Dead Men’s Eyes is a project that investigates the use of Augmented Reality within Archaeological Practice. The system is built using a smartphone, an Arduino microcontroller and a Unity3D application that brings the sights, sounds and smells of the past directly into the present – into the very place in which they happened. This site contains a number of how-tos, blog and other articles that detail the process and show where I am up to with the development.

The name is inspired by a short story by M.R. James ‘Dead Men’s Eyes’ (or A View From The Hill) in which a man uses a pair of old binoculars to view grisly episodes from ages past.leskernick_landscape_no_masks_clipped


  • Surfing the Hypegeist - This post is written as part of the Call for Papers over at ThenDig, looking at Zeitgeist in archaeological research and how to follow it, keep up with it, or create it. As will be clear from the previous posts on my blog, I am interested in using Mixed and Augmented Reality to aid in [...]
  • Guest Blog on ASOR - I have just submitted a guest blog post on the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) blog for their ongoing special series on Archaeology in the Digital Age. It’s an introduction to Augmented Reality for Archaeology and also includes some sneak peeks of the results of some of my own AR fieldwork on Bodmin Moor. [...]
  • Learning by Doing – Archaeometallurgy - This post will be a little off my normal topics, in that there will no augmented reality and no computers (although I did make some nice 3D models that I’ll link to later). It is about technology, but mostly about prehistoric technology. I have spent the last four days on a prehistoric metallurgy weekend, run [...]
  • Archaeology, GIS and Smell (and Arduinos) - I have had quite few requests for a continuation of my how-to series, for getting GIS data into an augmented reality environment and for creating an embodied GIS. I promise I will get back to the how-tos very soon, but first I wanted to share something else that I have been experimenting with. Most augmented [...]
  • Embodied GIS HowTo: Part 1a – Creating RTIs Using Blender (an aside) - This is a bit of an aside in the HowTo series, but nevertheless it should be a useful little tutorial and as I was given a lot of help during the process it is only right to give something back to the community! So this HowTo shows you how to take the 3D model you [...]
  • Embodied GIS HowTo: Part 1 – Loading Archaeological Landscapes into Unity3D (via Blender) - Recently I have been attempting to move closer to what I have coined embodied GIS (see this paper)- that is the ability to use and create conventional GIS software/data and then view it in the real world, in-situ and explore and move through that data and feedback those experiences. As is clear from the subject [...]
  • New Article in J. of Archaeological Method and Theory - I have just had an article published in the J. of Archaeological Method and Theory – which explains a bit more about my approach to using Augmented Reality within archaeology and how it might aid in a phenomenological approach to the landscape. The article is as a result of a conference I attended last year, [...]
  • Future of Conference Posters? - Last month I entered a poster into the UCL Graduate School Poster Competition and was lucky enough to win first prize. I find conference posters a bit of a strange animal. The poster session always seems to take place over lunchtime or the coffee break and more often than not the person who made the [...]
  • AR and Archaeology: Opportunities, Challenges and the Trench of Disillusionment - I have just come back from giving a guest seminar to the Archaeological Computing Research Group at the University of Southampton and thought I would put up a post with the gist of it. It was really an introduction to Augmented Reality in Archaeology, but was also inspired by the recent article in Wired. In [...]
  • Augmenting a Roman Fort - The following video shows something that I have been working on as a prototype for a larger landscape AR project. As you can see, by using the Qualcomm AR SDK and Unity3D it is possible to augment some quite complex virtual objects and information onto the model Roman fort. I really like this application, as [...]
  1. Hi Stu – thanks for the headsup. I’ve tweeted about your work! I look forward to seeing what you get up to – and am v. jealous that you’ll be working with the folks at CASA!


    • Josh Allen
    • June 30th, 2012 3:03am


    I was given the link to your blog by a friend of mine who came across it, she sent it my way as I have been working with some similar concepts as far as using game engines and archaeological data to bring sites to life. I presented a paper in January at the SHA’s talking about how to use this technology as a research tool as well as its more obvious uses as a “people pleaser”. I have been using Cryengine 3 because of its more advanced capabilities, although you are using Unity this program might be worth checking out, it is free as well. I have had great success with this and other programs when re constructing a POW camp located in Manitoba Canada, although far from the Bronze age I used many of the same concepts, I was not, however, able to have GIS data correspond accurately with the models, which is a big step. All in all I like your work and wish you the best of luck with your dissertation

    Josh Allen

    • stuarteve
    • July 6th, 2012 10:23am

    @Josh Allen
    Dear Josh,

    Thanks for the comment and sorry for taking so long to respond.CryEngine 3 looks great (I used CryEngine 2 to do some experimenting with Verulamium a few years back – https://vimeo.com/dataanarchist/videos – its a beautiful system… but unfortunately no one has made the move to enable an AR view of the engine. That is the main reason I am using Unity – because it has great AR integration.

    In terms of getting the GIS data to overlay properly I have been quite a bit of work on that recently (in Unity at least) and will be putting up a post on it very soon – so watch this space.

    I would love to see some of your stuff – do you have any links to it anywhere?

    • Joe Evans
    • June 14th, 2013 3:32pm

    Hi Stu!

    Wow, so we seem to be doing almost the exact same dissertation work (Integrated active AR in Archaeology, rather than passive) over a world away (my site is in Mexico). Your “Augmented Reality, a New Horizon in Archaeology” article literally hits on all the major points I was shooing for, while using the same software! I guess great minds think alike and we both saw the digital data horizon/layer (I’m calling it the Digital Heritage Horizon or DH^2) as an integrative platform. It’s truly an amazing tool with applications not only for live, active archaeologists, but it segues the content we generate from data collection to public, user aspects almost seamlessly.

    With that being said I’m also looking at using the CryE3 (haha) in a custom Heritage AR app in addition to mixing some kernals I’ve been lucky enough to use. I’m really excited about your solutions to GIS data overlay because I’ve had to use some round about methods to get my data to stick. Anyway I’m glad I found your blog, I’ll stalk it frequently to see what’s happening on your side of the pond and help where I can. Who knows, maybe we could collaborate on something.

    Technoarchaeologists unite.

    • Gary Hall
    • June 28th, 2013 1:24pm

    Hi. A consultant I am using directed me to your video “Augmenting a Roman Fort” because I have just taken on the responsibility for running a Roman Fort in Coventry. The consultant is helping me with a Feasibility Study to develop the site and, in conjunction with their work, I am currently planning to hold a hackathon in September at the site.

    Your work looks exactly the sort of thing I am looking for. Would you be interested in having a chat and maybe getting involved?


  2. Hi Stuart
    I am a researcher at the Interactive Institute Swedish ICT in Gothenburg, Sweden. We are currently developing an augmented reality tourist binocular station that will overlook the Vitlycke rock carvings sites (and the surrounding world heritage area). I am reading your posts and articles with great interest as we are using similar technology (such as Unity) in our early prototypes. The Oculus Rift is also proving very valuable for prototyping different kinds of visualisations.

    Our development blog is currently not public, but I can notify you when we open it up. If you want to know more you can visit https://www.tii.se/projects/bronze-age-binoculars, but currently most of the press links are in Swedish. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask as we aim to be as transparent as possible in our development process.

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