(Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Germany)

Cultural Virtual Reality and landscape visualisation are in a process of rapid development. Digital models possess numerous advantages for research and as a powerful tool to communicate scientific results to the public as can be seen in the boom of museum applications. Advanced software for visualisation becomes more and more available; nevertheless this kind of software is expansive and requires skilled users. Most computer games have powerful graphical engines, are cheap and relatively easy to handle. While the potential of gaming software was realized already for other scientific disciplines, only little attention was paid to it in archaeology so far. The paper aims at the evaluation of the extent to which computer game engines can be used to model archaeological landscapes. Advantages and limitations of game based modelling as a quick and superficial approach for the visualisation of past landscapes is discussed and compared with scientific visualisation software. A digital model of the 12th century Laxton Castle (Nottinghamshire – England) is presented as a case study. The model was created using the SEGA game software Medieval Total War (MTW) map maker. It was based on a historic map drawn by Mark Pierce in 1635 and results of recent archaeological investigations.

Keywords:Game based visualisation, Landscape Archaeology, Cultural Virtual Reality.