June 10, 2006 Chris Jones, "Imaging the Acropolis at Quirigua", talk
farm in Kimberton, PA (Members and guests)
Our June meeting and luncheon, at the residence of Chris and Leslie
Jones, was thoroughly enjoyed by all who were able to attend. Thanks
again to Chris and Leslie for their gracious hospitality and delicious
soup! In his talk, Dr. Jones described the use of AUTOCADD 2000
in preparing his report on the two year University of Pennsylvania
excavation of the Quirigua Acropolis. The later stages of this
Acropolis, and most of the well known monuments in the Plaza, were
erected by K'ak' Tiliw Chan Yoaat, following his glorious capture and
decapitation of Copan lord Waxaklajuun Ub'aah K'awiil, otherwise known
as Eighteen Rabbit, in 738 CE. Following this event, Quirigua was able
to dominate the extremely important Motagua River trade route.
The river actually came directly up to the plaza, and the intriguing
giant figures carved into the K'inich Ajaw Wall gazed down upon
The Quirigua Report currently being prepared by Dr. Jones contains some early hand inked renderings of the excavation sections. These drawings have been scanned by Dr. Jones into his computer, to allow for standard lettering, and to integrate them into his more recent CADD work. The use of AUTOCADD 2000 facilitates graphic depictions of three dimensional spaces. Outlines and various levels of different structures can be entered once into a program and then be easily replicated, integrated and altered. Walls can be projected up from two dimensional planes; three dimensional views can be rotated and viewed from differing directions. One can even look through the roof of a building and view the rooms and terraces beneath it. The addition of color and shading has been particularly helpful in rendering archaeological site plans. Dr. Jones was able to color code the different temporal levels of construction of the acropolis, allowing the viewer to readily distinguish changes and additions to buildings. An example of this was the depiction of the plan of an early ball court and a palace built of rhyolite, which were later covered by the sandstone K'inich Ajaw Wall and the Acropolis Structure 3.
Even more exciting is the dynamic nature of an AUTOCAAD 2000 presentation. The presenter can literally simulate the stages of construction of a monument in the presence of a viewer. He or she can change colors and lines, or add or subtract architectural elements instantly. Structures can be rotated, and the vantage point of the viewer can orbit the structure and zoom in or out. Dr. Jones plans to include a CD of his AUTOCADD 2000 generated illustrations with his final report, and members of the group offered suggestions on how to best translate the CADD renderings into a more user accessible format.
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