Digital Archaeology Lab
The goal of the Digital Archaeology Lab, established in Fall 2016, is to support the technological needs of the Cotsen faculty, students and staff by providing facilities, advice, and training. The DAL is located in A163 and is managed by Deidre Whitmore. Tyler Lawrence, the Cotsen’s Technology Analyst of 8 years, also has the DAL as his basis.
The DAL is equipped with two powerful computers with the hardware and software required to build and render intricate three-dimensional models and environments, run complex statistical analyses on large datasets, and geospatially reconstruct archaeological and cultural sites in GIS. Each workstation is outfitted with a high resolution monitor and available to Cotsen affiliates for use. In addition to these workstations, the DAL has three collaborative “pods”, designed for working in groups. These tables can be joined together and rearranged to accommodate larger team meetings, classes, or workshops. Each table is equipped with a large screen mounted to a wheeled stand so users can plug in and share their screen with the group or take advantage of a second display while working.
The DAL also provides scanning and printing equipment, including a Lulzbot Taz 6 3D printer which can be used to create fitted supports for objects, reproduce or reconstruct artifacts, print instructional tools for students, or even build site models for exhibitions or demonstrations. A digital imaging station which can be used to photographically scan a variety of media including large maps, photographic prints, negatives, and books. The station has a built-in lightbox for photographing transmissive media and adjustable mounted lights and a camera for creating optimal conditions for capturing opaque media. The same station can be utilized for photographing objects in order to create structure-from-motion (SfM) models.
The lab will also host a variety of workshops bringing in experts from across campus to address challenges arising in archaeological practices. We also offer one-on-one or small group consultations on topics surrounding data management and preservation, building an online portfolio, and a variety of other topics.
The vision for the DAL is to grow into a space in which users work together to stimulate research, a community of practice, where assistance and inspiration can be found and experimentation is encouraged. The DAL is part of a growing campus-wide network of collaborative spaces, together with the Sandbox (in the Math Science Building) and the Scholarly Innovation Lab (in the Young Research Library) and will help to integrate archaeology in the many digital initiatives and the broad knowledge base that is available at UCLA. One such initiative is a research project synthesizing archival and photogrammetric information to reconstruct the Downtown Los Angeles historic theaters and the cinematic culture that arose at the start of the 20th century.