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A Shot from the ON-A-Slant Virtual Village Film


With support from the Fort Abraham Lincoln Foundation, the North Dakota State University Archeology Technologies Laboratory (ATL) has reconstructed the On-A-Slant Mandan Village using Virtual Reality technology. The remains of On-A-Slant village are located near Mandan, ND on the grounds of the Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park.

The On-A-Slant Virtual Village was modeled based on scholarly research of the site, the Native population, and the era. The Virtual Village is as historically accurate as the documentation allows. The slice of time presented to viewers is ca. 1776, five years before the village's abandonment in 1781.

The On-A-Slant Virtual Village employs state-of-the-art 3D computer visualizations that immerse viewers in the past, and provide them with a means to "travel through time" and "walk through" the site as it existed then. The resulting 3D steroscopic documentary film premiered at North Dakota's bicentennial celebration of the Lewis and Clark - Corps of Discovery expedition (1804-1806). The event, entitled "Circle of Cultures, Time of Renewal and Exchange," was held in October of 2004. The final version of the On-A-Slant Virtual Village documentary was installed at the Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park museum in the summer of 2005.

Archaeology is the discipline that provides us with a conduit, of sorts, to the past. It is the means by which our society reconnects with its heritage. Archaeologists, however, can only dream of time travel. While time travel is currently impossible in reality, it is possible and plausible in virtual reality. The ATL at NDSU has the necessary tools and expertise to produce virtual 3D computer reconstructions of the past using a combination of archaeological, historical, and ethnographic records.

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