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The Vrouw Maria and accessibility
One of the aims of the Vrouw Maria Underwater project was to improve the accessibility of the site. Access was increased by means of a fieldwork blog, a virtual simulation and the digitisation of artefacts raised from the wreck. Improving accessibility was particularly important as the wreck of the Vrouw Maria is located in a specially restricted zone in the Archipelago National Park and is also surrounded by a protected area under the Finnish Antiquities Act, which means that diving is permitted only for scientific reasons.
The Vrouw Maria fieldwork blog described the progress of archaeological fieldwork, the fieldwork carried out and its results. Besides text, the blog also showed video footage and still photographs taken by the robot camera or the divers. The blog was updated daily directly from the site via the 3G network. Readers could comment on the blog and ask questions.
The blog was launched in summer 2010. In the first week the blog received almost 8,000 hits, with approximately 2,000 in the second week.
The 3D simulation of the wreck of the Vrouw Maria and its underwater landscape and soundscape wad one way of improving access to the site virtually. The simulation was produced in partnership with the Media Lab at Aalto University.
The simulation first shows the passing of time at the site from the sinking of the Vrouw Maria to the present day. This is followed by an interactive section in which visitors can navigate virtually around the wreck itself and its surrounding landscape. The simulation also enables visitors to listen to the underwater soundscape and its changes. The simulation presents one possible interpretation of the wreck and its landscape and soundscape partly based on information gathered on site.
Some of the items raised from the wreck, (including clay pipes, a zinc ingot, a lead seal and a clay bottle) have been measured three-dimensionally by optical scanner. It was easier to examine the details of the objects in the digital models produced in this way than it would be to examine the original finds in a glass case in a museum. The models could be turned around freely with no risk of damaging a fragile artefact.
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Last updated 30.10.2015
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