satellite imagery

ArchaeoLandscapes Europe

Increasing Public Appreciation, Understanding and Conservation of the Landscape and the Archaeological Heritage of Europe

Archaeology can be so fascinating – digs in nice and exotic places, meeting new people and experiencing new cultures, teaching students and learning from students, telling stories about the past to the public.

But I am sitting in my office in Frankfurt/Main (Germany) today and trying to cope with our new website. The old one was hacked a while ago to be used for DoS attacks on another server so we had to take it offline. We used that opportunity to refresh the old page so now I am working on tinkering the new site a bit, adding content here and there, trying to find mistakes and replacing some placeholder images with pictures from the project before the site will go live again as soon as the provider has managed the domain transfer.

Sounds all rather boring but in the end it’s exactly part of the things I like so much in archaeology: teaching and telling stories! And the background of the webpage of course is the project ArchaeoLandscapes Europe (ArcLand), funded by the EU culture programme for 5 years (sept 2010 – sept 2015) to foster all kinds of remote sensing and surveying techniques, to spread the knowledge all over Europe within the archaeological community and of course also to the broader public. It’s about telling the public that archaeology is more than a dig in a temple in the jungle or an investigation of a pyramid. It’s also – and mainly (?) – about understanding the history of a landscape and the people that lived in it, it’s about trying to find out how people could cope with their environs and which traces they left – and it’s about finding these traces. From the air (aerial archaeology, LiDAR, satellite imagery) and from the ground (geophysics, field walking) and in all cases non-invasive.

From left to right: near infrared aerial image - rob aerial image - LiDAR scan - geomagnetic survey

From left to right: near infrared aerial image – rob aerial image – LiDAR scan – geomagnetic survey

And yes, this is absolutely fascinating – and it brings me to many nice (though not always exotic) places where I meet new people and old friends, where I experience new and well known cultures and where I have the opportunity to tell the stories that are relevant within the framework of the project. It is talking to archaeologists who know a lot about the remote sensing and surveying techniques and learning a lot from them, it is talking to students to make them aware of the fantastic options of these techniques and it is talking to the public to share the fascination that I still feel when I look at a newly discovered site on an aerial image, on a landscape palimpsest on a LiDAR scan or on the hidden subsoil feature visible in the geophysical data.

I really feel very happy when I can see that the grants that our project provided helped students and young researchers to experience new techniques, to exchange knowledge and expertise with other people and to meet people from different areas of Europe to widen their (cultural) perspective. And I am happy to see that all these activities have always been a lot of fun for all those that have been involved.

amersfoort

ArcLand partners meeting in Amersfoort (NL) in 2013

Sure, it’s a EU project which means that there is a lot of administrational work to do. The EU is supporting us with a lot of money and I can understand that they want to make sure that this money is well spend. Still, I am swearing a lot over time sheets and lists of invoices and all that. But that is a very fair price for all the options this support offers to many people all over Europe and abroad! And it shows that Europe is more than a bunch of bureaucrats that only care about the bend of bananas to be imported into the EU! Seeing all these people from the Baltic to the Iberian Peninsula, from Ireland to the Balkan getting together, learning from each other , exchanging ideas and enjoying themselves at our workshops, at our conferences or when visiting our travelling exhibition really makes me feel the the idea of a joint and peaceful Europe is worth all that money.

So all in all, working on a webpage is not that bad, it’s raining outside anyway, so I am sitting in my dry office and I know that the work that I am doing is one tessera in the large archaeological mosaic. Watch out for our webpage http://www.archaeolandscapes.eu to go live again hopefully soon!

Archaeology in Annapolis: Every Day is a Day of Archaeology

Student volunteers Ryan and Bill wash artifacts collected from Annapolis, Maryland. Source: Kate Deeley

Student volunteers Ryan and Bill wash artifacts collected from Annapolis, Maryland. Source: Kate Deeley

It is the last day of summer lab work for the Archaeology in Annapolis project. Out of the sun of the field and into the air conditioning, volunteer undergraduate students Bill and Ryan wash the artifacts gathered from this season’s efforts. Toothbrushes in hand, they dust off the delicate or brittle artifacts made of bone or iron and scrub the hardier finds with water. Free from dirt, the ceramics and glass pieces sometimes reveal maker’s marks and unseen decorations. These features will be eventually cataloged and aid in the analysis of the site as they can provide relative dates for the levels in which they were found. Under the guidance of graduate student Kate Deeley, the volunteers learn the basics of laboratory methods, while she and the other graduate students work on their own research—independent but each related to the Archaeology in Annapolis collective.

This Summer’s Work

Artifacts from the Pinkney House in Annapolis lay out to dry on screens. Source: Kate Deeley.

Artifacts from the Pinkney House in Annapolis lay out to dry on screens. Source: Kate Deeley.

Archaeology in Annapolis is a 30-year project, run out of the University of Maryland, College Park. Under the direction of Dr. Mark Leone, a staff of graduate students—Jocelyn Knauf, Amanda Tang, Kate Deeley, Benjamin Skolnik, and Beth Pruitt—manages annual field schools and lab work, which contribute to their individual dissertation research. In the summer, the field school spends three weeks in urban Annapolis, Maryland and three weeks at the Wye House plantation on the Eastern Shore. As Archaeology in Annapolis learns about the lives of past people, we strive to explore the stories of those whose names haven’t always made it into the history books, including enslaved African Americans and working class individuals.
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Working on the DART project: Hyperspectral remote sensing and archaeology

My name is David Stott and I am a PhD student at the University of Leeds. I’m working on the DART project, which is looking at improving our understanding of how archaeological deposits are detected using remote sensing techniques. This work is important, as remote sensing allows us to prospect for archaeological features and understand the nature of archaeological landscapes. This is crucial as better knowledge about the nature and location of significant cultural heritage sites enables us to protect them by mitigating human actions and environmental processes that place them at risk.