In summer 2020, our team is virtually reconstructing the abandoned medieval village of Northeye in East Sussex.
Our Newest Team member Leah Fusco describes her own experience reconstructing Northeye.
In addition to an augmented reality reconstruction, our team will publish a study in New Technologies in Medieval and Renaissance Studies series edited by Randa El Khatib and Caroline Winter.
Here is the abstract for the upcoming article Northeye Restored: Augmented Reality of an Abandoned Medieval Village:
Late medieval England was a dynamic ecosystem of evolving cultural institutions and volatile natural conditions. Nowhere is this more evident than in abandoned settlements, sites that once provided sustenance to communities but, as a result of internal or external factors, collapsed.
In Sussex, the abandoned settlement of Northeye has received little scholarly attention. This village, whose occupants worked the nearby land and sea, sat perched on the Pevensey Levels, surrounded by a tidal lagoon that had been partially drained by the late Middle Ages. The village was settled on a tidal island since at least the early thirteenth century but was abandoned around 1400. Today, covered by green sod, are the remains of the Chapel of St. James, several homes and garden plots, a sunken trackway, and collapsed flint walls. Archival records, archaeological investigations and high-resolution LIDAR provide clues that allow us to reconstruct the village digitally, resurrecting the lost settlement to visualize better its coastal dynamic at a time of storms and plague.
In this chapter, we document our process to create a tabletop augmented reality experience of the recreated medieval village Northeye. Our chapter lays out our method to reconstruct virtually lost sites using data from written records, LIDAR, and archaeological reports. It demonstrates how augmented reality (AR) allows students and non-experts to explore medieval village life in a fragile coastal settlement during environmental and social upheavals. By presenting an AR experience, we equip school children to explore the settlement from different perspectives (scale of the village itself, closeups of building, interior of buildings, and representative objects). The goal is to allow users to perform self-directed exploration through AR, which we anticipate will be more immersive and engaging than traditional static classroom representations.