You are here: Home Research Activities Mathematical Modeling and Visualization of Archaeological Uncertainty

Research on Mathematical Modeling and Visualization of Archaeological Uncertainty


Archaeologists piece together available information derived from evidence into a speculative version of the past. This version becomes more certain as the evidence increases. For the past decade, 3D computer graphics archaeological visualizations have mostly been represented by photo-realistic reconstructions of ancient monuments and ruins. Because of the possibility of misleading the public, the archaeological community has stressed the need to acknowledge the availability of other possible hypotheses as well as the difference between what was found and how it is interpreted. This research attempts to mathematically model and visualize the archaeological expert's uncertainty in the visualization scheme. We define uncertainty as the extent of expert’s knowledge and confidence related to archaeological evidence which could ultimately be included in the visualization of an archaeological structure. Recently, researchers criticized the adequacy of the probabilistic approach for single-event judgments providing evidence from various situations when humans did not conform to the prescriptions of the probabilistic normative framework. We mathematically model archaeologists’ uncertainty using possibility theory which does not expect such precise information and provides both ordinal and numerical answers, whereas probability allows only for numerical. Possibility has also a complementary measure, necessity, which represents the possibility of the contrary event. We are advancing fuzzy logic and probability theory by adopting possibility theory in order to represent the expert's confidence related to parts of an ancient reconstruction. We form a mathematical model of uncertainty in conjunction with a number of factors and significance of evidence that will be identified through questionnaires and structured interviews with expert archaeologists. A complete 3D visualization system is being implemented employing pseudocolour information visualization schemes, grounded on visual perception principles. This line of research will also explore the pedagogical and educational value of such a system as well as its usefulness as a research tool for archaeologists.

Research Topics

Multi-modal and 3D Interfaces


Virtual Museums and 3D Digital Content


R&D Projects


Related Persons