Case Studies

Case Studies 1 and 2
The Avebury World Heritage Site, UK

Partners: UOS, BU and NT
Project Themes: Ethical Design for Access and Engagement; Creation and Authoring; Transmedia, Tourism, and Social Games; Narrative and Play; Immersion and Presence

The Avebury element of the Stonehenge & Avebury World Heritage Site covers 26km2 of landscape centred upon the Avebury stone circles in Wiltshire in the UK and attracts over 250 thousand visitors annually. This landscape was of immense significance for prehistoric people who began constructing monumental structures of earth, stone, and timber from the advent of the Neolithic period in the UK (c.4000BC). Remarkably, they continued to raise monuments for a further 1,800 years, creating a dense cluster of unique prehistoric structures and a rich landscape in time depth and history. As a result, while the landscape retains a powerful sense of its past, the richness and detail have been obscured by time. 

On the other hand, the Avebury Stone Circle is one of the pre-eminent megalithic monuments of the European Neolithic. Its 420m diameter earthwork encloses the World’s largest stone circle, which in turn encloses two smaller yet still colossal megalithic circles of c.100m diameter. Whereas Case Study 1 will deploy to the surrounding Avebury landscape, Case Study 2 will focus on the Avebury circle itself.

Case Study 1

In case study 1, led by the University of Southampton and in collaboration with the UK’s National Trust, we will use locative technologies to create an enhanced narrative and ludic landscape. In effect, to allow this remarkable place to tell its own fascinating story. We will draw upon the principles of environmental storytelling to create visualisations and sonifications that evoke and foreground elements of deep history; encounters that will indirectly affect a response in visitors. Given the scarcity of references in the landscape we will employ other visitors as an active resource within the experience, showing them as conspirators, ancestral ghosts, premonitions of things to come, and using collective presence to unlock specific events, time periods, and areas. The case study will contribute to Theme 1: Ethical Design for Access and Engagement by exploring the design space of affective narrative landscapes; Theme 3: Transmedia, Tourism and Social Visiting by exploring how other visitors can become resources within the experience; and Theme 5: Presence and Immersion through the development of sonification techniques to emphasise and heighten elements of the landscape and balance the attention of visitors between real and virtual/fictive elements. 

Silbury Hill, UK

Case Study 2

In case study 2, led by Bournemouth University and in collaboration with the UK’s National Trust, a collection of short locative interactive experiences will be built exploring the stories of the circle. Researchers will develop a set of authoring technologies exploring a range of different interface paradigms and state-of-the-art designs. Following this, a team of interactive digital media writers will be commissioned to create story-centric locative games, supported by commissioned digital artists, using the authoring technologies. The outcome will be a heterogeneous set of rich interactive experiences unlocking the narrative potential of the circle. This case study will contribute to Theme 1: Ethical Design for Access and Engagement by making the stories of the circle themselves accessible, but also in making the creation of locative story-centric games accessible through authoring tools. It also makes a primary contribution to Theme 2: Creation and Authoring by using the development of the case study to explore and study authorship and authoring tools across a range of creators and technologies. Finally, the case study also contributes to Theme 6: Narrative and Play through the explorations of rich media, augmented reality, and locative play.