ANTH 258 / CIS 109: Visualizing the Past
University of Pennsylvania
Fall 2009


Sept 30, 2009 by Tamara Levy

We've posted some interesting websites on the course website under "Anthropology Knick-knacks" check them out. If you find something interesting please send it to me with a brief description or why do you find it interesting.
Also, most of the blogs are up and running (you can find the links on the website). I encourage you to go read and comment on each other's blog.

Sept 17, 2009 by Clark Erickson

A new folder INCA ARCHITECTURE has been added to COURSE DOCUMENTS. Protzen's book chapter and his website are good introductions to the rules and style of formal Inca architecture. Domestic structures used by common farmers will be added soon.

Sept 17, 2009 by Clark Erickson

Brian Bauer's book on the ceque system is now online as pdf files by chapter in COURSE DOCUMENTS. Some of the figures did not reproduce legibly. I'll periodically over the next few weeks try to rescan important pages and update these files. I'll be lecturing about this and other themes related to the Incas over the next few weeks. You may want to read the first few chapters as an introduction to the ceque system. I'll make other general readings on the ceque system available soon.

Sept 11, 2009 by Clark Erickson

The readings for the first two weeks are posted on Blackboard under COURSE DOCUMENTS. A copy of the current Syllabus is available in COURSE INFORMATION (same as the paper copy from class).

Course Description

Most people's information about the Past is drawn from coffee table picture books, popular movies, video games, documentaries about discoveries of "ancient, mysterious, and lost" civilizations, and tours often lead by guides of limited or even dubious credentials. How are these ideas presented, formed, and circulated? Who creates and selects the information presented in this diverse media? Are these presentations accurate? Do they promote or hurt scientific explanations? Can the artistic, aesthetic, and scientific realms be bridged to effectively promote the past? How can modern technologies be applied to do a better job at presenting what is difficult to experience firsthand? This class will focus on case studies, critiques, and methods of how archaeology and the past are created, presented and used in movies, museums, games, the internet, and art.

Each year, the studio-seminar focuses on a project. In addition to exploring general concepts of archaeology and the media, students will work in teams to produce an interactive, digital media exhibit using the latest modeling visualization programs for presenting the sacred landscape of the Inca capital of Cuzco, Peru. Cuzco is one of the most important UNESCO World Heritage sites and visited by nearly a million tourists a year. Potential class projects include fly-throughs of architectural and landscape 2 renderings, simulations of astronomy and cosmology, modeling of human behavior within architectural and landscape settings, and study artifacts in the Penn Museum.


Dr. Norm Badler

Director of Digital Media Design, Professor of Computer and Information Science

Dr. Clark Erickson

Associate Professor of Anthropology

Teaching Assistant

Tamara Levy