Archaeology and Machinima

Machinima are movies made entirely within virtual worlds such as Halo, World of Warcraft, and, of course, Second Life.  The video featured above is a classic example made by the staff at Linden Labs, and more appropriate as an archaeological example than some other machinima that are music videos or steampunk extravaganzas.

As our semester starts up again, we were looking for new projects for our Second Life deCal to pursue, and making a machinima based on Çatalhöyük seems like a project that would be flexible enough for different skill levels in Second Life to pursue.  I think it would also be a useful exercise in understanding the past through performance and really stretching our imaginations and interpretations.


I’ve started sketching out storyboards for the movie.  Usually I do this by hand, with pen and paper, but I’ve been trying to use a new tablet and adobe illustrator to make it easier to share with other people. Unfortunately I just don’t know enough about illustrator to be able to use it for this project.  Instead, I downloaded Seashore, a simple drawing program, and have been impressed with how quick and easy it is for someone like me who grew up using MS Paint.  The sketches aren’t beautiful, but they are vital for stitching together a movie that makes sense.

I’m also hoping to have part of this project ready to show at the SXSW interactive panel that I’ll be speaking at, The Real Technology of Indiana Jones, moderated by Adam Rabinowitz.  I’m hoping that I’ll come up with a few things of interest to technologists!

Author: colleenmorgan

Dr. Colleen Morgan (ORCID 0000-0001-6907-5535) is the Lecturer in Digital Archaeology and Heritage in the Department of Archaeology at the University of York. She conducts research on digital media and archaeology, with a special focus on embodiment, avatars, genetics and bioarchaeology. She is interested in building archaeological narratives with emerging technology, including photography, video, mobile and locative devices. Through archaeological making she explores past lifeways and our current understanding of heritage, especially regarding issues of authority, authenticity, and identity.

3 thoughts on “Archaeology and Machinima”

  1. When’s your panel? Cause I want to be there for it. I promise not to w00t it up when you are introduced or make a salient point.

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