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Experiencing sense of place in virtual and physical Avebury

Falconer, Liz


Liz Falconer


This paper discusses the findings from a project to construct a simulation of Avebury Henge, a Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age monument in SW Britain, in a 3D, virtual world environment. The aims of the study were to explore the archaeological research and interpretation necessary to plan and construct such a simulation in an interactive, online environment, to identify which aspects of visualisation and soundscape design appear to have the greatest impact upon users’ sense of place in the virtual simulation, and to explore the experiences of a small group of users in the virtual simulation and the effects of those experiences upon their sense of place at the physical site. The findings from this project demonstrated that in undertaking a simulation of an ancient site, a core set of sources need to be selected to create the main parts of the simulation. There is often much debate in archaeological literature regarding the way in which archaeological findings are interpreted, and a different virtual Avebury would be constructed if different interpretations had been chosen. Any simulation of an ancient site should therefore clearly recognise and state the basis upon which it has been designed. The evaluation showed that responses to virtual environments, and the resulting effect upon responses to physical environments, are complex and personal, resulting in a range of experiences and perceptions, suggesting that the range of users’ experiences might be a more significant issue than attempting to find any general consensus on user reactions to simulated ancient sites.


Falconer, L. (2017). Experiencing sense of place in virtual and physical Avebury. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 21(6), 977-988.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 17, 2017
Online Publication Date Aug 11, 2017
Publication Date Dec 1, 2017
Journal Personal and Ubiquitous Computing
Print ISSN 1617-4909
Publisher Springer (part of Springer Nature)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 21
Issue 6
Pages 977-988
Keywords virtual environments, heritage, Avebury, phenomenography, virtual archaeology
Public URL
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