Michael Fulford, University of Reading: From excavation to publication

From excavation to publication: the integration of developing digital technologies with a long-running archaeological project

Plenary session; Abstract

Archaeological project on Silchester has been running for 12 years. Complete town. Project involves management of large number of researchers, including undergrads; non-trivial logistical exercise. Stratographical complexity.

Integrated Archaeological Databased (IADB): used since start in 1997; has evolved with project. Contains most records gathered on site, incl. field records, records of context sheets. Aimed to provide integrated access to excavation records, in virtual research environment. Scope has broadened to include archival functions, project management, and now web publication.

Digital research essential: no pre-digital archaeological town studies have ever been properly published.

VERA: Virtual Environment for Research in Archaeology. JISC funded, has contributed to current excavations. Aims to enhance how data is documented; web portal, develop novel generic tools, and test them with archaeologists.

Have piloted digital pen for context notes, are now using throughout: 50% of notes. Speeds up post-excavation work by preventing transcribing cost. Had also experimented with iPAQs, tablet PCs (problem with sunlight), digimemo pad (not robust).

Capturing 2D plans. Have started trialling GPS.

Stratigraphy based on gathered data in IADB. Collaborative authoring. LEAP Project: linking electronic resources and publications, so can inspect data holdings supporting papers. Has not been easy in archaeology until now.

There is no one answer on how to use the tech: it must be driven by the research. Resourcing constrains what can be done.

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