The Social Web and Archaeology’s Restructuring: Impact, Exploitation, Disciplinary Change

I recently worked with Sara Perry on a paper for Jeremy Huggett’s topical issue for the Open Archaeology journal on Challenging Digital Archaeology.

The chapter is open access and is available to download here:


Community-Driven Approaches to Open Source Archaeological Imaging

The chapter that I wrote with Gareth Beale about some of the work we have been doing as part of the Re-reading the British Memorial project ( has recently been published (open access) online. We wrote this in 2014, and have been working on some further publications from this research.

You can download the chapter here:

#CAA2014 – My tweets

My tweets (backwards):

  • via @jessogden – The #caa2014 Twitter archive is available here: With thanks to @mhawksey for the tool! #chatterboxes Apr 28, 2014 
  • @jadufton No worries! We had a great audience. I should have got my act together and remembered to ask you to do it! N x @eleonorag1 Apr 28, 2014 
  • @GCBeale aw, thanks [blushes]. Well done to @eleonorag1 for refocussing my ramblings! Apr 28, 2014 
  • @nofRETRO @urbanlegendshu @UIS_StudyAbroad Thanks for the include. Apr 28, 2014 
  • @CSHoggard, I’m not sure how Portus got on with it, if they have done it yet. @Peter__Wheeler or @GraemeEarl can help maybe? Apr 28, 2014 
  • Home after a month away on fieldwork in Canada w. @SFU Dept of #FirstNations Studies & then #caa2014 in Paris. Blog posts on both to follow! Apr 28, 2014 
  • Should it be the #caaconference community that defines the major challenges for #digitalarchaeology? How would we do this? # caa2014 Apr 25, 2014 
  • Importance of the experiential for people. Like reenactments & computer games. Is it realism or narrative that we need to focus on? #caa2014 Apr 25, 2014 
  • The idea of staged authenticity. CarlaMudge making a good point abt how digital objects make people want to see the real one again. #caa2014 Apr 25, 2014 
  • Stuart Jeffries: with model creation. We need to get involved in coproduction. And not assume that we know what people want. #caa2014 Apr 25, 2014 
  • LOVE: Stuart Jeffries on replicas-The void/sanitising effect btwn recording&producing digital objects. Break in chain of proximity. #caa2014 Apr 25, 2014 
  • #stuartjeffries giving an excellent #grandchallenge on what the visualisation of archaeology will mean for the discipline in 25yrs. #caa2014 Apr 25, 2014 
  • @CSHoggard @GCBeale Good point! I think it has! DanJoyce and @Peter__Wheeler were considering that at #BasingHouse last year. #caa2014 Apr 25, 2014 
  • RT @jessogden: Here’s the coin hoard ‘virtual excavation’ described by @DrPaulReilly from @ArchCRG and @James_E_Miles #caa2014… Apr 25, 2014 
  • @DrPaulReilly on the shift from being digital archaeology specialists to being advisors. #caa2014 Apr 25, 2014 
  • @DrPaulReilly showing ‘excavation’ of a Roman coin hoard within a pot using CT scanning and 3D printing at #caa2014. Carried out by @ArchCRG Apr 25, 2014 
  • @DrPaulReilly Additive manufacturing file has similar data format desc to context record. Potential 4 preservation of archaeo data. #caa2014 Apr 25, 2014 
  • @DrPaulReilly at #caa2014 2nd case study is Additive Manufacturing Techniques, – 3D printing. Showing beautiful 3D prints of TIN data. Apr 25, 2014 
  • RT @ArchaeologistSP: Come to “What do you want from Digital Archaeology?” at 2pm w Beale, Murrieta, Dallas, Jeffrey, Huggett, Lock, Reilly,… Apr 25, 2014 
  • @GCBeale at #caa2014 With #RTI developing WITHIN archaeology. Disruption of traditional role of technology on archaeological practice. Apr 25, 2014 
  • @GCBeale at #caa2014 presenting the case study of the intro of imaging technologies. #RTI developing WITHIN archaeology. Apr 25, 2014 
  • Thing about virtual archaeology is that it is the process of introducing technology to the discipline. @gcbeale & @DrPaulReilly at #caa2014 Apr 25, 2014 
  • The spirit of virtual archaeology is the intersection btwn archaeological practice & technology. @gcbeale and @DrPaulReilly at #caa2014 Apr 25, 2014 
  • @DrPaulReilly & @GCBeale talking about how the term virtual archaeology came about 25 years ago. Ampith 2A #CAA2014 Apr 25, 2014 
  • @jessogden @IntarchEditor @ArchaeologistSP Session is: R1. What do you want from Digital Archaeology? 2pm in room S02. Come along! #caa2014 Apr 25, 2014 
  • @stueve I can neither deny nor confirm your hypothesis. Apr 25, 2014 
  • Excited to hear @GCBeale & @DrPaulReilly’s presentation (up in 5 mins in Ampi 2B) on readdressing the idea of virtual archaeology. #caa2014 Apr 25, 2014 
  • Well done @PfuetzeEnte ! I’m so sorry I missed it! xxxxxxx Apr 25, 2014 
  • @James_E_Miles @PortusProject Argh! I wish I was there! I’m in the History of Archaeology session. Go @PfuetzeEnte! #caa2014 Apr 25, 2014 
  • Apologies for radio silence yesterday and this morning. #phonedied. #caa2014 #caacomarch Apr 25, 2014 
  • #caacomarch #caa2014 @Chiara_Bonacchi Developments for #micropasts Sound very exciting! Apr 24, 2014 
  • #caacomarch #caa2014 @Chiara_Bonacchi #micropasts components: cataloguing, community forum, & crowd funding platform. Apr 24, 2014 
  • If you’ve not come across #micropasts yet, community platform is here #caacomarch #caa2014 @Chiara_Bonacchi Apr 24, 2014 
  • #caacomarch #caa2014, @Chiara_Bonacchi introing #MicroPasts <-amazing idea. Funding projects. Not just academic ones. Mixed groups of users Apr 24, 2014 
  • Now up at #caacomarch #caa2014, @Chiara_Bonacchi on observations of crowdsourcing & crowdfunding projects. Already estd academic projects Apr 24, 2014 
  • Jeffrey Glover at #caacomarch #caa2014 and Ian Johnson introing #Heurist online, multiuser database. Apr 24, 2014 
  • JeffreyGlover at #caacomarch #caa2014. MARTA proj -Common problem of working with legacy data not intended for purpose now being used for. Apr 24, 2014 
  • Jeffrey Glover up now at #caacomarch #caa2014 talking about the Atlanta project to put objects online using own source web db Apr 24, 2014 
  • RT @eleonorag1: Community archaeology session with @nicoleebeale just started, you can’t miss it!!! #S12 roomS01 #caa2014 #caacomarch http:… Apr 24, 2014 
  • @IntarchEditor only if you want to! Apr 24, 2014 
  • #caa2014 #caacomarch Kris Lockyear, on the benefits of specialist skills brought to your project by community archaeology volunteers. Apr 24, 2014 
  • #caa2014 #caacomarch Kris Lockyear, it’s about groups getting the unis to help them not the other way round. Apr 24, 2014 
  • #caamassive audience. @eleonorag1 and I are chairing the community archaeology and tech session in this same room, S01 after lunch. #caa2014 Apr 24, 2014 
  • Ditto @eleonorag1’s point: For @archsecrets fans, see @UoSFLPortus #MOOC. Fieldwork & online archaeological skills: Apr 24, 2014 
  • So @GCBeale, sounds like this would be massively useful 4 #VirtualArchaeology stuff from yesterday where focus was on the visual? #caa2014 Apr 24, 2014 
  • #caa2014 #caamassive. The gamification of MOOC experience. Worth (money & personal) of certificate at the end. Important to acknowledge this Apr 24, 2014 
  • @GCBeale Sounds great! #caa2014 Sorry I’m missing your paper, @CatrionaCooper! Apr 24, 2014 
  • #caa2014 #caamassive. Using a range of social platforms means that u are spreading efforts, but that users can use what suits their learning Apr 24, 2014 
  • #caa2014 #caamassive. How to get your institution to buy in to #MOOCs that aren’t ‘delivering’ in HE impact/eval way: It’s a public service! Apr 24, 2014 
  • #caa2014 #caamassive discuss. How to encourage (& assess) users who don’t want to b ‘learners’ but want to participate in the social stuff. Apr 24, 2014 
  • @mugedurusu @salcocks @jadufton #adls in #caa2014 #caamassive. The impact of #MOOC – learners going on to continue to engage w archaeology. Apr 24, 2014 
  • @mugedurusu @salcocks @jadufton #adls in #caa2014 #caamassive. If you found that useful (of course!), u absolutely MUST follow @archsecrets Apr 24, 2014 
  • @mugedurusu @salcocks @jadufton #adls in #caa2014 #caamassive. Capturing uni researcher knowledge as a fab side effect of content production Apr 24, 2014 
  • @mugedurusu @salcocks @jadufton #adls in #caa2014 #caamassive. Ensuring that as ur users change, ur cultural references are understandable. Apr 24, 2014 
  • @mugedurusu @salcocks @jadufton #adls in #caa2014 #caamassive. Keeping those registered users active. Impressive geographic spread of users. Apr 24, 2014 
  • @mugedurusu @salcocks @jadufton #adls in #caa2014 #caamassive. The thing noone ever talks abt: Disparity btwn registered users & active ones Apr 24, 2014 
  • @mugedurusu @salcocks @jadufton #adls in #caa2014 #caamassive. The challenge of engaging students online. Tying into other SNS like FB. Apr 24, 2014 
  • @mugedurusu @salcocks @jadufton #adls in #caa2014 #caamassive. Giving open review of their recent #MOOC experience. Tools & methods insights Apr 24, 2014 
  • Now up at #caa2014 #caamassive, @jadufton on the #jiaaw #BrownUniversity #MOOC. Been looking forward to this one! Fab use of video content Apr 24, 2014 
  • @jessogden @jadufton Feeling that! + #toomuchcoffee Apr 24, 2014 
  • @jadufton Same problem here! Flying Canada to Paris and keeping up the caa pace is proving a little challenging! But lovely of course! Apr 24, 2014 
  • @tombrughmans @Crystalsafadi @jessogden @jadufton @philriris Goodness. That WOULD be nerve-wracking! It would max the stress to 100%. Apr 24, 2014 
  • Thanks @jadufton! In my previous tweets, for #KathrynGrossman, read instead #CatherineKenyon. #caa2014 #caamassive Whoops. #latenight Apr 24, 2014 
  • #KathyrnGrossman on @oimuseum’s #Blackboard #museum #arthistory learning modules. #caa2014 #caamassive Useful tips. Apr 24, 2014 
  • #KathrynGrossman in #caa2014 #caamassive with useful insights into building accessible cultural heritage paid online education modules w HE. Apr 24, 2014 
  • @IntarchEditor I know! Kathryn Grossman (Bradley Uni) is speaking at the moment. #caamassive #caa2014 I don’t think Kathryn is on twitter. Apr 24, 2014 
  • Excellent opp: All students at #caa2014, don’t forget to tell to consider you for Nick Ryan Bursary #caaBursary Apr 24, 2014 
  • @tombrughmans @Crystalsafadi @jessogden @jadufton @philriris If only I’d known, I would have given a paper! I’m sessioning & roundtabling. Apr 24, 2014 
  • Making decisions abt how scalable & sustainable project is going 2be. Being honest from outset abt future – @Pargrave #caa2014 #caamassive Apr 24, 2014 
  • Excellent presentation on this fab mobile walking tour: by @Pargrave in #caa2014 #caamassive giving fantastic advice. Apr 24, 2014 
  • #ca2014 is rocking #caamassive. @portableant @trowelblazers and @dayofarch #MOOC and #virtualexhibition all in one morning! Great stuff! Apr 24, 2014 
  • RT @ArchaeologistSP: Myself & @nicoleebeale are leading CPD – professional courses on social media for heritage & archaeology. Join us! htt… Apr 23, 2014 
  • RT @the_archive: UK: Short Courses on Heritage and Conservation at York by @ArchaeologistSP @nicoleebeale Apr 23, 2014 
  • #PaulReilly on virtual archaeology as generative concept: Intersection btwn archaeological practice & tech. #CAA2014 Apr 23, 2014 
  • “Virtual archaeology is about connecting archaeologists and specialists.” I’m in the #VirtualArchaeology #CAA2014 session Apr 23, 2014 
  • Useful #CAA2014 intro to #ADS-easy (w. #SWORDARM). Here: Streamlining archive deposit planning. Thanks @ADS_update! Apr 23, 2014 
  • The #colonialwilliamsburg live excavation webcams and blog is here: As presented by Lisa Fischer at #CAA2014 Apr 23, 2014 
  • RT @arctic_encount: Compelling and much-needed 2-day workshop next week on impact & relevance in academic research @… Apr 23, 2014 
  • I love the lifelong learning part to the #colonialwilliamsburg online excavation project. #CAA2014 Followers get skilled up whilst engaging. Apr 23, 2014 
  • Lisa Fischer at #CAA2014 on the excellent #Colonialwilliamsburg project to engage new audiences online with excavations on site. Brilliant. Apr 23, 2014 
  • RT @jessogden: MT @CAA2014Paris: The CAA badge will give you free access to the @MuseeLouvre and the National museum of archaeology till Su… Apr 23, 2014 
  • @IntarchEditor saying: What are the rewards (I.e. fab re-use instances) for those publishing data? #CAA2014 – Great point! Apr 23, 2014 
  • @IntarchEditor tells the room, data publication shouldn’t be an excuse not to publish research findings, but should augment them. #CAA2014 Apr 23, 2014 
  • Great point by @IntarchEditor on usefulness of #ORCID (used by #intarch) to distinguish btwn researchers. #CAA2014 Apr 23, 2014 
  • I saw this @patymurrieta, and thought you or @TrinkerMedia might want to organise something as Mexico is listed. Apr 23, 2014 
  • A full room for #CAA2014 @IntarchEditor’s talk on data publications for #IntArch. Been looking forward to this! Apr 23, 2014 
  • It seems #caaparis is less popular than #caa2014, so I’m gonna go with that for the days ahead! Apr 23, 2014 
  • I’m at #CAAParis. @CAA2014Paris, is that the #? @gcbeale of the @CDHYork is up in the virtual archaeology session. Apr 23, 2014 
  • Don’t forget to follow #SAA2014, from now! #archaeology #ArchCRG #sotonDH Apr 23, 2014 
  • PhD opp: AHRC funded. Looks great! With RCA. #datavis #dataviz #ArchCRG #sotonDH #CDHyork Apr 23, 2014 

#TAG2013: Visualisation as Knowledge Creation – Session Summary

I’ve compiled together my notes and tweets from the Seeing, Doing, Thinking: Visualisation as Knowledge Creation session at the Theoretical Archaeology Group conference (#TAG2013) held in Bournemouth this week. I was planning to live blog, but the session was so engrossing that I am afraid I managed just a few tweets and scribbled thoughts in the end!

I was presenting a project that I have been working on with Jude Jones. She is the brains behind the whole thing, I have merely been helping with computational photography! The paper about the project has yet to be written, but we are busy plotting, so watch this space!

We were talking about the potential of RTI as a form of visualisation for reading the tomb of Dame Mary May which is situated in a small and very lovely church in Lavant, near Chichester, West Sussex.

More about that in a soon to be written blog post, but first I’ve copied in my tweets and accompanying notes from the session. These are scruffy at best, but at least they give an idea of the fantastic papers that we enjoyed.

The session organisers (Gareth Beale, Sara Perry and Catriona Cooper) maintain a blog which pulls together all of the various activities surrounding the Seeing, Thinking, Doing idea, the TAG2013 session being just one of these events, so do check out their blog for more information:

Tweets from Session

Paper abstracts here:

Session Introductions

We’re just starting in the #visualarchaeo session at #TAG2013. Visualisation and Archaeology. V exciting!

Rachel Opitz

RachelOpitz on #crowdsourcing Pictish stones: Online to real world.  but you’ll need WebGL! #visualarchaeo #TAG2013

RachelOpitz talking about choice in viz. Discussing different types of #saliency for highlighting interpretation. #visualarchaeo

Mahiri Maxwell

MahiriMaxwell of #Glenmorangie at #NtlMuseumsScot. Starting with 3D visualisation as craft. Brilliant! #visualarchaeo  #TAG2013

James Taylor

JamesTaylor, @uniofyork. On digital recording as reflexive process. #catalhoyuk‘s stratigraphic sequence as testbed. #visualarchaeo #TAG2013

Jamie Hampson

JamieHampson touching on #IPinCH issues. Finding representations of #rockart in #SL#visualarchaeo #TAG2013 “Don’t just gaze and guess”.

JamieHampson: Manifestation rather than representation in #rockart. Considering rock surface & the paint being used. #visualarchaeo #TAG2013

JamieHampson on rock art as a process. What is the ‘art’ in ‘rockart’? Considering orality as well as visuality. #visualarchaeo #TAG2013

JamieHampson of @UWAnews on #occularcentrism in #rockart interp. ‘Reading’ #rockart as text. Is there a semantics? #visualarchaeo #TAG2013

Matthew Harrison

@MattJ_Harrison on filtering data through visualisations and on translating visualisations. #visualarchaeo #TAG2013

@MattJ_Harrison on viz of Fustat. Using topography (not neces cartographic) & topology (relationships & entities) #visualarchaeo #TAG2013


Q from discussion: Is visualisation a simplification or is it an augmentation to other data representation? #visualarchaeo #TAG2013

A shout out to @lparchaeology‘s multivocality of the record as part of discussion part 1 at #visualarchaeo #TAG2013 Yay guys!

So many faces on one screen. Enjoying the GoogleHangout at #visualarchaeo #TAG2013

My fav. bit of #visualarchaeo so far… @MattJ_Harrison on visualisation as a filter for data. #TAG2013

@GCBeale asking how we are publishing visualisations. #visualarchaeo #TAG2013

Sorin Hermon

Tablet as user interface btwn digital world & real world. Lots of tablet-love in #visualarchaeo this aft. #TAG2013

SorinHermon reminds us about the importance of including #paradata about the human processes, the interpretation. #visualarchaeo #TAG2013

SorinHermon reiterates importance of the #LondonCharter for viz and of the portability & flexibility of #CIDOCCRM#visualarchaeo #TAG2013

SorinHermon on fuzzy logic and classification with ontologies #CIDOCCRM for quantifying reliability of a 3D model. #visualarchaeo #TAG2013

Neha Gupta

Additional info for post-session Googling:Neha is NehaGupta: … #visualarchaeo #TAG2013

Neha on use of spatial approach partic. geovis of patterns to challenge monolithic govt control of cultural heritage #visualarchaeo #TAG2013

Jude Jones and Nicole Beale

RTI is described by #culturalheritageimaging  Watch @ArchCRG blog for MaryMay outputs. #visualarchaeo #TAG2013

Robin Skeates

RobinSkeates on SuzannePsalia’s use of archaeoengineering & 3Dviz 2 reflect multiple interpretations of Maltese site #visualarchaeo #TAG2013

RobinSkeates of @durham_uni on critiquing aesthetics & archaeo. Visualist bias of terminologies like ‘focus’ ‘view’ #visualarchaeo #TAG2013

Alex Zambelli

Great images by @a_zambelli overlaying historical and contemporary architectures of the choreography of London Stone #visualarchaeo #TAG2013

@a_zambelli up now. The Moves of London Stone. VERY EXCITED about this talk. #visualarchaeo #TAG2013

Ian Dawson and Louisa Minkin

Enjoying the poetry of LouisaMinkin and @demondawson‘s presentation. #visualarchaeo #TAG2013

@demondawson & LouisaMinkin on the wonderful understatement of the magic of #photosculpture & on accidentaloutputs #visualarchaeo #TAG2013

The work that we did with @demondawson and LouisaMinkin is described in our #EVALondon paper: … #visualarchaeo #TAG2013

@demondawson and LouisaMinkin now up. #visualarchaeo #TAG2013


Importance of paradata for 3D viz. highlighted. #visualarchaeo #TAG2013

@demondawson on importance of having transparent decision making process 4 artwork making 4 backtracking & recreate #visualarchaeo #TAG2013

Erin on how incorporating multiple senses: sound is action & visual can b static. You need movement 4 noise creation #visualarchaeo #TAG2013

On subj of stone balls, AndyJones will talk tmw abt art practice as an alternate process of archaeological fieldwork #visualarchaeo #TAG2013

Making Digital: Visual Approaches to the Digital Humanities

Over the past few months I have been lucky enough to be involved in a project working with artists from Winchester School of Art to develop a series of training events looking at the relationship between art and archaeology. 

This project has been a fantastic experience. Later this week, we are all going to EVA London 2013 to talk about the project, and I wanted to share with you the paper we’ve collaboratively written. But, more importantly, I wanted to say a big THANK-YOU to the team at WSA who have worked with us to make all of this possible. Thanks all!

Making Digital: Visual Approaches to the Digital Humanities


Electronic Visualisation and the Arts (EVA 2013)

London, UK, 29 – 31 July 2013


Gareth Beale, Nicole Beale, Ian Dawson & Louisa Minkin


The Making History Project is an attempt by artists and archaeologists based within the University of Southampton to collaboratively develop innovative uses for 3D technologies. Techniques such as high resolution data capture and 3D printing represent a new era in digital imaging. As these technologies become increasingly affordable they are coming to play a more significant role in archaeological and artistic practice. Both art and archaeology are currently involved in attempting to realise the full implications and potential of these technologies. This paper describes a project undertaken by the Archaeological Computing Research Group and Winchester School of Art at the University of Southampton which seeks to address this moment of technological disruption in order to collaboratively develop creative and methodologically innovative approaches to the use of these technologies.


PDF file PDF Version of this Paper 1,079(kb)

Abstract URL:

Art students, an archaeology store, and some cool technologies

This post originally appeared in the Basing House: Community, Archaeology & Technology (CAT) Project blog:

Photos Acknowledgements: All of the photos in this post were taken by Alick Cotterill, so a big thank-you to him for letting us include them in this post. 

Touring (*a small part of*) the Archaeology Collection stores

Last week I travelled up to the Hampshire County Council Museums Service Headquarters in Winchester to meet with a fab bunch of people. The Winchester School of Art staff and students had come to visit the Basing House archaeology collection, housed partly at the Winchester site and partly at Basing House, in order to learn about some new technologies.

We were planning to try to out pieces of kit for recording the artefacts from Basing House.

The day was a continuation from a project that we have been working on with Winchester School of Art to identify collaborations and opportunities for Archaeology and Art students by working together. We’ve been sharing skills, swapping data, and generally getting to know one another for a few months, and you can see what we’ve been up to over on the Archaeological Computing Research Group blog.

Archaeology PhD students spend the day at the Winchester School of Art print workshop:

Art students spend the day at the Archaeology Department’s Archaeological Computing Laboratory (now the Digital Humanities Distributed Laboratory) finding out about 3D technologies:

Highlight RTI

The first is a set of equipment that I have been using for a year or so as part of a project to record graveyard and cemetery headstones and church memorials with local history groups. The technology is called Highlight Reflectance Transformation Imaging, or Highlight RTI for short, and is a form of computational photography which allows you to take a series of photographs of an object and then compile them together into an interactive file where the light source can be manipulated in order to get better views of the object you’ve recorded. The project I’ve been working on has a blog here, where you can read all about what RTI is and how it works.

OuRTI project blog:

Here is an RTI that we made during the visit. This stone is not from Basing House, but was found at Manor Farm, Chalton and was found ‘under the lawn near the well’. Manor Farm has links back as far as the 13th century, although the provenance of this stone grafitti has not been confirmed.

An RTI from the day
An RTI from the day


The other technology is something that I haven’t had a chance to try out yet. Although we have similar equipment in the Archaeology Department, Winchester School of Art have recently procured a ZScanner. This is a fantastic piece of kit is a small handheld laser scanner that allows you to easily record a 3D record of an object in realtime. Here’s a picture of the ZScanner in action:

I haven’t seen the final results of the scans that the teams did on the day, but the real-time data that I saw on the laptop screen while they were trying the scanner out looked awesome. You really can just watch the object appear out of nowhere, with no yukky data processing before you get to see any results. The ZScanner really does promise to make recording objects in 3D a quick and easy task.

Here are some of Alick’s great ‘work in progress’ photos of the ZScanner in action:

Using the ZScanner to record one of the Basing House corbels.
The ZScanner in action


The students also sketched some objects from the collection, and I am really looking forward to seeing the results from their work. I think that they are going to be on display at the WSA World Book Day event, so if you can go along to that then I highly recommend it.

Sketching in the Archaeology Store

World Book Day Event

The event is on the 7th March, from 12-4pm, in the Rotunda on the campus of Winchester School of Art, and will include Skill Sharing, Stalls, Installation Events, and Cakes, as well as Multiples, Zines, Prints, Casts and Books on show and/or for exchange or sale.

Next Steps

There is obviously a lot of potential for the use of the above three methods for the recording of objects relating to Basing House, but also I think for the sharing of those objects. I’d like to investigate how the records of these objects can now be shared, so if you’d like to get involved in this, please do get in contact.

Urban Variation Conference

Last week Gareth and I travelled to Gothenburg in Sweden to present at the Urban Variation conference.  The conference website is here:  The conference was organised by the Early Modern Town Project team (find the University of Gothenburg project website, here; and was attended by a multidisciplinary crowd of academics and professionals.

We met people interested in a huge variety of approaches to the Early Modern town. Topics presented included: the architectural traditions of city development, the spreading of language across countries through urban environments, the use of surveying to better understand the make-up of the city, and the relationship between the structure of a city and economical and socio-cultural factors.  There was much food for thought over the three days, particularly as we are planning an excavation at an Early Modern site ourselves this summer!

Our Presentation

We were at the conference to talk about the Re-imagining the British Memorial Project, an initiative to develop training methodologies for local history groups wishing to use new technologies to record church memorials. You can read more about the project here:

The Technology Session

The conference organisers had placed our presentation in a day-long session that explored how technology could contribute to the study of the early modern town, and there were some fascinating talks covering other technologies.  I won’t describe them all here, as there is going to be a publication available soon, but you can read through the abstracts here:

Presentations in the session included a project using a motion-sensing Microsoft Kinect alongside open source to create a reconstruction of a church interior, a description of the challenges faced by geophysical prospection in urban environments in Sweden, the use of RTI to record graffiti on Swedish churches with a view to creating a comprehensive database of transcriptions, and the use of Unity for exploring the historiography of the interpretation and records of an archaeological site through a 3D reconstruction.

Gareth stands behind a table in a lecture room. In front of him is a camera on a tripod. The camera is set up to take a R.T.I. and so there is also a flash gun, a pool ball and a remote control on the table.
Gareth explaining the mechanics of the RTI set-up.

Highlight RTI Workshop

In the afternoon, Gareth and I ran a workshop on using Highlight RTI to record details of structures in the urban environment.  We showed examples of related RTIs and had a troubleshooting Q&A for those planning to use the technique for their own research.

Thank-you to the Early Modern Town Project

The trip was fantastic and we’d like to extend a huge thank-you to the Early Modern Town Project who made the visit possible.

Follow the Project

The Early Modern Town Project is planning to develop a communication network based on the initial conference, so do visit their website to keep up to date with further work:


This blog post is available also on the ACRG website:

Lifelong Learning, Archaeology and the Web

My husband, Gareth Beale, and I designed a lifelong learning module at the end of last semester which we began teaching last week.  The course runs for 12 weeks and aims to give learners an introduction to the different skills that archaeologists use to research into the archaeology of a place/event/person/object.

The module is called Urban Archaeology.

Urban Archaeology Blog. Come join in the conversation!

I thought I’d share a few thoughts here, and I’ve try to write a couple of reflective reports as the course is taught.

The module is made up of ten topics, and has a case study of the local geographic area within which the university campus is based, as a way of focussing the implementation of the skills covered in each session.

We have a blog for the module that we are uploading materials from each session into at the end of each week.  So please do follow along if you are interested in seeing what we’re covering, and also in how the module is delivered:

The blog aims to augment the work that is done in class by reiterating any content that was taken to the lesson, but also by containing reflective write-ups from Gareth and me at the end of each session, plus any findings about the case study that were carried out by the learners during the class.

We’re really interested to see how the blog develops, and also I’d love to use the posts to create something tangible at the end of the module, to give to the learners.  I’m envisioning some sort of handbook, printed directly from the blog, which incorporates everything we covered, but more: e.g. additional resources online, further reading, and learners’ experiences.

Anyway, watch this space! No idea how its going to pan out, but as long as those enrolled on the module enjoy the experience, and we can share some of our lessons learned at the end of the semester, we’ll be very happy.