Reconstructions of ancient space and life most clearly shape our imagination about different times and cultures. They are also most clearly shaped by our imagination. It is often that these reconstructions shape the narrative profoundly, our way of seeing the world. But any reconstruction is always incomplete, always open to revision. For they are based on the difficult task of interpreting incomplete data. And decisions have to be made in any reconstruction. For a reconstruction is a coherent whole, and therefore has to decide between many possible interpretations. Many different reconstructions are often possible for any given data. That does not mean that anything goes. Some reconstructions are better and more honest than others. Careful consideration of the evidence is required. Just with a criminal case, the strength of a reconstruction depends both on the evidence and on the point to be proven, so an archaeological reconstruction depends on the quality of the evidence and the purpose of the narrative. Nothing has allowed us to reconstruct ancient space as much as modern computer programs. Yes, in the past we had painters, we had authors, we movie-makers. But graphics allow us to recreate specific space so much more easily.
I’ve been playing with reconstructing a particular space from Ancient Judah. For now, I’ll just give you a rendering of an imcomplete 3-D model. There’s still a lot of work to be done, and I’m just using some free demo software. But it shows the possibilities.