observe is the same as what the original creators of these items would have seen? Light can't be captured in the archaeological record, of course, yet lighting conditions can completely alter our perception, leading to dramatic changes in interpretation for archaeologists, art historians and psychologists. The Colourful Past examines the way that our understanding of archaeological sites and objects has often been surprisingly inaccurate, and how the latest image sampling and virtual-reality techniques are providing startling insights in archaeological places, objects and peoples. Focusing on light, colour and perception, the book shows how computer graphics technology is quietly revolutionising archaeology. It outlines the need for perceptual realism in virtual heritage, and explores case studies where the application of perceptual knowledge can enhance archaeological understanding. After an introduction to the subject, The Colourful Past takes a chronological narrative, beginning with stone-age rock art and working through examples from the Classical period into medieval times, before finishing with the present and ideas on the future direction of research. The narrative spans the globe, from European and African rock art and Mayan frescoes to Egyptian temples and medieval religious paintings, to name a few. Why did medieval artists use so much gold leaf? Were palaeolithic artists in prehistoric France making animations on cave walls? What effect does sunshine have on the layout of an Egyptian temple? How can we tell how things would have looked to people in the past? All these questions and many more are answered in Kate Devlin's brilliant book.
Product code: AVYCO
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Dimensions: 21.6cm x 13.5cm
Publish date: 03/11/2016
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