The 1607 fort at Jamestown, Virginia
The 1607 fort at Jamestown, Virginia

Running Reality for Archaeologists

Running Reality can be used by archaeologists to see context around a particular, time, event, city, person's life, etc. While it may not have the detail of a narrative history, as a digital visual history it can provide context in a new way.

Why this project might be of interest

Running Reality tries to show the world as it was on any given date in history and at any point on the world. This lets you quickly place sites in context. As more people contribute to our history model, we'll have more and more detail about nation borders, governments, battles, people, migrations, populations, roads and shipping lanes, and buildings.

It also acknowledges that the data that makes up the history model has varying levels of fidelity. This includes the spectrum from generally accepted facts, with robust citations, down to speculative alternate timelines. There's a main "baseline" timeline known as "Reality" which should represent solid history, but you can also explore alternate theories of events, nation borders, cultures, etc using branches. For instance, various dates for Native American settlement of North America.

How we're trying to provide for archaeologists

Take our quick researcher survey
Potential Use How to Use It
Dissemination Our main strength! We would love the opportunity to show the results of your research. Running Reality is a place where digital history data can find a home and be integrated into a larger context. If you would be willing to share geo-tagged data, we would include it and provide a citation.
Visualization Depending on your particular kind of research, if you have geo-tagged data, you may be able to visualize your data in Running Reality, but we are still building out our visualization tools. And, innovative data sets may require innovative visualizations beyond just the standard rendering engine we employ.
Research Since our job is to cover all of history, our depth on any one topic is not going to help a professional or graduate-level historian with your research. We can provide some context to a time and place.

We're starting to identify and load archaeological sites into Running Reality. These are an interesting thing to load into the model -- the site is ancient, but the dig is recent. So we're trying to enter digs in the present day that link back to one or more prior dates. I.e. Troy VI is in the present day but contains a quick link back to the dates when the Troy VI layer was deposited and Troy was a living city.

How your help can be valuable

Running Reality is both a software challenge and a historical research challenge. We need your assistance to help our team ensure that the latest developments in archaeological research can be accessible to our audience. Contributing factoids to the history model will be very valuable to the project and will provide citation links back to your primary sources and research material. Running Reality's timeline branching is meant to facilitate exploration and discussion of new and emerging research.