The University of Birmingham uses Avizo software to explore the North Sea as it was 10,000 years ago
By the IBM Visual and Spatial Technology Centre, Institute of Archaeology, Birmingham Archaeology, University of Birmingham, UK
The IBM Visual and Spatial Technology Centre (VISTA) specialize in large scale data capture, analysis and visualization for the Arts and Humanities at the University of Birmingham, UK. The VISTA Centre supports interdisciplinary academic research and application development for visualization, spatial analysis and imaging using state-ofthe- art technology.
Avizo software is a fundamental tool that provides new opportunities for data comprehension and exploration through its visualization and quantification tools.
As a result of data capture, vast amounts of data are produced which contain detailed information for research such as the North Sea Palaeolandscapes project. Avizo software enables visualization and analysis of entire landscapes, something which was previously impossible.
Terabytes of seismic data provided by PGS Ltd. of the North Sea have been visualized using Avizo software. These data contain detailed information of the lost territory of Doggerland, the land bridge and heartland of European hunter-gatherers connecting Great Britain to Europe. This landscape started to be inundated at the end of the last ice age (circa 18,000BC) and had largely disappeared by 5,000BC. Thanks to Avizo software's powerful 3D visualization tools the buried territory of Doggerland is one of the last true frontiers for modern explorers to visit.
Once re-constructed, researchers were able to combine archaeological and environmental data collected over the years from dredging and coring sections of the North Sea with the 3D virtual landscape revealed through visualization of the seismic data. The characterization of individual landscape features such as glacial tunnels, salt domes, rivers, estuaries and coastlines all combine to provide a re-creation of the landscape that was occupied for thousands of years.
Inspecting data at the Visual and Spatial technology Centre (VISTA).
The immersive environment, and in particular the geobody tools, allowed the researchers to realize the scope and scale of individual features within the datasets. The high resolution and group visualization provided researchers with the highest levels of quality control in their work that has never before been possible.
The results from this research enable archaeologists to predict the location and potential characterization of human occupation of this ancient buried landscape. Once identified and located this important international archaeological resource can be protected and preserved during the future development of the North Sea extractive industries and green energy production such as offshore wind farms.
About VISTA, Univ. of Birmingham
The Visual and Spatial Technology Centre (VISTA), at the University of Birmingham (UK), supports academic research and application development for spatial analysis, visualization and imaging using state-of-the-art technology in one of the best equipped archaeological visualization laboratories in Europe.
Amira and Avizo are high-performance 3D software for visualizing, analyzing, and understanding scientific and industrial data coming from all types of sources and modalities.
Images and text are courtesy of University of Birmingham and PGS