Desert Foothills Chapter, Arizona Archaeological Society presents guest speaker PhD Doug Gann May 10:

Doug Gann

PhD Doug Gann presents Traveling in Time and Space –The Interpretive Potential of Virtual Reality in Archaeology. While three-dimensional computer graphics are in use illustrating ancient places of the past for nearly 30 years now, a pair of recent technological innovations developed over the past five years are revolutionizing the practice of archaeology and the possible ways archaeologists may share their findings with the general public. The first innovation is desktop or “soft” photogrammetry enabling archaeologists to create detailed 3D models of landscapes, individual village spaces, and even specific artifacts of the past from linked sets of digital photographs. The second innovation concerns the development of head-mounted virtual reality displays such as the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. When photogrammetric models are explored in 3D virtual reality, a startling sense of physical presence in ancient places results. Doug Gann’s presentation discusses the history of these technologies and the software Archaeology Southwest is developing to share places of the past in a unique and immediately intuitive way.


PhD Doug Gann is a preservation archaeologist and visualization specialist at Archaeology Southwest. Doug Gann earned his PhD at the University of Arizona in Anthropology. At not-for-profit corporation Archaeology Southwest, he focuses on archaeological research, land conservation, and public education. As a student, Doug worked for roughly 15 years with the Arizona State Museum’s Homol’ovi Research Program where he assisted in the excavation of several ancient pueblo villages near Winslow Arizona. These villages are ancestral to the modern day Hopi Peoples. As a student and throughout his professional career, PhD Gann has blended archaeological research with three-dimensional digital or virtual models to create conjectural reconstructions of how places of the past might have appeared during the time before these ancient towns were left to the care of the ancestors. Doug is currently working on developing animations and virtual reality models of Tucson through 4000 years of time. He hopes to start work on a similar animation of the Phoenix region in 2018.

Doug Gann

The general public may attend an Arizona Archaeology Society – Desert Foothills Chapter meeting at no charge, except for the member-only holiday party in December. The AAS-DFC meetings are held on the second Wednesday of each month, September through May. There are refreshments available at 7:00 PM and the meeting begins at 7:30 PM, usually ending prior to 9:00 PM. The meetings are held in the community building (Maitland Hall) at The Good Shepherd of the Hills Episcopal Church, 6502 East Cave Creek Road, Cave Creek, AZ 85331 (near the Dairy Queen).