SAAU – Press Release

Sustainable Archaeology Animation Unit – Digitally Imaging Ontario’s Archaeological Heritage

SAAU Press Release PDF

London, ON The Museum of Ontario Archaeology, theskonkworks Inc., and the Sustainable Archaeology research facility (SA) at Western University, have collaborated to establish the Sustainable Archaeology Animation Unit (SAAU). The SAAU combines three-dimensional (3D) artifact digitization and industry standard computer generated imagery (CGI) techniques in a production studio environment in order to achieve the long term preservation and digital archiving of Ontario’s archaeological heritage. This unique collaboration between the CGI industry and Cultural Resource Management is the first of its kind in North America.

The summer 2012 SAAU project consists of animators from Loyalist College and Anthropology Department graduate students from Western University working together to develop standards and protocols for digitally preserving and archiving Ontario’s archaeological record. The SAAU also produces media designed to directly engage the public, including a virtual recreation of the nationally designated Lawson site at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology.

This project has received direct funding from the Ontario Ministry of Tourism – Culture and Sport through the Museums and Technology Fund, and from the MITACS Accelerate internship program. Industry support has been provided by theskonkworks Inc. The SAAU also utilizes the digital equipment and facilities at the Canada Foundation for Innovation/Ontario Research Fund supported SA of Western University, located adjacent to the Museum of Ontario Archaeology.

The SAAU is outfitted with cutting-edge equipment and software applications for digital imaging, 3D reconstruction, and the creation of immersive virtual environments. This 3D scanning equipment, combined with the SA’s high resolution microCT scanner, will facilitate scanning of any and all objects housed in the SA repository. Post-processing with a variety of modelling and computer-aided design (CAD) software will allow for the quick and efficient transformation of captured 3D scan data into accurate 3D representations of artifacts that can be both manipulated and measured in a non-contact virtual environment.

The Sustainable Archaeology Animation Unit represents an innovative step in making Ontario’s Archaeological record accessible to researchers, descendant groups and the public alike, while advancing the potential a fully digitized record has for facilitating ground breaking research on Ontario’s past.

Contact Information:

Sustainable Archaeology PI and Director:
Dr. Neal Ferris, Lawson Chair of Canadian Archaeology
Anthropology Department and Museum of Ontario Archaeology, Western University

SA Animation Unit Project lead:
Namir Ahmed, Western University
(519 473-1360)

Industry Partner: theskonkworks incorporated
Michael Carter, President
(416) 898-2624

MITACS Accelerate Program:
Ontario Museums & Technology Fund

Canada Foundation for Innovation:

Ontario Research Fund:

Faculty of Social Sciences, Western University:

Museum of Ontario Archaeology:


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