The project explores early Medieval church architecture through a re-examination and virtual reconstruction of the archaeological remains of Hemse stave church. The project is a collaboration with the Swedish History museum and will result in an interactive element in the new exhibition of the Viking age. The digital reconstruction functions as a virtual diorama to contextualize the diffused and decontextualized remains and contemporaneous religious artefacts. The aim is also methodological; to explore the uses of the digital artefact in the research process. The reconstruction is less of a static representation of our knowledge than a historical laboratory through which archive material can be activated and hypotheses can be tested.
How can we, through the digital artefact, elicit the sensuous aspects of a virtual place, and at the same time communicate the rigour of research and display the ambiguities of the reconstruction? How can we in an intelligible way map and reference the archive materials without interfering with the presence effect of the diorama? What are the challenges to present an interactive virtual reality file as a self-standing research output? How can we develop the digital artefact to better engage both researchers and the public in a dialogue on the premises of cultural heritage research?