This paper examines computer graphic simulations of archaeological environments and materials, and explores their formal and informal uses as a means to model archaeological data and archaeological thinking. The paper's main contribution is its focus on the perspective of the model-maker rather than upon the consumer, through an understanding of models both as “constructions of past lifeways” and as “‘thinking spaces.” These concepts are explored through two case studies. The first employs models as modes for re-engaging with archaeological material, where the perception of modeled past environments is taken analogically to inform an understanding of the past as imagined. Questions such as the relationship between digital model experience and a former, unattainable past reality are introduced, alongside the potentials and dangers of a model that may become perceptually indistinguishable from reality. In the second case study, models provide new forms of space within which to build interpretations: they are active vessels for interpretation and debate in the present. The case study considers the relationship between presence and the development of interpretation, and considers the agency of digital objects and the possibilities of virtual collaboration. Model building is explored biographically and the paper concludes by placing archaeological graphical models in the broader context of visualization and as tools for interpretation rather than static outputs or modes of dissemination.

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