Following the Day of Archaeology

Luckily for me, the majority of my Day of Archaeology will be spent following the Day of Archaeology online. And that’s what I’m actually supposed to be doing!

So why am I able to spend a day at work following the wonderful Day of Archaeology?

As the Communications and Access Manger for the Archaeology Data Service (ADS) one of my tasks is following the participation of partner institutions from the New Scenarios for a Community-involved Archaeology (NEARCH) project.

NEARCH follows on from the ACE project, which aimed to promote contemporary archaeology at a European level, by emphasising its cultural, scientific, and economic dimensions, including its manifold interest for the wider public. Coordinated by the French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (Inrap), the NEARCH project, supported by the European Commission Culture programme, is a European-wide network of 14 partners from 10 countries willing to explore these changes and their consequences. More specifically, NEARCH aims to study the different dimensions of public participation in archaeology today, and to propose new ways of working and cooperating in a profession strongly concerned by the current economic crisis. As a low-cost, highly accessible way to explore the real daily working lives of archaeologists, the NEARCH project is very pleased to be part of Day of Archaeology, both as sponsors and participants.

The main themes of the NEARCH project are:

A. Archaeology for the community: informing and involving peopleNEARCH_BLUE_RVB
B. Archaeology and the imaginary: crossroads between science and art
C. Archaeology and knowledge: teaching and sharing information
D. Archaeology in a changing economy: towards sustainability
E. European archaeology and the world: dependencies and mutual development

The Day of Archaeology fits wonderfully under theme A , which is about informing people about archaeology and involving people in archaeology. What better way to inform people about the rich diversity within the archaeology profession than the Day of Archaeology, which highlights all the exciting, and in some cases not so exciting but very real, archaeology going on around the world on just a single day.

As a result, from the very beginning of the project, NEARCH was interested in collaborating with the fantastic Day of Archaeology Team. The ADS is coordinating this collaboration which will use NEARCHs collective networks to ensure greater participation from archaeologists across Europe. Starting next year, NEARCH partners will also provide translations for the ‘How to take part’ sections of the website and volunteer as moderators, so that more people can post in their native language if they so choose. In the following years we hope to also explore creative ways for people across Europe to use the site and provide support to the Day of Archaeology Team for technical development.

The collaboration with NEARCH and the Day of Archaeology doesn’t officially start until the Day of Archaeology 2016, which is why those translations are not yet available. But plenty of NEARCH partners are planning to take part this year and I get to follow and record all their posts and tweets.

Here are a few that have already been posted:
Michael Krumme writes about his day working at DAI the German Archaeological Institute.

Delia Ní Chíobháin Enqvist tell us about her work in the Contract Archaeology department at Bohusläns museum,Uddevalla.

Remo Bitelli from Istituto Beni Culturali della Regione Emilia-Romagna advertises the NEARCH ‘You(r) Archaeology Competition. This is an art competition asking people in Europe to submit drawings, videos, paintings and photographs depicting what they feel archaeology. To find out more about the competition check out the NEARCH competition page.

This is a post from Georgie Feild, ADS’s newest digital archivist, writing about her day archiving ADS-easy datasets and migrating CAD files.

This is another post from ADS, this time its Jo Gilham talking about the British and Irish Archaeological Bibliography‘s (BIAB) move to ADS from CBA.

I look forward to investigating how the NEARCH collaboration with Day of Archaeology evolves over the next few years, as NEARCH partners go all out to encourage participation in their home countries.

While I go back to this, my colleague Lei Xia is also busily working on the NEARCH project, creating a mobile app to help inform people about the archaeology around them, so keep an eye out for this in the future.


ADS at the Center for Digital Heritage Summer School



Today I am at the Centre for Digital Heritage Summer School (CDH). It’s the second day of a training workshop hosted by the University of York and organised by Gareth Beale. The summer school was  designed to help newcomers from any discipline learn the essential skills needed to build and run a successful digital heritage project; from getting the funding to archiving your data.

The day began with excellent talks from Kate Giles (Archaeology; University of York) and Damian Murphy (Electronics; University of York) on their own Digital Heritage projects.

I was there to present with my colleague Catherine Hardman the work of the Archaeology Data Service (ADS) and to impart to the attendees the experiences ADS has gathered from over 15 years of curating digital material. The aim of our talk was to explore real world examples of Digital Heritage projects, highlighting the practical pitfalls of creating, managing, curating, and using digital data, by comparing successful data management examples with flawed projects. We covered everything from projects with amazingly detailed metadata, through to those with ‘dirty’ data to photos of cats in tents!

We hope that after spending two days of hearing how Data Management Planning is KEY to a successful digital heritage project, that all the attendees will go on to create excellently managed digital heritage projects.

The rest of the day was dedicated to designing prospective digital heritage projects. Check out Hannah Simons Day of Archaeology blog post to read more about the excellent project ideas that were developed (including some great pics).

All the attendees of the summer school really got involved and without the excellent enthusiasm of the attendees the summer school wouldn’t have been the great success it was, so a big thanks go out to everyone involved and to Gareth for organising a great 2 days.