Storytelling Consumptionscapes between modernity and traditionality

A virtual encounter with the archaic Monte Iato, Sicily (6th/5th century BC)




What did a life between modernity and tradition mean 2500 years ago? In what way was this life characterised by tensions between cosmopolitanism and indigenousness, between world flair and local authenticity, between immigrants and native inhabitants, especially in rural areas? These questions were pursued at Archaic Monte Iato (6th - 5th century B.C.) in the mountainous upland of western Sicily.

The planned science communication project aims to provide an interactive 3D visualisation system that enables a virtual exploration of our research results regarding the tension between 'modernity' and 'tradition' at Monte Iato. This aim is to be achieved through 'narrative consumptionscapes', providing an interactive 3D exhibition that enables to click on a variety of consumption stories. The multimedia basis for this is the archaeological map, in which all multivariate data and spatial references are stored that our research has produced so far. This map will be transformed into a digital presentation medium which allows all the archaeological finds to act as narrators of their consumption stories. Multiple starting points in the layout of the storyboard leave it up to the user to decide with which consumption story and in which consumptionscape he wants to start, thereby involving the user in the storytelling and keeping him interested.

All of these virtually re-experienceable consumption stories finally lead - regardless of the starting point - to the same shared storyline: The old-established inhabitants of Monte Iato reacted to the tension between the new and old world by reviving presumed old traditions in their cultic centre and archaising religious rites to be considered as natives among themselves and towards others.

Even today, the question of who is a native is still a highly explosive political issue. Hence the virtual exhibition on the Archaic Monte Iato is addressed at the broadest public possible. Three different zoom levels facilitate an increasingly deep insight into the mechanisms and logic of becoming native. The first zoom level reveals the process of becoming indigenous as a time- and context-related phenomenon on the Archaic Monte Iato. At the second and third zoom levels, the user can look beyond the socio-cultural surfaces of becoming native and perceive it as a process by which the old-established locals react to the threat they feel due to modernisation and immigration.

A first test and improvement phase with virtual reality headset in the Visual Laboratory at the University of Innsbruck, to which teachers and students as well as journalists and politicians are invited, will be followed by a permanent 3D exhibition at the humanities research area of the University of Innsbruck, 'Cultural Encounters - Cultural Conflicts'. To this end, a new format called "Interactive Encounters with ..." will be set up on the homepage of the research area under the heading "Dialogue". This format is intended to promote the virtual encounter with issues and research of the Research Area in a sustainable manner, including non-university audiences. The intro to this will be the interactive encounter with the Archaic Monte Iato.


Principal Investigator:

Prof. Erich Kistler and Dr. Birgit Öhlinger


ATRIUM - Zentrum für Alte Kulturen - Langer Weg 11

University/Research Institution:

Institut für Archäologien
Fachbereich Klassische und Provinzialrömische Archäologie
Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck

Project collaborations:

Dr. Gerhard Hiebel (DISC - Digital Science Center - Innsbruck)

Brigitte Danthine MA BA


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