Playing the Past: Archaeology and video-games play well together

Sunday, January 27, 2019 10:00 am to Monday, January 28, 2019 3:00 pm

Sunday, January 27
Presentations and discussion about archaeogaming

Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab
No registration required

Monday, January 28
Workshop Interactive Historytelling with Twine

Sidney E. Frank Digital Studio
Registration required for Monday’s workshop - to register, email

The value of video games to archaeology and vice versa has been discussed and shown in a number of related fields such as cultural heritage, ethnography, media studies, education and in a variety of archaeological thought and practice. The combination of games and archaeology, also known as archaeogaming, has grown to be a rich and multifaceted aspect in both scholarly discourse and heritage outreach. It functions not only to educate about the past and to recreate it, but also as a tool to think differently and more reflexively about archaeology and the way we engage with the past.

This two-day series of talks combined with a workshop will discuss the state of the field in gaming and archaeology with a specific focus on how interactive, virtual media function as a differential space for theory-crafting, historytelling, and public outreach. As the most popular form of entertainment globally, it is a given that games are instrumental in democratizing access to the past. Yet this often happens outside of the realm of disciplines that normally produce knowledge of the past. In short, any engagement with games includes confronting our materially-constructed and linear versions of the past with those that take place in digital playgrounds. How do games afford experiences of the past and the practice of archaeology? How do game developers craft specific versions of the past through playful, nonlinear and multi-vocal narratives in alternative virtual worlds? How can games produce awareness on past and present matters, create communities,and forge new relations between different people? But also, how can playing with time, materiality, and history in this interactive, digital medium shape the analogue study of the past?

Registration is required only for the Monday, January 28th Twine workshop. To sign up, please email:

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