Charles Mount

Wrapping Up the Day of Archaeology 2013

The Day of Archaeology team pays tribute to all of our contributors for 2013. We’ve seen some wonderful posts and some great responses on social media and via the comments form.

The day in numbers

  1. Registered users: 1,067
  2. Number of posts: 329 published (we have 13 in draft if the authors would like to finish them?). In 2012 we had 343 and in 2011 we had 429. So in total: 1,122 are published.
  3. Number of images: 3,291 have been submitted, in 2013 1,148 images were uploaded to the site.
  4. There were over 5,500 tweets sent using the hashtag of #dayofarch
  5. Facebook: reach grew by 263.6% on the previous week. (It will no doubt follow the long tail model until next year.) Average reach for posted links was 37 and for status updates 52.
    A statistical breakdown from facebook for demographics

    A statistical breakdown from Facebook for demographics

    Use of gender-specific pronouns within the text of day of archaeology posts – by Ben Marwick

  6. Our fan base by country is weighted towards the UK, USA and Spain.
  7. People from 85 countries visited the site, with the majority from the UK, USA, Canada and Spain.
  8. The most viewed posts on the ‘Day’ were by Charles Mount (326 views) and by Amanda Clarke (233 views)

Making the day better?

There are some issues , that  we need to resolve as a collective and as a contributing mass to make this project a success on a grander scale:

  1. How do we engage (this word has been debated at length in the last two years, for example at the CASPAR events at UCL) with a wider public audience and break the silo?
  2. How do we bring in funding to pay for publicity materials such as posters, stickers and mail shots? At the moment, the only costs are for running the server (covered under PAS running costs) and registering the domain name.
  3. Do we need to recruit new team members to make this project easier to run?
  4. How do we get established, big name academics and archaeologists to participate? We haven’t managed to garner contributions from people of the standing of Hodder or Renfrew, and we don’t seem to have had anything from the big name TV archaeologists even though we’ve badgered them on social media, for instance. Why have they not joined in? What is the barrier stopping these people from participating?
  5. How do we get archaeologists from developing and even many developed countries to participate? We lack a volume of entries from say sub-Saharan Africa or Japan or China or South America. The map below shows where people have come from to view the site (blue shades getting heavier means the site was viewed in greater quantities there).
    Location   Google Analytics
  6. How do we retain people annually? Contributions have gone down from the first year of the project even though we now have over 1000 individuals registered. Why is this?
  7. How do we get people with an interest, but no professional or amateur involvement in ‘archaeology’ as a discipline but maybe as a passion to contribute?
  8. How do we reach out to media channels and get our project into their output?
  9. How do we get institutional buy-in on the scale made by Museum of London or RCHAMS?
  10. Can we make this a reproducible model for other disciplines? We built on the Day of Digital Humanities for instance.
  11. What do we need to do better? Did you hear about the project at the last minute, or did you have problems registering or contributing your post? If you don’t tell us, we can’t improve.

Research potential

Some academic work has already been done on these data that have been generated via the project website. Since the 26th, Ben Marwick of the University of Washington has done some in-depth modelling using the R programming language and previously, Shawn Graham from CarletonUniversity did some topic modelling and has blogged extensively about what he did with the website content. The content added here, provides a wonderful career insight for aspiring archaeologists world-wide and can only get more useful year-on-year.

Visualisation of author groups screenshot from work by Ben Marwick.

Visualisation of author groups screenshot from work by Ben Marwick.

Now, we as a collective have to write up three years of the project as an academic article and the raw content of these posts will be posted as CSV to github shortly.

See you next year?

The Day of Archaeology team 2013: Andrew, Daniel, Jaime, Lorna, Matt, Monty and Tom.

ADS Peatland Excavations – some highlights from the season on the Final Day…..

The 2011 Day of Archaeology marked the final day on site for the ADS Peatland Team after a six week season.
Despite a late night last night the full compliment of 18 were out at Killaderry Bog, Co Galway at 8am this morning to carry out the final sampling, recording and tracing of sites. Led by myself, Jane Whitaker, Peatlands Project Manager with support from a second site director Nicola Rohan and a fantastic team of experienced archaeologisst we excavated 20 trackways ranging in date from the Bronze Age to the Medieval Period in three Bord na Mona Bogs in Co Galway.
Gowla Bog was first on the list and here our excavations were located within a small cluster of brushwood trackways, hurdles and platforms. A couple of different hurdle constructions were noted in very close proximity and as levels in the drained industrial bogs can be deceiving we will be relying on dating to assist us in untangling this particular spaghetti junction.

Some dates were already available to us following our fieldwalking survey a couple of years ago which is always a bonus when heading out on site.

Meanwhile, across the road in Killaderry Bog our team had been joined by 10 Field School students from the University of Florida and Prof Florin Curta. While bemused by the joys of a typical Irish ‘summer’ the students got stuck in and were let loose on the excavation of a plank, gravel and stone trackway dating to AD660-770.

This site is one of several that traverse the narrow neck of the bog. In this particular case the site runs alongside and in some places crosses over a substantial Bronze Age plank and roundwood trackway.
As noted above, todays work involved the final tracing and linking of the excavated sites. Re-cutting of the drains to facilitate the peat harvesting process and indeed the harvesting itself revealed additional sightings along trackways identified during our initial fieldwalking survey works. These were all cleaned, recorded and a GPS reading taken while other team members were furiously lifting, bagging and logging the final samples. Bord na Mona Project Archaeologist Charles Mount came out for a final visit.
All too soon it was time to count tools, load the jeeps with samples, bid farewell to the team and the ever patient staff in Bord na Mona and hit the road for the long dive home.
While we are all looking forward to scraping the last of the peat out of our fingernails, after thirteen seasons, 250 excavations and thousands of miles of Bord na Mona bogs walked we’re still looking forward to the next season already!
Next task is to write up the preliminary reports, select samples for dating and patiently await the results from our paleo collegues from Reading University……..