Monrepos – the early birds


Who thinks that an archaeological research centre and museum can only be run by archaeologists these days must be ignorant. Technical staff is required at many places and usually they are our early birds. They are cleaning, fixing, and organising the house and its bits and pieces before most researchers actually arrive. Nevertheless, they are a part of the our daily working life and an important part of the staff: Imagine an uninformed cleaning lady in an institute mainly focused on stone age archaeology with several pebbles or bones or sediment bags on the floor… Thus, these staff members not only make a whole day of archaeological research possible but also contribute to it with their experience.

However, in the last months, new skills were required from some of them. For example, Walter Mehlem, our house technician, has quite some extra work to do at the moment taking care that really all the work that was supposed to be done in the museum by subcontractors, craftsmen, gardeners etc. was in fact correctly done. So, really he is looking forward to the days after the opening when “business as usual” or the usual craziness returns.

Well, writing about early birds by midday just shows that I’m none of them. However, we couldn’t keep our schedules at the institute if everyone was a nightowl like me. For example, mail arrives early and parcels full of paper necessary for an institute like ours arrive almost on a daily basis. A lot of paper is needed for prints of our scientific output such as our own articles, official letters, and bureaucratic formalities such as compensation of travel cost. Moreover, many pages of articles have to be printed out to become a hardcopy part of our ever growing library. Besides these articles, our library owns several thousand monographs and journals all focused on hunter-gatherer anthropology, Palaeolithic and Mesolithic archaeology, zooarchaeology, experimental archaeology and everything of interest for archaeologists working on the development of human behaviour before the Neolithic revolution(s). Presumably, we house one of the largest libraries on this topic worldwide.

Apparently, such a large body of information needs some organisation and someone who prints out the articles, picks them up from the printer, registers them and puts them in the right place – so if a researcher is looking for a specific article it can be found. At Monrepos, Sascha Sieber is currently taking care of this bit of enabling archaeologists to actually work all day. Frank Schmid is sharing his office and working on another important project: Digitalising photo documentation. Monrepos has been participating and organising excavations in Eurasia for over thirty years so we have an enormous number of slides from excavations and excursions which need to be digitalised and organised in a way that someone looking for a specific profile is also able to find it. Of course, no archaeologists could do this job besides the usual work so we are really thankful that Frank is doing the job for us.

It’s not as if archaeologists were a bunch of poorly organised people but help is always appreciated. And although a lot of our drawings and graphs are made by ourselves as a part of our research, help is not just welcome in this important part of our profession but occasionally needed. Graphs and figures help to visualise our findings or simply the artefacts we found. Therefore, Regina Hecht and Gabi Rutkowski are part of the Monrepos team. Regina helps us make better graphs, optimise our print outs and, occasionally, she also gives short introductions to graphic programs for young students like I used to be. Her work is so helpful because someone who is only considering the readability of a graph helps to translate our results for everyone and, thus, helps us to make science understandable and useful.
Gabi Rutkowski usually helps us with neat and clean ink drawings of artefacts. Although she hasn’t studied archaeology, she has probably seen more archaeological stones and bones than many senior archaeologists and occasionally can point out overseen details. However, at the moment she is also needed for last preparations for the opening of the museum.


Day in the life of a Public Services Officer

Name: Joe Waterfield

What do you do? I am a Public Services Officer, this means that I help people to find and use items in our collections. I issue licences for the use of material and I work out where the items can be found physically and digitally.

RCAHMS Search Room

The open access photo boxes in the search room. Loads of architectural and archaeological photographs from around Scotland. Anyone can come and have a look at these, maybe you can see your house!

How did you get here? I studied history at university and since graduating I have been working in the heritage sector.

What are you working on today? Today I have sent a reporter some photographs from the Buildings at Risk Register to use in a newspaper article, I have talked to a librarian about using SCRAN images in a display, and I have supplied RCAHMS GIS data that will be used as part of a collaborative research project.

Favourite part of your job? My favourite part of the job is the sheer breadth of people and objects it puts me in touch with. One day I could be collecting photos of buildings designed by James Salmon for a public exhibition, another day I could be helping a customer access a photograph of a relative.

What did university not teach you? I used archives as a researcher when studying at university, but I had not experienced working in archives ‘behind the scenes’. Requesting a particular document is a completely different kettle of fish to actually trying to find that document, especially in a collection as diverse as the items held by RCAHMS.

Click here to see a vine of my day!


Curating a Small Archaeology Museum

I am the curator and archaeologist for the Lost City Museum, a small archaeology museum located in Overton, NV. The main focus of the museum is the Virgin River Branch of the Ancestral Puebloans (also known as the Anasazi) who lived at the archaeological site complex formally known as Pueblo Grande de Nevada, but more commonly referred to as the Lost City. The Lost City Museum has a collection of artifacts dating not only to the Ancestral Puebloans, but to the group that occupied southern Nevada after it was abandoned by the Ancestral Puebloans, the Southern Paiutes.

As the curator of a small museum I have many different projects going at once, ranging from a rehousing project that is being funded through money to organizing special events at the museum. One of the projects I am currently working on is the analysis of the museum’s incised stone collection. The incised stones were collected from Clark County, NV, the southern-most county in Nevada. Incised stones are intriguing artifacts because archaeologists aren’t entirely sure of their prehistoric use. Some suggest that it is a form of portable rock art while others suggest they could have been used by shaman during rituals.

Sometimes it feels like I don’t choose the projects I work on, they choose me. As I was rehousing the archaeology collection of the Lost City Museum I kept coming across more and more incised stones. I knew the museum had a couple dozen incised stones that were recently on display at the museum. It wasn’t until I went through all of the boxes in the collections storage areas that I realized the museum had over one hundred incised stones (this perfectly illustrates why I started the rehousing project; I never knew for sure what the museum had and what wasn’t stored in the correct place). Given the number of incised stones at the museum I felt that it was extremely important that I properly catalog and analyze the stones so that the information could be used by researchers in the future.

My analysis of each incised stones consists of recording the dimensions of each stone and noting whether the stone is hand size or smaller (the majority of incised stones can be comfortably carried in a hand). Next I categorize the design present on the stones. A past researcher was helpful enough to come up with eight categories of incised stone designs: curvilinear, dendritic, circle, band, bisect, cross-hatch, anthropomorph, and no discernible design. An example of a curvilinear design can in seen in the included photograph. Next I determine the stone’s material type. A majority of the stones analyzed so far have been sandstone, a readily available stone in southern Nevada. Once I gather all of the data I will be able see the patterns present within the collection. I can then compare this information to the information already obtained from the analysis of other incised stone collection at Nevada State Museums and see if the Lost City Museum collection differs greatly from those collections.

This is an ongoing project because as much as I would like to focus all of my time on the analysis of the incised stones, new projects or issues pop up on a daily or weekly basis. As the curator of a small museum I wear many hats, and I often have to put projects on hold while I research something for a fellow archaeologist or give a tour to a group of Girl Scouts. One great thing about being an archaeologist for a museum is that it is unlikely I will run out of research topics any time soon.

How a Research Project Happens (My Perspective)

I depart Friday (June 29th) to begin my dissertation fieldwork in northeastern Botswana – at last! I will be running my own archaeological fieldwork project for the first time and it has been a long road to prepare for this. From deciding where I want to work, what I want to work on, to formulating actual research questions, to applying for funding, it often seems like I’ve done nothing for the past several years but work towards this goal. I was thrilled to receive a Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant from the National Science Foundation to support my project, and I thought that securing funding was the last major step in the process. Boy was I wrong! Even though I wrote extensively in my funding proposal about how I would get the project done, the last several months has been all about finalizing those logistics – how will I get around in Botswana? Who will join my crew and how will I hire them? What will we eat? How in the world will I get all the necessary excavation equipment overseas? Eight years into my graduate program, and I am still working out how research “gets done.”

I still wouldn’t have the answer to many of these questions if it weren’t for the many colleagues, faculty and friends whom I’ve had the wonderful luck to meet and know over the course of my graduate career. The best decision I made about my PhD work was simply to go to Botswana in 2008, at the point when I decided to look into switching from European to African archaeology. I didn’t know a soul on the African continent, I was alone, and I didn’t have a clue as to how to proceed towards finding a dissertation topic, but I went anyway. If I hadn’t, I would not have ever been able to develop a successful research plan. I didn’t go completely unarmed, however – my dissertation advisor has worked in Botswana for decades and he gave me a starting point for whom to contact, as well as a name to drop.

I didn’t fly home in 2008 with a well-developed project, only some ideas, a sense of how things got done on the ground there, and several people I could now contact for advice and ideas. This, however, is actually a pretty good start, because it was the start of a network. I’d initially been terrified and clueless as to how to “network”, but I tried it anyway – I just kept talking to people. Showing up at museums and conferences, listening to presentations, sending emails, asking questions. Persistence pays off in this regard: it gets less scary, and eventually people start remembering who you are (especially if you make some presentations of your own). I’ve continued to build this network since then. Every conference I go to, every paper I read, every journal I browse, I meet ideas and people, and I learn how they got it done. Most of all, I’ve been learning that there is no formula for “getting it done” – there are a myriad of opportunities, coincidences, and partnerships that can lead to a fieldwork project. There is no perfect research, only decisions made to take one fork in the road or another. There is no perfect researcher either, only people willing to take responsibility for those decisions and see them through, to make sense out of what often appears to be a chaos of dirt, rocks, numbers, messy paperwork and a grumpy crew.

So I guess this post isn’t so much about archaeology per se, as it is about how to be an archaeologist (or at least my perspective on the subject). Maybe next year, when I am living in the lab trying to sort through all the artifacts from this year’s inaugural field season, I can write more about prehistory itself. I am pretty sure, however, that every archaeologist goes through some form of what I’ve described here, and hence it’s worth mentioning.

If you’re interested to read more about what my project actually entails, I invite you to visit my Petridish website at It’s a fund-raising website, but don’t feel like you need to contribute. I’ve got a description of what I’ll be doing in Botswana and I will keep updating the site as long as they let me. (I also like to get the word out about Petridish because it’s a great way to connect science projects with interested members of the public!)

Feel free to email me at daggetta (at) msu (dot) edu if you’ve got questions about what I do or want more resources on archaeology! I will, as I mentioned, actually be in the field and therefore will not have regular access to internet for the next several months, but I will do my best.

Thanks for reading!

– Adrianne

Bethlehem Nomination File

Bethlehem Nomination File “Birthplace of Jesus, Church of the Nativity and the pilgrimage route” was a special project to Palestine in general and Bethlehem in specific. Bethlehem was the first city nominated in the Palestinian territories to the UNESCO world heritage list, and hoping that this process would include more heritage sites including, Ancient Jericho (Tell El Sultan, The religious routes in the holy land, Mount Gerizim and the Samaritans …etc

The process in getting Bethlehem accepted as a world heritage site will take time till next year July 2012, where it will be voted through the world heritage Committee. However, inscribing Bethlehem at the UNESCO list should happen a long time ago, but due to political tensions between Palestinians and Israelis’ the inscribing was held backwards several time.

The Nominations file was a big chance for Palestinians to demonstrate their outstanding culture heritage that was damaged during Israeli’s occupations, especially the Israeli invasion of Bethlehem in 2002 and surrounding Church of Nativity for 40 days. Israel had bombarded the church more than one time which caused damages to it that could be seen today.

The Nomination file was prepared by Center for Culture Heritage Preservation , Bethlehem (CCHP) in corporation with, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Bethlehem Municipality and UNESCO office in Ramallah. It consists of nine parts; each one of them deals with a specific matter.

They are as follow:

  1. Identification of Property
  2. Description
  3. Justification for Inscription
  4. State of Conservation and Factors Affecting the property.
  5. Protection and Management of the Property.
  6. Monitoring
  7. Documentation
  8. Contact Information of Responsible Authorities
  9. 9. Signature on behalf of the State Party

My job was mainly focused at the second chapter “Description” I’ve worked as a researcher in (CCHP) in the project helping the team in the historical and archaeological perspective of the nativity church.I would like here to thanks both coordinator of the project, Arch. Nada Al Atrash from CCHP, and my friend Geroge Al Ama (from CCHP) for their fantastic and outstanding work in the project, where it push forward the Nomination file to its final stages.

Thanks you very much!


I hope you have enjoy it

Regards, Haytham Dieck

Another kind of human: researching Neanderthal archaeology

As I described in my first post, my research is on the last Neanderthals, a field I find fascinating through the ‘alternate universe’ of hunter-gatherer adaptations and lifeways they represent as a different kind of human. I’m a lithics geek, which means I study, in loving detail, the stone tools that Neanderthals made and which were fundamental to their everyday lives. My PhD involved looking at the evidence from Britain of the re-occupation by Neanderthals of this landscape around 55,000 years ago, after they had been absent for about a hundred thousand years. This meant in practice spending a year visiting a LOT of museums, to record information from over 1000 stone tools. This might sound like a big number, but in fact it’s a very small sample when you’re talking about sites which probably span over 10,000 years in time. Big French cave sites of the same period can have ten times that amount of lithics from a single occupation layer.

After this recording phase was another year (or two…) of data crunching to find out what the stones were telling me. The results showed that Neanderthals moving into Britain during a very unstable climatic period (termed Marine Isotope Stage 3; we’re now at Stage 1, and the last proper ice age was Stage 2) were living very mobile lives, with a highly organized technological strategy that promoted flexibility in their tool production and maintenance.  So where am I now two years later, on 29th July in 2011?

At the moment I have several different projects, and multi-tasking is definitely something as a researcher you need to get to grips with. I’ve just got back from three-weeks of fieldwork in Jersey, as part of a really exciting project called the Quaternary Archaeology and Environments of Jersey, which will be featured in the first episode of the new Digging for Britain tv series. Although Jersey is a small island, it has a fantastically rich archaeological record.  We’re interested in the hunter-gatherers who lived there from the Neanderthals right up to the people who lived in the forested landscapes after the last ice age. My part in the project is to study the lithics (stone tools) from the upper layers of one of the most important Neanderthal sites in the world, a collapsed cave/ravine called La Cotte de St Brelade.

La Cotte de St Brelade, Jersey. The original excavations were underneath and behind the rock arch, originally thought to be a cave until the roof of sediment collapsed in the early 20th century.


New Bronze Age finds from the British Museum: why…

The point of all this is, of course, to produce a specialist report. In this case a Treasury Report for the Portable Antiquities Scheme (, that will eventually be published (previous Treasury Reports can be found here:


As a researcher, these are important, as in some cases they will be all that will ever be available or accessible in respect of the the finds in question, with some being returned to the owners rather than ending up in museum collections.

Accurate measurements, descriptions and typological assignations are important for assigning objects to specific periods, and must be reliable in order to be used as the basis for future arguments and interpretations about these past communities. Of course, accuracy, particularly when in a hurry, need not be pretty…


For example, in the 2005/2006 Treasury Report, a hoard from Llancarfan, Vale of Glamorgan in Wales, was reported to have a hilt or handle fragment of a sword of Carp’s-Tongue type (the bottom row of swords in the below picture). This association meant that the hoard should be dated to somewhere late in the period c. 950-800 BC. The same phase as our hoard from Nottinghamshire. However, subsequent work during 2007-2011 on swords of this type in Iberia and France, have revealed a type of proto-Carp’s-Tongue sword, known as Type Huelva/St. Philbert (the top row of swords in the picture below). These swords, however, have been demonstrated to be dated to the period c. 1050-950 BC. This is the date of the Wilburton phase which, as we described in an earlier post (…: when… ), is the period prior to the one our Nottinghamshire hoard belongs to. Tiny changes such as these can require us to radically revise our ideas about what types of objects we believe might have been available to people at any particular time, and the connections and relationships that they may have represented.       

Such typological work on bronze objects, however, was for long out of fashion, snubbed and rejected by many in both the academic and commercial sector, in Britain. Less so on the Continent, however. This is partly because it was seen as a laborious and time consuming way of what is, so it was believed, merely cataloguing. But typology is and can be so much more. These tiny objects, whole and broken, represent the technological choices of the past communities that both produced them and consumed them, and the socio-political and economic conditions in which they existed.  These little pieces of metal, and all the tiny idiocracies of morphology, over which so many have laboured, are glimpses of styles and tastes, of changing fashions and fads. Aesthetics have always been important to people, not only as indicators of how we live but what we wish to communicate to others about ourselves, our choices and our relationship with our communities. What French ethologists have long called ‘technological choices’.

This Maussian approach to metalwork typology very much characterises the modern typological endeaver. But whereas contemporary archaeological theory has attempted ever more leaborate slights of hand to reveal the agency of the ‘individual’ in the archaeological record, Bronze Age researchers are mopre frequently orientated to revealing communities, of which such objects are highly evocative.

So much of what we own, use, and wear defines us. Whilst the accessibility today of such things might have radically changed, as might approaches to their production, the significance of these pretty little things for persons and communities is far from being representative of a ‘modern’ condition.  


Managing the Monster

I’m Keeper of Collections at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL, in London. The collection was founded back in 1937, and has over 80,000 objects from all around the world, with a sum total of two staff to manage the monster. Mine is an academic post, so I’m expected to combine teaching duties with museum work. My day is often an eclectic mix of activities – with my lecturer’s hat on I might be writing or giving lectures, marking, meeting with students, reviewing chapters my doctoral students have drafted, revising course handbooks, attending meetings or writing papers. But with my museum hat on I might be getting objects ready for other people’s handling sessions, cataloguing backlog material in the collections, updating our databases, writing a blog post for the collections, fielding research queries, supervising visiting researchers or finding jobs for my volunteers. I never really know what the day is going to throw at me, and when I do make plans I often find they get overturned the minute I get to my desk.

Today I have four researchers booked to visit the collections, so I’m hoping this will give me some free time to work on other things. But we shall see … (more…)

A Day in Japanese Archaeological Laboratory

I’m an archaeologist living and working in Japan. I’m a researcher of Meiji University Archaeological Investigation Unit. This unit is organized for preventive excavation within university campus.

In Japan, all archaeological sites are conserved under the national law. Local governments develop a registration map of archaeological sites and check all land development. In order to keep to the law, all developer and constructor – not only commercial sector but also public/administrative sector- must make an effort to conserve archaeological sites within their development/ construction area. If they cannot change their plans, they must do excavation. More than 95% of excavations carried out in Japan are this type – preventive excavation…documentation before destruction of sites for those 40yrs.

As you know Japan has large population- about 120 million- in small land. Most parts of our landscape are hilly or mountainous, so our living spaces are definitely limited and overlaid on ancestor’s lived space. This is the cause of so many excavations – more than 8,000 in average/year and the peak was about 12,000 in 1996…- have done every year.

In 2004, our project was started. It was for the construction of new buildings of the university affiliated junior-high and high school. At first we did survey and sounding in total 40,000 sq-meters area, then begun excavation in 18,000 sq-meters area. The excavation continued for 2 years and 5 months – more than 800 days. We unveiled Modern Age (including Imperial Japanese Army and occupation Allied Force sites during WWII ), Jomon Age (mostly Middle Jomon, 6-4.5ka) and the Upper Palaeolithic Age (32-16ka). Now I’m constructing web-site for our excavation ( :it’s not completed) .

aerial view of our excavation area in 2005

aerial view of our excavation area in 2005

excavation of the Upper Palaeolithic living floor

excavation of the Upper Palaeolithic living floor

excavation of a shelter for air fighter of Imperial Japanese Army during WWII

excavation of a shelter for air fighter of Imperial Japanese Army during WWII

documentation of the Late Pleistocene staratigraphy

documentation of the Late Pleistocene staratigraphy

Our excavation was finished in Dec,2007. However it means finishing just the first step only in the field… we have more than 500 containers filled with artefacts such as: 5,000 potsherd and 40,000 pebbles of Jomon, 25,000 lithics and 90,000 pebbles of the Upper Palaeolithic, more than 200GB of digital images and measurement datum by total station system… and so on.

Since 2008, we’re engaging with the post-excavation procedure and it will continue until 2015. We have published the 1st volume of our excavation report this May and will publish other 5 volumes over 5 years.

This is our background. And here I show our habitual day in post-excavation laboratory of our investigation unit. Now we’re tackling with Jomon and the Upper Palaeolithic materials.

The first section is for Upper Palaeolithic pebble refitting work. We uncovered more than 300 stone heaps composed with 90,000 pebbles. Most of pebbles are burnt and fragments. These stone heaps are assumed for cooking, as in the Pacific ethnography.

This work has started in 2010 and will continue for the next 2 years. There are many pebbles in containers waiting for their turn…

Upper Palaeolithic pebble refitting

Upper Palaeolithic pebble refitting

Upper Palaeolithic pebble refitting(2)

Upper Palaeolithic pebble refitting(2)

These workers are from the commercial company engaging in preventive archaeology.

more pebbles are waiting their turn...

more pebbles are waiting their turn...

all containers are fulfilled with material

all containers are fulfilled with material

The second section is for Upper Palaeolithic stone tools (lithic technology) refitting. This work has started in 2007 and will finished this year.

Basically we start from distinguishing chipped stone tools and debitages into petrological classification and making sub-divisions acording to their colour, texture, micro-structure and other characteristics. This is very empiric but very efficient method. Up to now we have documented more than 6,000 cases of refitting in 25,000 specimens of lithic material. In some cases, we can reconstruct original shape of nodule and decode total sequence of knapping technology. Of course, to determine source of raw material, we apply archaeo-scientific analysis.

Lithic refitting work(1)

Lithic refitting work(1)

Lithic refitting work(2)

Lithic refitting work(2)

arrange debitages with raw material, texture and other character

arrange debitages with raw material, texture and other character

documenting which pieces are and how they are refitting in sequence

documenting which pieces are and how they are refitting in sequence

The third section is computer application for managing the database, drawing maps and artefacts, geo-spatial analysing and editing publications. We use Microsoft(R) Access(2007)(R) for database managing; Inteli CAD(6.0J) for arranging and original drawings measurement survey datum, 3-dimensional distribution maps of artefacts; Adobe(R) Illustrator(CS5)(R) for drawing artefacts and finising maps and other figures for publication; Arc GIS<sup>(R)</sup>10 for geo-spatial analysing; Adobe(R) InDesign(CS4)(R) for editing publications. Some part of these computer works are put out to commercial companies, those which have specific technique and systems.

computers in our laboratory

computers in our laboratory

a drawing of stone tool (Upper Palaeolithic backed blade)

a drawing of stone tool (Upper Palaeolithic backed blade)

drawing distribution map of Upper Palaeolithic lithic concentration

drawing distribution map of Upper Palaeolithic lithic concentration

database for chipped stone tools of Upper Palaeolithic

database for chipped stone tools of Upper Palaeolithic

geo-spatial analysing of Jomon inter-site components

geo-spatial analysing of Jomon inter-site components

Post-excavation laboratory working continues…however I hope to go back to the field…yep I should!!!!

Day of Archaeology (Meetings)

Today is going to be spent pretty much inside, pretty much in Southampton, and pretty much in meetings, pretty much as usual. Still, the stuff is pretty interesting, at least as far as an archaeologist obsessed with computation and old things in sunny places thinks.

Today started with a couple of hours of editing. We have been working for a few years in the field of Reflectance Transformation Imaging. Last year the AHRC funded us to develop some new RTI systems and also to spread the word about the technology, particularly amongst archaeologists and experts in the study of ancient documents. This has been enormous fun. But I can start with a negative: the technology has its limitations – there is good experimental research demonstrating that other methods can be more accurate at the very fine level. But the considerable positives are – it is quick to do, can be very cheap, and definitely does the job if what you want to do is explore the subtle surface details of an object. If you want to measure to a micron, go elsewhere (and we have been – mostly to mu-Vis). But otherwise, grab a camera, a torch or flash gun, and a shiny ball (snooker balls work well) and get imaging. So, you’ll see from the RTISAD web page that we have been recording all sorts of objects with a load of interesting people. Whilst the project is winding down – I’m editing the report whilst writing this 🙂 – we are really keen to build new collaborations so please get in touch.

Next up I have a meeting with Les Carr in Electronics and Computer Science.  I am involved in a few projects with Les and lots of others here at Southampton to identify ways for us in the institution to manage our research data. Most recently we have built a couple of pilot systems in Sharepoint and EPrints and also trialled some tools to make deposit of data an easy process for researchers. The bottom line is that we need to make it even easier for researchers to look after their data, not only for fear of the disaster of losing it but also because it is our ethical and increasingly our legal responsibility. There are a lot of institutional and professional practice issues here, as well as more pragmatic stuff: its so much easier to keep your files in a bunch on the hard drive than beautifully ordered and attributed somewhere safe and central. So, for the last year funded by the JISC we have looked at research practice and policy within the institution, including talking to a lot of our archaeologists, and seeing how in the end we can join up data management here with the aspiration of also making deposit to the ADS easier and even more ingrained in researcher practice.

For lunch it is a supervision with Tom Frankland, a PhD student here working on the RCUK Digital Economy project. Tom has been busy on fieldwork in Italy and in the UK examining extant fieldwork practice and developing some interventions, particularly focussed on hierarchies and issues surrounding collaboration on site. There has been loads of work in the area of digital data capture on archaeological sites and we want to explore the impact of this on practice and the wider discipline, and also propose and consider the implications of some novel technologies. For a starting point on where we are coming from look at the cool work of Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry at MIT on SixthSense.  

Afternoon in my calendar is free so at the moment that means more RTI report editing and a bit of work on Science and Heritage PARNASSUS. This project is looking at environmental effects and adaptation measures needed for the protection of cultural heritage from climate change impact. We have been involved in some interesting survey work and also research into archaeological indicators for adaptations to climate change. Open on my laptop though is the policy document for data exchange and documentation. The project has a lot of partners gathering complementary but quite different information in the next few months so as ever the issue is thinking about how best to look after it and how to let one end of the data talk to the other.

Last part of today is timetabled for reviewing this month’s progress on the . We have been working at the port of Imperial Rome for the last decade or so and recently got funding from the AHRC for three years of analysis, limited fieldwork and publication. This has a strong digital component including building a succession of structural and visual computer graphic models of the various buildings, using information from geophysics, laser scanning, photogrammetry and so on. Thanks also to L-P Archaeology and their ARK 🙂 So, with more fieldwork at Catalhoyuk in Turkey coming up really soon, the iPhone pinging, and a nagging doubt that the car still won’t be fixed tonight it is time to stop writing 🙂 Day of Archaeology = top idea. Weekend looking like Beach + Rain.