digital archaeology

Old pots, new technology

‘Day of Archaeology 2017’ finds me working on the final stages of a finds project with a difference. Instead of working my way through boxes of pottery sherds, I’m sat in front of my computer, updating and enhancing the Worcestershire on-line ceramic type series. This work builds on the strong tradition of ceramic research in the County, which is one of the few regions in the country to have a comprehensive pottery type series covering all periods. This physical type series is the work of a series of dedicated finds specialists based in the Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service, primarily Derek Hurst and Victoria Bryant. It provides all archaeologists working in the county with a standardised way of identifying and recording pottery.

The on-line type series first went live in 2003 and has been added to piecemeal as and when small amounts of funding became available. However, this year we were lucky enough to secure funding from Historic England as part of its Improving Sector Reference Resources initiative. This has enabled us to not only enhance and add to the information available on the website but also update the software so that the site not only runs more smoothly but is optimized for use on mobile phones and tablets. This has not all been straightforward! A lot of my time has been spent in dialogue with the web designer, identifying things that work well and trying to solve issues and bugs that have cropped up along the way. I have to admit that a lot of the technical stuff has gone over my head and I’m sure that a lot of the detailed pottery information has equally confused the designer, but now we are on the final straight we can see that the time spent sending emails back and forth has been well worth it!

I have mainly been focused on uploading our form series for locally produced medieval wares and more commonly found post-medieval fabrics (the composition of the clay) and forms (the type of vessel). For the forms, this involved selecting and uploading representative illustrations and writing a brief description of each form type. Medieval vessels were also cross-referenced with the MPRG (Medieval Pottery Research Group) type series.

In the case of the post-medieval fabrics, each type sherd has had a clean break photographed. Getting this clean break isn’t as easy as it sounds – it has to be as even as possible to photograph well and in some cases, it felt as if there would be next to no sherd left to photograph as I repeatedly snipped to try and achieve this! However, it has been well worth the effort, with the resulting images being of extremely high resolution, enabling the user to zoom in and out to focus on specific inclusions or fabric details.

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of this project has been the addition of concordance tables for all medieval and post-medieval fabrics. This provides a link to pottery type-series from surrounding counties and is hopefully the first step to creating a truly regional resource.

With the end of this stage of the project in sight, my main task today is to go back through each fabric to make sure that the text is correct, that uploaded illustrations and photographs are displaying correctly and checking that all of the links work smoothly. Any last little niggles are being noted so that we can get everything smoothed out before this new, enhanced version of the site goes live in the last week of August. It’s an exciting time – my colleagues and I are looking forward to seeing all of our hard work come to fruition and hope that it will be a valuable research tool not only for other finds specialists but for the archaeological community in general.

For me personally, it’s the end of an extremely successful project! Not only have I enjoyed seeing our rather ambitious vision coming together but I’ve learnt a lot in the process. Working through the fabric and form data and using some of the knowledge I have gained through 18 years of working on pottery in Worcestershire has been particularly satisfying. However, perhaps even more useful has been to opportunity to revisit older reports and discuss content, ideas or issues with colleagues and fellow specialists from other organisations.

For those who are interested in the project, the old version of the website can be viewed at www.worcestershireceramics.org .  The new, enhanced version will be available to view at the same address from the end of the month.

From Raindogging to Becoming a “Real Boy”: A Day in the Life of a New Lecturer

The crest over the doorway at King’s Manor.

Six years ago for the first Day of Archaeology (which I posted to my own blog for reasons that have become obscured by time) I posted about selling off my worldly possessions to live out of my suitcase. It was a mildly maudlin post, rife with Tom Waits. As predicted, I “raindogged” for 2.5 years afterwards, working, writing on planes, trains, borrowed couches and archaeological projects with no permanent address. I ended up circumnavigating the globe before landing in York, at the ragged ends of travel.

After a series of increasingly convoluted and miscellaneous postdoc/associate lecturer escapades, I found myself suddenly A Lecturer. A Real Lecturer. It’s about as magical and unlikely as the scene in Pinocchio, where the wooden puppet becomes a Real Boy. There’s a lot to unpack there with gender, posthumanism and transfiguration, but let’s leave it for another time.

So, while I’d love to polish my tiara (academics get tiaras, right?) and call it good, I had a lot of work to do on my Day of Archaeology. When I posted on my blog about getting The Job, one of the comments I received was:

“Congratulations! The down side is that we’ll be seeing fewer posts on Digs in Exotic Places, and more on the Joys of Faculty Meetings.”

It is true, I spent the morning in a meeting, but it was an exciting meeting, if there can be such a thing, about grants funding research that I’ve been thrashing about since at least 2009, with avatars and chatbots. Now that I’m A Real Lecturer I can lead on these types of things, instead of glomming onto grants led by others.

Though I’d earmarked the day for research, I found myself having to finish up a bit of admin: the last touches on a short video promoting the Digital Heritage MSc and Archaeological Information Sciences MSc programs here at York, which I’ll be taking over in the Autumn. I’d love to have more students from North America, let me know if you’d like more information.

After I finished uploading the video, I finalized the design of an incredible illustration of a papercraft King’s Manor, created by Nick Ellwood. I really enjoyed collaborating with an artist on this work, which is in turn archaeological and whimsical.

I also spent some of the day finalizing teaching for both undergraduates and postgraduates, including this delightful roster of lectures for the upcoming Analysis & Visualisation course offered to our Masters students:

Perhaps it isn’t quite as exciting as Sunrise in Bangkok or The Recent Ancient Tradition of the Ogoh Ogoh or even spending your days with your head down a toilet, but I’m up for it. I won’t even act jealous when I hear about Katy drawing up a storm at Catal, or updates from Freya’s project in Egypt or any of the other amazing Day of Archaeology posts from the field. Nope.

My Day of Archaeology as HER Officer and freelance glass specialist

Hello everyone!

As is genuinely typical for me, I spent the first part of Friday 28th July 2017 working from home on my day job, which is Historic Environment Record Officer for Kent County Council. Each county maintains a Historic Environment Record (HER), and some National Parks have their own too. They replaced the Sites and Monuments Record (SMR), which was run by what is now Historic England, and are used extensively for both planning and research. We aim to maintain an accurate and up-to-date record of all aspects of the Historic Environment in our county, including historic buildings, below-ground archaeological remains, and designated assets such as listed buildings and scheduled monuments. The data set is a valuable resource for academics and research students (for example to assist with their research on iron age hoard deposits), and for commercial archaeological units and consultancy firms, who often request a ‘search’ of a specific area as part of a planning application or prior to an excavation to be conducted as part of the development process. We are very busy with search requests at the moment, so I spent the morning working on those at the top of the list. Unfortunately this section of the day was not photo-friendly due to a minefield of copyright issues. However, the online version of the Kent Historic Environment Record can be accessed by anyone at Exploring Kent’s Past.

Afterwards, I managed to squeeze in some time doing activities related to my freelance work as a glass specialist. Commercial archaeological units and academic and community projects send me glass from sites they have excavated for specialist assessment. I usually write a detailed report tailored to the client, the type or stage of the project, and whether the report is intended to contribute to an unpublished site report (‘grey literature’) or a publication. Yesterday afternoon I took a delivery of a small glass assemblage from an academic research project and unpacked it, and then returned to the project I am in the middle of, which is an assemblage of post-medieval glass. I recorded (identified, measured and weighed) a few more bottles and fragments from the assemblage in my spreadsheet for the project.

I was also hoping to do a little bit on the conference paper I am preparing based on my recently-completed PhD thesis on Anglo-Saxon vessel glass, but it is the first week of the school summer holidays, so that didn’t happen!

Glass delivery!

Project in progress…

 

Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery

Colleen Betti, DAACS Archaeological Analyst and Graduate Student, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, catalogs buttons and marbles from Andrew Jackson’s The Hermitage. Photograph by Elizabeth Bollwerk

Colleen Betti, DAACS Archaeological Analyst and Graduate Student, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, catalogs buttons and marbles from Andrew Jackson’s The Hermitage. Photograph by Elizabeth Bollwerk

Today we are surrounded by bags of 19th-century marbles, buttons, beads, ceramics and pieces of iron and copper alloy hardware. Our job is to catalog and analyze each one of these artifacts, which were excavated from domestic sites of slavery—the houses and surrounding yards where enslaved people lived and worked—at the Hermitage, Andrew Jackson’s plantation in Nashville, Tennessee. This is a typical day for us in the office, although we aren’t always surrounded by such amazing material culture. We work at the Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery (DAACS). Our database and website, www.daacs.org serve archaeological data from over 80 sites of slavery in the southeastern United States and Caribbean free of charge to researchers and the public. Founded in 2000, and funded by the Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, DAACS is based in the Archaeology Department at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.

The daacs.org homepage

The daacs.org homepage

Why do we do this?

Although it’s fun to study artifacts all day, we do have a larger purpose for our work. DAACS facilitates the comparative archaeological study of regional variation in slavery by providing researchers with standardized data from archaeological sites that were once homes to enslaved Africans and African Americans. A critical goal of our work is making data from archaeological excavations (those conducted in the 1970s all the way up through today) accessible and usable for archaeologists, historians, educators, and the public. Although excavation is essential to archaeological research, thousands of collections sit in museums and archaeological repositories that have not been cataloged or analyzed but have the potential to greatly inform our understanding of the past. By making data that has been cataloged using the same protocols from a variety of archaeological sites available via our website, DAACS is helping scholars advance our historical understanding of early-modern slave societies, by encouraging data sharing and comparative analysis across archaeological sites and geographic regions.

How do we do this?

Our staff consists of our Director, three full-time archaeological analysts and one or two part-time analysts. Although we are small staff, we get a lot done! On any given day we alternate between analyzing excavation information from field records, cataloging artifacts, answering material culture questions from colleagues, digital data management, and analysis for our own research projects.

There are four different ways that archaeological data gets into DAACS:

  1. Archaeological collections come to us at Monticello and we catalog them on-site in the DAACS Lab.
  2. We travel to the collections and field sites (so far we have cataloged collections in Barbados, Dominica, Jamaica, Nevis, Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina).

    Leslie Cooper, DAACS Senior Archaeological Analyst, catalogs coarse earthenware ceramics from Seville Plantation, a large 18th-century sugar estate, at the Jamaica National Heritage Trust in Kingston, Jamaica. Photograph by Jillian Galle.

    Leslie Cooper, DAACS Senior Archaeological Analyst, catalogs coarse earthenware ceramics from Seville Plantation, a large 18th-century sugar estate, at the Jamaica National Heritage Trust in Kingston, Jamaica. Photograph by Jillian Galle.

  3. We conduct our own field work projects on Jamaica and Nevis through the DAACS Caribbean Initiative and enter the data into the DAACS database. All information from these sites are launched on daacs.org within a year of excavation. Learn more about our work in Jamaica and Nevis through DAACS and the International Slavery Museum.

    DAACS staff and students from the University of West Indies, Mona excavated shovel-test-pits at the Papine Slave Village. A massive masonry aqueduct that drove the estate’s sugar mill stands behind the excavators. Photograph by Jerry Rabinowitz.

    DAACS staff and students from the University of West Indies, Mona excavated shovel-test-pits at the Papine Slave Village. A massive masonry aqueduct that drove the estate’s sugar mill stands behind the excavators. Photograph by Jerry Rabinowitz.

  4. Finally, our colleagues who are trained in DAACS protocols and database entry can directly enter their data into DAACS via our web application, daacsrc.org.

Over the last five months we have analyzed material culture from Stratford Hall’s West Yard in Virginia, the Morne Patate Estate, an 18th c. sugar plantation in Dominica, and slave dwellings associated with The Hermitage, Andrew Jackson’s home in Tennessee.

The data is entered using our standardized set of protocols into a PostgreSQL database thorough a web application built in Ruby-on-Rails software (www.daacsrc.org).   In addition to analyzing artifacts, and the archaeological contexts from which they came, DAACS staff digitize site maps, photograph artifacts, digitize existing slides of fieldwork, produce Harris matrices, and develop detailed site chronologies and discursive background content for each site. All of this content accompanies the artifact data when an archaeological site is launched on the DAACS website.

Interested in learning more? Stop by our site at daacs.org and take a look around. You can also follow us on Facebook or Twitter (@DAACSORG).

Sustaining the practice of archaeology in Ontario, Canada

This is our 3rd year participating in Day of Archaeology, and we are excited, once again, to be joining our colleagues in this virtual space to share with you some of the diverse experiences archaeologists have over the course of a regular day.

This year, we want to focus on the sorts of technology we have available here at Sustainable Archaeology: Western University. Most of the equipment in our new facility is for non-destructive image capture and analysis: 3D scanners, 3D printer, digital x-ray, microCT scanner, etc. We are fortunate, as archaeologists, to have a single location with dedicated access to equipment such as this! On any given day, several pieces of equipment will be in use by different researchers. Today, a couple of a staff members – Hillary and Heather – have been working on chipping away the outer “envelope” of a 3D printed cuneiform tablet to reveal the inner tablet for the first time in over 4,000 years! But to explain how we got to this point, let’s start from the beginning.

Cuneiiform tablet_small

Sustainable Archaeology was built adjacent to the Museum of Ontario Archaeology in London, Ontario, Canada. The Museum houses a variety of collections, predominantly from Ontario but there are some international antiquities that were acquired by the mid-20th century curator of the Museum, including a small collection of cuneiform tablets. One of those tablets was suspected to be an Old Babylonian “envelope” tablet – a cuneiform tablet nested inside of a cuneiform tablet. But how to tell without breaking the tablet open? Sustainable Archaeology had a solution – we scanned the tablet in the microCT scanner. Sure enough, there was evidence that another tablet was enfolded within the outer layer of clay – and it appeared to have cuneiform writing on it as well!

cuneiform envelope 009_mCT

With microCT imaging software, VG Studio, Hillary painstakingly ‘excavated’, or peeled-off, the outer layer of clay. This was a tricky process, because CT images differentiate material based on the density of voxels in a 3D dimensional space – metal, for instance, is much more dense and thus appears much ‘whiter’ than wood. But the clay ‘envelope’ was the same density as the enclosed clay tablet – so selecting which voxels to digitally peel-away from the region of interest was a labour intensive process. Hillary was able to do this because there was a slight void between the clay surfaces. This lead us to an idea – if we 3D printed the tablet, would the void still be intact? In which case, wouldn’t we be able to break the outer tablet off of the inner tablet?

So for our second experiment, we did just that. We digitally cut the cuneiform tablet in half, so we could see the inside structure(s), and we we printed off that cuneiform half on the 3D printer. Sure enough, the void was there – but it was very thin. In order to create more void space – an area that would be filled with printer powder but no binder would be laid down – we scaled up the size of the tablet to double its original size. Then we printed it off and got to work chipping off the external ‘envelope’ – to reveal a clear, sharp cuneiform surface on the embedded tablet. Success!

tablet_excavating

tablet_excavated

 

We are constantly envisioning ways that the equipment we have here at SA can complement one another. Colin is next door in the Collaboration Room with the Virtual Reality equipment. He is working on an application that allows us to digitally pick up, move, throw and stack digital assets that we’ve scanned on our 3D scanners (such as pots!) within a virtual reality space. This way, as you are immersed within a virtual reconstruction of a Lawson site longhouse, such as that created by Western PhD candidate Michael Carter, while wearing a set of 3D goggles such as Oculus Rift of HTC Vive, you will also be able to digitally engage with objects within that virtual space.

For more information on what we do at Sustainable Archaeology, check out our website at www.sustainablearchaeology.org. You can also follow us on Instagram @sustarchaeology or Twitter @SustArchaeology.

A day saving the temples of Nepal with Digital Archaeology

 

Kathesimbhu

Kathesimbhu Stupa in Kathmandu in 3D

After the 2015 earthquake in Nepal hundreds of Nepalese temples were either destroyed or damaged. These temples ranged from ancient Newari pagoda buildings to Buddhist stupas and Hindu temples. Perhaps more terrifying than the damage the earthquake caused was the news that no one had made accurate documentation on the vast majority of these buildings.

The Digital Archaeology Foundation was set up post-earthquake as the first to digitally render Nepal’s remaining cultural heritage in high resolution 3D. It was and still is a race against time in a country where everything is postponed until tomorrow.

Vatalasa Temple Before

Vatalasa Temple Before

Nepal is a landlocked country that suffers from poverty, vast electricity blackouts, terrible infrastructure and immense corruption. Not the best of situations when it comes to preserving cultural heritage.

Vatalasa Temple after the earthquake in Bhaktapur, Nepal

Vatalasa Temple after the earthquake in Bhaktapur, Nepal

Our team is experienced in dealing with these issues though. Some of these things may seem minor or irrelevant. But they are crippling when it comes to digital preservation. Try uploading a 500mb 3D render of small shrine over a 500kb internet connect which will only be active for 4 hours before a powercut kills it.

The majority of Nepal’s cultural heritage is located in the Kathmandu Valley. This is where the Malla kings had a rivalry to create the most beautiful of buildings to out do each other. There are other buildings located around Nepal which are lesser known. And these equally make our priority list.

Though on a map it may seem a site is only 100km away, but in Nepal this might mean a 12 hour journey. Roads are frequently washed away in landslides, damaged or simply clogged with traffic. One of our successful methods in dealing with far off locations is to incorporate them into David’s Nepal Guidebook research. If David is going to a distant location he’ll double up his workload to both do his own travel guide research and to capture the main temples in a location for the Foundation.

Siddhi Laxmi Temple in Bhaktapur

As part of our daily work we’ve added sub projects like captureing and rendering this temple (Siddhi Laxmi Temple in Bhaktapur) which is due for complete demolition this year due to damage in the 2015 earthquake – by digitally preserving it we will be able to monitor and compare the rebuilt temple to the original which is vital in Nepal due to funding issues, fragmented restoration work and a lack of documentation

Physical field research on a location is vital in Nepal as many buildings are within close proximity of newer buildings. They are also part of a living heritage and are used on a daily basis by local people for prayers, blessings and rituals. Simply showing up is not enough!

Weather too plays a part in the himalayan nation which has five seasons two of which are dominated by tourists coming into the very sites people are both trying to pray in and we are trying to document and preserve. The comes the monsoon season with torrential downpours and a winter season of cold and polluted skies.

We generally spend a day at location depending on the amount of data we need to acquire. In the past year we’ve been working on a Phase process. Phase One is where we try to capture and preserve as many buildings as we can. Hundreds of aftershocks have rattled Nepal over the past year. Collecting as much data as possible became an urgent priority.

Changu Narayan Temple is one of Nepal's most important temples

Changu Narayan Temple is one of Nepal’s most important temples

Phase Two involved secondary more in depth scans which include going under temple arches and inside the shrines. Some have already been complete when the opportunity arose. The rest will be done during our second phase.

Data captures and a journey home means we rarely get to process the imagery on the same day. Depending on work schedules, electricity and internet connectivity it can take up to two weeks to process a three-storey temple in Nepal. This does not include preserving the data. We backup all our data collection remotely on several different servers across the globe. Nepal simply does not have the infrastructure to securely store its own data.

Field visits to ascertain the damage and how to go about digitally preserving a temple

Field visits to ascertain the damage and how to go about digitally preserving a temple

Our own Digital Archive of Nepal is the ultimate goal in displaying our preservation work. In 2016 we feel that the vast majority of our work will need to be done off site and out of country. In the latter part of 2015 we ceased in country process of all but a few temples to accelerate phase one. This was an overwhelming success.

We’ve battled in recruiting volunteers who are willing to do more than just add “digital archaeologist” to their resumes, use a 3D camera, or learn what software to use and the techniques involved. Today we’ve streamlined our team of volunteers to those that can dedicate themselves to actually accomplishing a specific task.

We don't just focus on Kathmandu based temples we've covered the length and breath of Nepal to capture as many as we can

We don’t just focus on Kathmandu based temples we’ve covered the length and breath of Nepal to capture as many as we can

Perhaps our most successful accomplishment is not what we preserve but in being the first to do it. Since we began our work it’s open up the minds of others in similar fields who disregarded digital archaeology. Moreover it’s highlighted the problems of archaeology in Nepal which remains incredibly closed off and hierarchical.

Our daily work in Nepal means relatively unknown and undocumented temple like this Balkumari temple are digitally preserved forever

Our daily work in Nepal means relatively unknown and undocumented temple like this Balkumari temple are digitally preserved forever

Our day to day work is both the accomplishment of not only digitally preserving a monument or artifact but also opening Nepal’s doors and minds within to the importance of cultural preservation and archaeology but also digital preservation.

Archaeogaming and Ethics in Destiny

I spent this year’s Day of Archaeology laid up in bed, not because of any injury received in the field, but because I managed (somehow) to tear a leg muscle in my sleep. I mention this to highlight a contrast. A year ago, had I received this injury, an injury that has put me on pain meds, made me unable to drive, and left me temporarily with a cane, I would have also ended up having to go on unemployment. You can’t walk in the woods on opiates, you can’t drive a car when you can’t feel your foot, and carrying a cane while handling a compass, clipboard and survey paperwork is near impossible. In most areas of archaeology, CRM included, if you receive a debilitating injury, you can’t work.

Thankfully, this year, my research is digital and theoretical, which means that apart from being a little loopy, I was actually able to keep working through the last few days of pain and bedrest. I propped my leg up on a pillow, popped my meds, arranged everything I needed within arm’s reach, and did some archaeogaming.

My current project, while preparing for a PhD to start at the University of York in January, is looking at how the Cryptarch, or Crypto-archaeologist, functions within the universe of Bungie’s 2014 console game, Destiny. This case study will eventually be a chapter in my dissertation, which is focused on representations of archaeology, archaeologists and antiquities trafficking in videogames.

The original Cryptarch, who collects items provided by player characters, identifies them for money, and resells the objects.

The original Cryptarch, who collects items provided by player characters, identifies them for money, and resells the objects.

Within Destiny, the Cryptarch is a non-player character presented as an accredited and official expert on antiquities. He (as of the last expansion there are now two examples of this characterization, but both are male) is tied into the game’s monetary and item progression system, one of its core mechanics. The Cryptarch’s role is to buy and resell artifacts that lack provenance. It is functionally impossible to progress in the game without taking part in this system, which forces interaction with the Cryptarch to accrue funds and items necessary for progressively leveling play.

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The new, second Cryptarch, who performs the same function as the original, but in a more problematic context of being located on a culturally “other” world.

In addition to presenting an unavoidable mechanic that emphasizes unethical behaviors, Destiny puts the player in the position of behaving unethically themselves, functioning as a looter of antiquities, collecting items from buried contexts and the dead to bring them back to the Cryptarch, who provides valuations and the previously mentioned merchant service

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The glowing green ball is an “engram”, an item of unknown type that is identified by the Cryptarch. Engrams vary in rarity and value.

But why should we care? Why do this research at all? Why not just let a videogame be a videogame?

Within its first week of sale, Bungie, and its distributor, Activision-Blizzard, sold more than $500 million worth of copies. Internal numbers, published by the companies, indicate that over 13 million people have played Destiny since launch. That’s a lot of interaction with a system that misrepresents the role of archaeologists, misinforms on the rights of individuals to own objects of cultural patrimony, and encourages participation in illicit and illegal trafficking of artifacts. As archaeologists and heritage management professionals, that should concern us.

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A recently released armor item, showing a clear Egyptian aesthetic. This item was obtained via an engram identification by the Cryptarch.

I don’t yet have the answer to how to fix this problem. I don’t know what resources we have, as a discipline, that can compete with the amount of money within the game industry. I’m not even entirely sure it’s a fight that we can win, which is disheartening. I will, however, be spending the next three years trying to figure out why this is the depiction of our field that predominates in interactive media, what it says about the perceptions of our work, and what influence it’s having on unethical behaviors involving artifacts in the “real” world.

Hopefully I won’t have to do it on a bum leg.

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My avatar, who isn’t currently suffering my same mobility issues.


Computer (arm)chair archaeology

Would you be surprised to learn there are archaeologists who don’t step foot in the field to do their work? *raises hand* I’m one of those archaeologists. Modern technology has added a positive side to what it means to be an armchair archaeologist and I, for one, am thankful.

While my fellow grad students are packing up their trowels, screens and Total Stations, I’m double-checking my Internet connection, booting up Hootsuite and checking my “public archaeology” Google Alert. You see, nearly all of my archaeological work and research is based in the Web. Instead of working in the field and making my own archaeological discoveries, I want to communicate the amazing work other archaeologists do to non-archaeologists.

I will admit, I get jealous of my friends who do amazing things like spend their summers working with Alaska Natives to record sites impacted by climate change. However, I rest easy at night knowing that when they return, I can help folks effectively share with the world the neato frito stuff they’ve done.

A day in my life as an archaeologist includes a variety of projects and tasks. In between looking at hilarious Buzzfeed listsicles I read up on useful ways we can use social media to communicate with people. I also try to share interesting archaeological news on the Archaeology Roadshow Facebook page or help manage the Society for American Archaeology’s Public Archaeology Interest Group Facebook group.

I also spend a lot of time looking at archaeology websites and trying to systematically study and evaluate them. My goal is to develop a manageable way archaeologists can assess their own websites to make sure they the best they can be. With how easy it is for anyone to make a website or a social media account it is critical to learn how to use those tools well. That’s what I want to help with. *fist pump*

My work may not seem as exciting as those fighting off insects in South America or folks who make an intense backcountry hike to reach their sites. But hey, I may get carpal tunnel!

If you want to learn more about public archaeology, follow the #pubarch hashtag on Twitter. There are also public archaeology groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. I’d also love to talk with you about public archaeology, digital archaeology, communication strategy, and hilarious gifs – let’s chat on Twitter!