Contract Archaeologists go back to school

Greetings and Happy Day of Archaeology!

Since writing about my work as a contract archaeologist last year I have gone back to school. So, while I still work as a maritime archaeologist, I am also researching methodologies that will effectively communicate our work and results with the public, with a focus on digital technologies. Luckily, I have fantastic classmates who also study with me!

Group photo of the GRASCA gang: from left to right Jonathan Lindström, Ivonne Dutra Leivas, Ulrika Söderström, Clara Alfsdotter, Vivian Smits, Delia Ní Chíobhaín Enquist, Charina Knutson and Fredrik Gunnarsson.

Group photo of the GRASCA gang: from left to right Jonathan Lindström, Ivonne Dutra Leivas, Ulrika Söderström, Clara Alfsdotter, Vivian Smits, Delia Ní Chíobhaín Enqvist (that’s me!), Charina Knutson and Fredrik Gunnarsson.

The GRaduate School in Contract Archaeology (GRASCA) is based at Linnaeus University, Kalmar, Sweden. The graduate school is funded partly by the Knowledge Foundation and four Swedish institutions involved with contract archaeology: Kalmar county museum, The regional museum of Jämtland Jamtli in Östersund, Studio Västsvensk Conservation lab in Gothenburg and Bohusläns museum, Uddevalla, where I work as a maritime archaeologist in the contract archaeology department. My post from last year’s Day of Archaeology explains a bit more on the work we do if you’d like to read more.

GRASCA will run until 2020 and so far involves eight graduate students, all of who are involved with contract archaeology and conservation though their work. A particular focus of GRASCA is researching the various ways that archaeology can be of relevance and benefit to society. Part of my project will focus on the digital recording of underwater cultural heritage. When we work in the field the documentation that we do is primarily for the purpose of archiving and to aid in management decisions. When we present out work to the public, we are using data created for a purpose other than dissemination. I’m interested in how we can effectively work in the field and record with visualisation for the people as a goal. Not everyone can scuba dive or reach archaeological sites underwater, yet all of us should have equal access to underwater cultural heritage – that’s why I am really excited to do this work.

Since January of this year we have been busy with not only our research but also a course in advanced theory and method. A group of us also participated in the 1st INNOVARCH (Innovating Training Aims for Public Archaeology) intensive course in Barcelona along with other students from the Universities of Warsaw, Crete and The Autonomous University of Barcelona. The overall aim of INNOVARCH is the development of evaluable educational methods that allow to strengthen the relationship between higher education and social, cultural and educational organizations and companies working in the framework of public archaeology.

Visiting the Living Lab project of the Center for Computer Vision (UAB) at the Miquel Batllori/Vulpalleras Library, Barcelona.

Visiting the Living Lab project of the Center for Computer Vision (UAB) at the Miquel Batllori/Vulpalleras Library, Barcelona.

On this day of archaeology I am putting the finishing touches on a position paper due for Monday. At the end of August my GRASCA colleague Fredrik and I will participate in a course held by The Nordic Graduate School in Archaeology, ‘Dialogues with the Past’ (DIALPAST). [The heavy use of acronyms in academia has not gone unnoticed] The course we will participate in deals with theorising digital archaeology and will be held in Athens – yay for even MORE archaeology!

The work day ain’t over so I’ll get back to the books and wish you all a Happy Friday!