Mission statement

The 4D lab aims to:

  • Promote the use of 3D technologies in the documentation, analysis and dissemination of academic research dealing with the material past.
  • Assist in the development of methods that use 3D technologies in the process of research, rather than focusing on an end product.
  • Achieve high academic standards for the publication of 3D visualizations.
  • Underline the fact that academic researchers have a responsibility to society to supply visually accurate and academically robust models of the past.

Why is it called '4'D?

‘4D’ quite literally refers to the 4th dimension: the temporal concept of ‘the past’, as a place in time that does not exist anymore, where the objects we now study once existed. It moreover refers to the life cycle of objects, or their biography. A building may have many use phases, and corresponding physical modifications. In a similar way, an object runs through stages of practical use and cultural perception from manufacture to discard. All objects in this sense are temporal manifestations of culture, and continually transforming physical shape, location, meaning and purpose. This is the fourth dimension of material culture that we attempt to grasp, with the aid of 3D techniques.

What is the history behind the 4D Lab?

The 4D Research Lab was founded by dr. Patricia Lulof in 2012, eight years after her first 3D reconstruction of the Late Archaic temple of Satricum. With more than 30 years of experience in reconstructing ancient sites and buildings, dr. Lulof saw 3D modelling could be a powerful research tool that could be used not only within archaeology, but also by other disciplines in the Humanities which explore the physical, temporal, and spatial dimensions of the built environment.

Old-school VR. The temple of Satricum visualized in the CAVE in the early 21st century in Amsterdam (based on the mediocre quality of the picture one could easily be mistaken to date it to the early '90s). The CAVE was discontinued many years ago, but got ultimately replaced by virtual reality goggles, and augmented reality apps, much more mobile and accessible than CAVE