The iPad is an ideal tool for field archaeology.

This blog sets out to bring together experiences of archaeologists using iPads.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Medieval Blue Boar Inn rebuilt virtually

The Blue Boar Inn was medieval Leicester’s ‘Grand Hotel’ and is believed to be where King Richard III stayed the night before the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. With the aid of detailed drawings, produced shortly before the Blue Boar was demolished, Richard Buckley has overseen a project to produce a detailed scale model of the building.

A lost building reborn

The Blue Boar Inn is believed to have been built in the mid-15th century on medieval Leicester’s High Street — now Highcross Street. It was a large and elaborately decorated building, which would have housed wealthy aristocrats and merchants as they travelled through the country.

In the 1830s, the Inn was demolished – and until now, the only evidence for what it looked like consisted of a pair of engravings made by Leicestershire artist John Flower in 1826.

Read the rest of this article...

Sunday, December 16, 2012

University of Oxford Online Courses in Archaeology

Now is the time to enrol for Hilary term online courses in Archaeology.

Each courses lasts for 10 weeks, with the expectation of c. 10 hours study a week.  Students submit two short assignments.   

Successful completion of the courses carries a credit of 10 CATS Points.

CATS Points from these courses can now be used as part of the requirement for the new Certificate in Higher Education offered by the University of Oxford.

The following courses are available: (click on the title for further information)

Greek Mythology                  Origins of Human Behaviour               Pompey and the cities                                                                                                         of the Roman World

Ritual and Religion in Prehistory                          Vikings: Raiders, Traders and Settlers

You can find general information about University of Oxford courses here...

Google Maps iPhone app goes straight to the top of Apple's most-downloaded

The new Google Maps application for the iPhone became the most downloaded free item in Apple's App Store on Thursday, just hours after its launch.

The long-awaited app launched in the early hours of Thursday morning, finally bringing relief to the millions of iPhone users forced to rely on Apple's own much-maligned mapping system.

The popularity of Google Maps provided an insight into the unpopularity of Apple's own attempt at providing a map service. Its launch came after Apple ditched its partnership with Google ahead of the launch of iOS6, the most recently launched operating system for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

"People around the world have been asking for Google Maps on iPhone," wrote Daniel Graf, director of Google Maps for Mobile in a thinly veiled dig at Apple's own geographical travails

Read the rest of the article...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pyramids 3D at Tap! The iPhone and iPad magazine

Pyramids 3D app lets you fly across the Giza plateau with 360° views of The Great Pyramid, The Sphinx and the rest of the ancient complex. It gives aspiring explorers and armchair travellers an equally fulfilling way to sample one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. But it’s once you enter the tombs that the app really comes into its own.

Every inch of the network of passages has been rendered from real photographs; even the tunnels closed to real visitors are included. There’s a small HUD and flashlight indicator to show your direction of travel. Scroll around with one finger and tap to move forward down the passages. You begin to feel like a real explorer, but the somewhat creepy soundtrack is a little off putting. These are peaceful places where the pharaohs ascended to the gods, after all, not scenes from The Mummy!
Read review on

Watch the video...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Two-tonne Witch computer gets a reboot

The world's oldest original working digital computer is going on display at The National Museum of Computing in Buckinghamshire.
The Witch, as the machine is known, has been restored to clattering and flashing life in a three-year effort.
In its heyday in the 1950s the machine was the workhorse of the UK's atomic energy research effort.
A happy accident led to its discovery in a municipal storeroom where it had languished for 20 years.
Read the rest of this article...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Summer Courses in Archaeology

Oxford Experience Archaeology Courses

The Oxford Experience Summer School offers weekly introductory courses in the Sciences and Humanities.  Participants stay in Christ Church, the largest and one of the most beautiful Oxford Colleges.

You can find out more about the Oxford Experience here...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Apple map app put to the test against Google maps

Inaccuracies and misplaced towns and cities in Apple's new map software have provoked anger from users.

In June Apple announced it would stop using Google Maps in favour of its own system, created using data from navigation specialist TomTom.

Apple is yet to comment on the complaints about the software, which comes already installed on the new iPhone.

Rory Cellan-Jones compared Apple's new map software with Google Maps, using two iPads

Read the rest of this article

Thursday, September 20, 2012

New Developments in Archaeological Data Management

AA Netherlands - Germany Joint Chapter Meeting 2012

Institute of Archaeology, University of Groningen (Netherlands), 30th November and 1st December.

We will also be joined by our Flemish colleagues. The conference covers two themes, Managing Data Quality and Z - The Third Spatial Dimension. There are still a few opportunities for speakers on  these themes and so we invite you to submit proposals using the form at the bottom of this page. The language of the meeting will be English.

Managing Data Quality
An issue that plagues archaeologists of all kinds, but is rarely presented and discussed in a formal setting, is the management of (information about) data quality. How do we store and manipulate information about the spatial error associated with the mapped location of a site? How do we deal with 'legacy' data that is based on antiquated typologies and/or is poorly described by metadata? How do we use the confidence limits associated with the acquisition of field measurements? Can we effectively describe degrees of uncertainty in, for example, assignment of a sherd to a typology, or a site to a period?

Go to the website...

Thursday, August 23, 2012


It’s raining hard here today, so this is a perfect time to write in detail about my rationale for using iPads in the field this year. As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve wanted to digitally collect primary data from the moment I began volunteering in archaeology nearly 20 years ago. There are a number of reasons for this, including: 1) reducing the transcription (field notes), digital tracing (hand drawn maps), and database entry (catalogues and metric data) time which follows every field season, 2) minimizing errors that can result from transcription, and 3) reducing labour costs associated with digitally recreating handwritten data.
iPads charging after a hard day’s work. The lowest battery level was 89%.

There are a number of archaeologists using tablet computers in “paperless archaeology” projects around the world (please see for an excellent blog on the topic). Many of these projects use mobile database apps or custom web apps to submit data directly to a networked database. These are extremely useful applications that have great potential, especially in locations where internet access is constantly available.

Read the rest of this article...

(My thanks to Mathew Betts for sending me the link to this interesting article)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Archaeology trials iPad for fieldwork study

Peta Bulmer, a Ph.D student from the Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology is carrying out a study on the use of iPads for fieldwork.

In a joint project between the Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology and the Computing Services Department, Peta will explore the use of mobile devices, whilst working ‘in the field’ on a number of sites across Europe, over the summer.

The iPad will be used to take photographs, make notes and sketches, and record data from digs, rather than collate them post trip, as is the norm. It is hoped that the flexible and portable nature of the device will enable speedier, more efficient and accurate recording and analysis of the data gathered onsite.
Peta selected a 64GB iPad 2, one of the most popular tablets in the marketplace, as her chosen mobile device. An additional stylus has been provided to enable sketch work.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Registration for AVICOM 2012 Conference

Organized in collaboration with the Board of MontrĂ©al Museum Directors (BMMD), the AVICOM Committee’s 2012 Conference will be held in Montreal, Canada from October 9–12, 2012 at the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), during the same time as the AVICOM Committee’s annual meeting. 

The Conference will be followed by the International Audiovisual Festival on Museums and Heritage (FIAMP), a competition that salutes the best achievements of museums worldwide in a number of categories. Visits to various Montreal  museums are planned for the final day of the Conference, Friday, October 12, 2012. In addition, a “Guide to Suggested Activities” will be provided to those participants who would like to extend their stay in Montreal through the following weekend. From 200 to 300 AVICOM members are expected to attend. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Are Notebooks Becoming Relics?

Ben Bajarin is a principal at Creative Strategies Inc., a technology industry analysis and market intelligence firm in Silicon Valley. He contributes to the “Big Picture” opinion column that appears every Monday here on Techland.

This may be one of the more controversial columns I have written in some time, although my goal is not to be controversial, but to spur thought — so please hear me out.

It’s no secret that I am very bullish on the tablet form factor. And in light of Microsoft’s launch of its Surface computers, it is becoming clear that future computers may not look anything like the computers we know today.

Since the launch of the first iPad, I have written extensively about how I believe tablets will shape the future of computing. But there are still many in the industry who have long watched, predicted, and benefited from the successful, worldwide evolution of desktop computers into notebook computers, and who disagree with the more bullish thinking about tablets eventually replacing notebooks.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Microsoft Surface tablet 'wifi only'

Surface, Microsoft's tablet computer, is expected to launch this October with a shorter battery life than its rival, Apple's iPad, and will be wifi-only at first, according to reports.

 The tablet computer, announced earlier this week by the technology giant’s chief executive Steve Ballmer, is expected to go on sale without any connection to mobile phone networks as a cost-saving move.

Bloomberg cites two sources “familiar with the matter” who provided the insight, but refused to be named because the specifications of the highly-anticipated iPad rival have yet to be made public.
Ben Barjarin, an analyst at Creative Strategies, a US technology consulting firm, told Bloomberg that the decision to launch with a wifi-only model could be to ensure costs are low – but in doing that – Microsoft could restrict how widely the device could be used.

Read the rest of this article

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Microsoft tackles iPad with Surface tablet

Microsoft Corp introduced its own line of tablet computers on Monday at a much-hyped press event in Los Angeles, marking a major strategic shift for the software giant as it struggles to compete with Apple Inc and re-invent its aging Windows franchise.

The new tablet line, named Surface, includes a consumer device aimed directly at the Apple iPad, and another, larger machine designed to compete with lightweight laptops. Both include a keyboard that doubles as a cover, and both will be powered by versions of the new Windows 8 operating system.

New Anthropology and Archaeology Resources Published at Sciences Social Network

The Anthropology and Archaeology Sciences are two new key mathematics categories covered by the Sciences Social Network The users of the website monitor 69 scientific journals and submit the most significant scientific results of these journals for inclusion in these two categories which currently contain a total of 4,843 articles. was established in 1998 to index the very latest news, headlines, references and resources in all fields of biology, business, chemistry, engineering, geography, health, mathematics and society. is a Anthropology Sciences social network established in 1998 to index the very latest news, headlines, references and resources from science journals, books and websites worldwide. The site covers news in all fields of biology, business, chemistry, engineering, geography, health, mathematics and society. In the field of Society Sciences, the site has now included the two new categories Anthropology and Archaeology. While the Anthropology category covers the origins, physical and cultural development, biological characteristics, and social customs and beliefs of humankind, the Archaeology category covers historic or prehistoric peoples and their cultures by analysis of their artifacts, inscriptions, monuments, and other such remains.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Natural History Museum – Evolution App

Introduction to the NHM Evolution App – brought to you by Authored Apps and the Natural History Museum London – The most extraordinary illustrated traveller’s guide to the past 600 million years on earth.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

New British Archaeology app

Readers of British Archaeology can subscribe to the digital edition of the award-winning magazine, by downloading the new app for the iPhone and iPad from the iTunes store. Catch up on the latest in UK archaeology on the move, view sample pages on your smartphone, and subscribe for access to the latest issue and back library online, wherever you are. British Archaeology is also available to Android users through our online app. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

iPad apps for fieldwork

A very useful Pinterest board from Enhancing Fieldwork Learning, showing useful iPad apps for fieldwork, etc.

You can find the iPad apps for fieldwork Pinterest board here...

Monday, May 21, 2012

New Look for the Current Archaeology Website

Current Archaeology now has a dedicated news editor in-house, and the news articles are now posted on our website as the stories break rather than simply published in the magazine.  You can also subscribe to receive an email newsletter, and there are RSS feeds for your newreader as well.

Go to the Current Archaeology Website...

Twitter Feed:!/CurrentArchaeo

The Current World Archaeology website has also been updated.

Go to the Current World ArchaeologyWebsite...


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

3-D Scanning: Bringing History Back to Life

Specialists are using new technology to unravel a mystery in the Smithsonian collections (2:18)

Produced by: Beth Py-Lieberman and Ryan R. Reed 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Where are all the innovators in academia?

Innovation regularly transforms the business world, but we have yet to see the equivalent in the university sector

Universities are reasonably conservative places and virtually no institutions have moved away from the three-year undergraduate degree, or the one-year master's programme. The exceptions, such as the four-year classics programme at Oxford, are mainly historical anomalies rather than recent innovations.

Almost all universities are geared around either full-time undergraduates, or part-time students who will take the full-time programme over a longer time period. Tuition methods are usually based around lectures and classes, with the exceptions often more conservative still – Oxford and Cambridge, for instance, use tutorials rather than classes, but this again is an old established tradition.

The sector lacks radical entrants. In the old days the only cheap airfares within Europe were returns, including a Saturday night stay. The low-cost airlines moved away from this model by offering day returns, usually at the same price as returns that included a Saturday night stay. Airlines such as British Airways were forced to respond, and consumers benefited. Apple's iPad has transformed the face of personal computing. Home delivery has transformed the supermarket sector. Yet we have not seen the equivalent in the university sector.

Read the rest of this article...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Oxford Online Courses in Archaeology

The University of Oxford's online courses in archaeology for Trinity term are now open for enrolment.

"Cave paintings, castles and pyramids, Neanderthals, Romans and Vikings - archaeology is about the excitement of discovery, finding out about our ancestors, exploring landscape through time, piecing together puzzles of the past from material remains.
"Our courses enable you to experience all this through online archaeological resources based on primary evidence from excavations and artefacts and from complex scientific processes and current thinking. Together with guided reading, discussion and activities you can experience how archaeologists work today to increase our knowledge of people and societies from the past."
You can find the full list of courses here...

Virtual Tour of Bamberg Cathedral

With a symbolic mouse-click, Archbishop Ludwig Schick opened the online virtual tour of Bamberg Cathedral.

This week Bamberg Cathedral is celebrating the 1,000th anniversary of the first cathedral in Bamberg.

The online tour consists of two parts: a short video with commentary and a panoramic virtual tour with points of interest marked.  Clicking on these point will take you to further photographs and information.

You can find the virtual tour here...

Unfortunately, the panorama does not work on an iPad, neither does the video.

However, there is a You Tube version of the video which is compatible with the iPad; you can find it here...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

3D Modeling and GIS Technology Aid Archaeology with More Accurate Research

We tend to think of archaeology as a discipline for shovels and artifacts, but according to American Sentinel University, 3D modeling and geographic information systems (GIS) technology are helping professionals create precise maps and landscape features to more accurately conduct research.

“The understanding and implementation of GIS adds breadth to a background in archaeology,” says Devon Cancilla, Ph.D., dean, business and technology at American Sentinel University. “GIS enables archaeologists to do their research and present their findings on a more complete and advanced scale. Having 3D modeling capabilities opens entirely new possibilities to archaeologists that weren’t there ten years ago.”

Although archaeology has traditionally been behind the technology curve and relied in the past on using the human senses more often than computers, today’s archaeologists are more adept with modern tools and analyzing computer-generated archaeological data before they ever step onto a site.

Bill Dickinson, principle GIS engineer for Exceptional Software Strategies, partly credits the spread of video games for the adoption of 3D.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The future of learning and teaching in higher education

Higher education is facing its biggest shakeup in 50 years. But will this improve the quality of teaching and the student experience, asks Janet Murray

cocktail shaker
Higher education has been shaken and stirred but what will be the outcome? 
Photograph: Alamy/Stockbyte Plantinum
In an education white paper published last summer, the coalition government set out its vision for the future of higher education. Underpinning the proposals was the desire to put students at the heart of the system, providing better advice and guidance on what and where to study and more one-to-one support and feedback from lecturers. To achieve this, ministers argued, universities would need to become more accountable for the quality of teaching at their institutions.

A year on from what it is widely considered to be the biggest shakeup of the higher education system for more than 50 years, those working in the sector have a clearer understanding of how this new vision of higher education might work in practice. But according to a roundtable debate, hosted by the Guardian in association with the Higher Education Academy, the national body for enhancing teaching and learning in the UK, there is still some scepticism about the changes.

Read the rest of the article...

Friday, April 13, 2012

Update to Popular RAMA iPhone App Serves Up Singular Food Experiences

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK – April 6, 2011- Crimson Bamboo LLC, a Brooklyn-based new media developer and publisher, announced a major update to their popular RAMA iPhone app today, including a new line of curated food tours and downloadable, “offline” maps.
The update to RAMA complements its award-winning line of historical walking tours with a new series of food tours, written by local experts in 22 locations around the world.
Organized around place-based culinary themes including “Flavors of the Amazon” (Rio de Janeiro), “Vegetarian Manhattan” (New York City), and “Chengdu Street Snacks” (Chengdu, China), RAMA Food will not only lead users to great restaurants and outstanding flavors, but also deliver cultural, historical, and culinary insights: Users will learn about the one woman cooking machine behind the best ‘drunken noodles’ in Bangkok, discover why Thursday is rice day in Barcelona, and get phonetic instructions on how to order dishes in the local language.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

18th International Conference on Virtual Systems and Multimedia

Virtual Systems in the Information Society
Milan, Italy, 2-5 September 2012


The International Conference on Virtual Systems and Multimedia (VSMM) is the premier forum for the presentation of research on 3D acquisition, multimedia visualization, interaction technologies and their applications. Known for its multidisciplinary approach, VSMM has become a bridge between technology, art, history, science and engineering. Held annually since 1995 (excepting 2011 when the Egyptian conference was cancelled for public safety reasons), VSMM2012 will be the 18th gathering of the VSMM Society.
As the "Information Society" has matured, interaction with digital worlds through virtual systems and multimedia is finally reaching everyday users. The last few years have witnessed a dramatic growth in 3D "consumer" technology (from stereoscopic television to 3D interaction devices for videogames and from 3D gesture control for tablet computers to augmented reality on smartphones), together with a progressive increase in broadband digital infrastructure. Virtual and augmented reality technologies, once the domain of elite laboratories, are now commonplace. From cultural heritage, where 3D content is today almost a requirement, to medicine, the arts, film, and games, quick and accurate 3D content generation and its remote manipulations is increasingly important.  What is next?  Will virtual visits supplant actual tourism, or will the virtual create greater need to see the real?  How will ubiquitous 3D change everyday life?

Protecting your iPad

The iPad is an ideal tool for field archaeology.  Yes, but it needs some protection before taking it into the field.

After looking seriously at the wealth of protective cases offered for the ipad, I have come to the conclusion that the best protection is offered by the Drop Tech Series iPadCase.  The standard model has a thick rubber surround with Reinforced rubber bumpers on the corners.  the screen is protected by a replaceable screen cover - no lifting or removing a cover - your iPad is protected during use and the touch screen is every bit as responsive with the cover in place.

If you want even more protection, then you can try the Military Edition, which has a thicker rubber case.  An impressive video on the Drop Tech site shows a paintball gun being fired at the iPad's screen.  The iPad suffered less damage than the poor guy holding it!

Drop Tech Series  Military Edition

The only problem with these cases is that they are not waterproof, and I would not like to take them out in very heavy rain.  This brings me to my second line of defence - the Aquapac iPad case.  This gives submergible protection against water, but offers no protection against rough handling

Happily, you can use the two together.  Amazingly, the touch screen is still totally responsive though the Aquapac and the Drop Tech screen cover.

I shall be taking my iPad to carry all my notes, plans and maps when I take the EMAS group on its Easter field trip to South West Ireland.  With this level of protection, I have no fears for its safety.

Aquapac and Drop Tech Series  Military Edition

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Week in iPad Cases: Fortune and glory

The third-generation iPad is still front-and-center in the minds of accessory manufacturers, but that doesn't mean those of us with older iPads must take a back seat. In fact, several of the cases and bags covered this week will even work with Apple's first-generation iPad.

Read the rest of the article...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

New iPad Review: A Sharper Focus for Apple’s Tablet

Remarkably high resolution and LTE wireless broadband make the market-dominating tablet even more formidable.

Apple, as everyone knows, has an exceptional track record for revolutionizing the product categories it enters. But it’s at least as talented at — I hope this is a word — evolutionizing them.
 It’s a remarkably predictable process. The company starts by releasing an epoch-shifting gadget such as the first iPod, Phone or iPad. Then it relentlessly improves it, refining the original idea with additional polish and better technology on a more-or-less yearly schedule.

The new iPad, which went on sale on March 16, is all about that additional polish and better technology. Which means that Apple’s unexpected decision to call it simply “iPad,” with no modifier, makes sense. This isn’t a different kind of iPad — it’s the device the company envisioned from the start, brought into sharper focus. (It loaned me a new iPad with Verizon wireless broadband for this review.)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Indiana Jones goes geek: Laser-mapping LiDAR revolutionizes archaeology

"This is it—the paradigm shift," archaeologist Chris Fisher told Ars. "Just like the advent of radiocarbon dating, LiDAR will have the same impact."

LiDAR, or "light detection and ranging," acts as a sort of radar with light, painting the target area with lasers and recording the time it takes to reflect back to the instruments.

An archaeologist specializing in Western Mexico, Fisher studies the way environments affect and change cultures. LiDAR has helped him repaint the picture of ancient Mexico, bringing the little-known Purepecha empire a lot more historical prominence.

Read the rest of this article...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Take a look at the new iPad - video

Technology editor Charles Arthur gives us a preview of the latest iPad, unveiled by Apple on Wednesday. It features a high-definition retina display and an improved camera dubbed 'iSight', and will be able to connect to high-speed 4G networks

Watch the video...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

ProfHacking Abroad: Hardware Choices for Living In Europe

By Prof. Hacker

I am in the highly enviable situation to be on sabbatical this academic year, made doubly so by being on a fellowship in Germany for the year. The last time I was abroad for an extended time was in 1991, when I spent a semester in London as an undergraduate. Thinking back to that stay, it’s striking how much my technological life has changed: I brought no computer to London, writing papers on the typewriter provided by our program, with my major technological burden being a Discman player, powered external speaker set, and dozens of CDs I brought to avoid months of silence. Twenty years later, I brought 20 full days worth of music self-contained on my hard drive, with no CDs needed, and limitless access to more online. While technologies are smaller and more powerful, they are also more complicated, forcing choices and strategies on how to plan your digital relocation.

Read trhe rest of this article...

"3D visualization for the study and management of complex archaeological sites"

Dear Colleagues,

We have the pleasure to announce the opening of the call for the

Third Specialization Forum
"3D visualization for the study and management of complex archaeological sites",

organised in the framework of the European Radio-Past Project.

The Forum will take place from
July 2 - 7, 2012, in Hainburg (Austria), near Carnuntum, a location that is appropriate for the focus on data interpretation and virtual reconstruction. 

Following the standards of the past two years, the teaching staff will again consist of academic and specialist lecturers from excellent European research institutes.

Further information can be found in the attached Call and the Registration Form, which both can also be downloaded from our website ( Registrations have to be submitted before March 30, 2012, to: cornelia.fische (AT)

Download further details here... (as Word doc)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What is Digital Public Archaeology?

The rapid pace of change within Internet technologies has significantly expanded the paradigm of, and potential for, a ‘digital’ form of Public Archaeology, which I define in my thesis as the methodology for engaging the Internet-using public with archaeology through Web and mobile technologies, social media applications, and the communicative process through which this engagement is mediated online.

Digital Public Archaeology as both theory and practice has been the subject of limited research to date. My PhD research aims to redress this situation by illuminating the current state, and future direction, of digital Public Archaeology projects and practises, with a specific focus on the United Kingdom. The computer-mediated source material for this thesis includes the use of websites, blogs, online databases, discussion forums and email lists, Facebook, Twitter, online photo management and sharing sites such as Picasa and Flickr, online video sites and tools for sharing text, publications and presentations. It includes mobile phone applications, Augmented Reality, online databases, computer games and open publishing. All of these Internet-enabled technologies will be considered, as part of a tool kit for knowledge-sharing and participation in online archaeology, as a medium for the encouragement and support of intra-disciplinary networking and community building, and as a methodology for engaging people with wider heritage issues. This research will identify and discuss the many technical and socio-economic issues that surround the adoption and practice of digital Public Archaeology in the main institutional settings where Public Archaeology is practised today:

Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

iPad 3 'to launch on 7 March'

Tablet to have 'retina' screen and could include 4G connectivity, according to reports – but no word yet on new TV device

Apple iPad 
Apple's iPad will launch on 7 March, say reports. Photograph: John G Mabanglo/EPA
Apple will launch the third version of the iPad on Wednesday 7 March at an event in San Francisco, according to a number of reports online. The reports also that the device will have a "retina" screen – with four times as many pixels as the current model – and could include 4G connectivity for US high-speed networks.

The website iMore says the device will have a quad-core processor – compared with the dual-core A5 chip in the current iPad model. The increased screen resolution would increase the apparent detail on images while not requiring software developers to rewrite their products.

The Wall Street Journal says that it will also include 4G connectivity (also known as "LTE"), which offers connections at up to 100Mbps, but in smartphones have been found to be a serious battery drain.

Read the rest of this article...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Le port englouti de Constantinople

If you have the ARTE app on your iPad, take a look at this superb documentary about the excavations of the Theodosian port in Constantinople, discovered during the building of the Istanbul metro under the Bosphorus.

Excellent use of augmented and virual reality.  Soundtrack in either French or German.

Friday, January 27, 2012

iDraw Archaeological Features on the iPad

On screen digitizing took a turn for the fun this past week when I started using the iDraw app on my iPad to trace feature maps for the report I'm working on.  After more than two weeks of point and click tracing in Adobe Illustrator with the mouse, the switch to the stylus and iDraw seemed like a vacation.  I feel like a kid who gets to do all my homework for the next week on an etch-a-sketch. Fun!

The green insert shows the scanned paper map
iDraw is excellent for tracing drawings or maps which can be scanned as a single .jpg.  Many of the feature maps that I used Adobe Illustrator for were stitched together from many small overlapping maps.  Some of the rocks that I was tracing were represented on more than one hand drawn map and I wanted to be able to flip between all those different source layers as I made the final digital version.  You can't do that on iDraw, yet.  As far as I'm aware, you can only have a single .jpg as your base layer.  That limits the number of maps I can digitize this way, but for the ones that do fit into this category, the program works great.

Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Computer applications and quantitative methods in Archaeology 2012

The Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA) 2012 conference will be hosted by the Archaeological Computing Research Group in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Southampton on 26-30 March 2012

Registration of CAA 2012 is now open

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

ARK and Augmented Reality

Many thanks to Stuart Eve for being the first to respond to the post "What are the most useful apps for archaeology?"


Stuart is working on the on the development of the open-source archaeological database system known as the Archaeological Recording Kit (ARK) and has also been developing some Augmented Reality applications for the iPhone and iPad.  He decided that it would be a good idea to combine the two.  


What he has created is a means whereby the usual information for a context sheet can be augmented by virtual reality data, such as 3D models.


Stuart has a very impressive video on his blog "DeadMen's Eyes" which demonstrates how this app functions.  You can find the video here...


Incidentally, if you are wondering about the name of his blog, it is explained here...

Monday, January 23, 2012

What are the most useful apps for archaeology?

The illustration shows a section of a Harris Matrix using the OmniGraffle app

There are a wealth of apps available for the iPad and, as I have already found out, not all of them live up to their descriptions!

This would seem to be a case where we could all benefit from each other's experience.  Which apps do you find best for various tasks in archaeology?

You can either use the comments function or, if you wish to submit a longer post, please use the email form here to contact me.

Seeing beneath Stonehenge revealed

Two new 21st century inventions are helping us to understand and visit the wonders of Stonehenge from the comfort of our own homes. ‘Google Under-the-Earth’ is an extension of the well known ‘Google Earth’ and adds archaeological layers to the base levels.

‘Seeing beneath Stonehenge’ has been developed as part of the Stonehenge Riverside Project, using data gather by the combined team from the Universities of Sheffield, Manchester, Bristol, Southampton and London.

Google Under-the-Earth: Seeing Beneath Stonehenge is the first application of its kind to transport users around a virtual prehistoric landscape, exploring the magnificent and internationally important monument.

Read the rest of this article...

View the "Stonehenge Experience" app in iTunes Preview

Museums, Archaeology & Mobile Apps

Got myself an iPad a couple of weeks ago so I am now learning about the mobile app business.  I have to confess that the biggest draw for me in taking the iPad plunge was to use a music/sound making app called Reactable.  At the same, I sufficiently rationalized the iPad’s portability and work applications as factors to justify the cost.  To dutifully follow-up on the rationalizations, I went to the App Store and searched on Anthropology, Archaeology, Museums to see what all was out there.  There is a good bit of cool stuff.  You can tour Roman-era London via the Londinium app produced by the Museum of London, explore the Please Touch the Exhibit app from the Melbourne Museum, view fine art in the Philips Collection multimedia app based in Washington D.C., and on and on . . .

There is a good bit of museum and archaeology app stuff out there.  But are these apps the latest fad, toys, or what?  As is often the case the American Association of Museum provides a good summary overview text on the subject.  Mobile Apps for Museums: The AAM Guide to Planning and Strategy edited by Nancy Proctor is a good place to start investigating the applicability of these new mobile applications.  Proctor is the Smithsonian’s Head of New Media Initiatives.

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iPad + apps = amazing archaeology

The iPad, loaded up with a few off-the-shelf apps, is revolutionising the way archaeological digs are run.

As an ex-archaeologist I keep an eye on digital trends in the digging world, and came across a great post on about an old friend and colleague Dr Steven Ellis of the University of Cincinatti and his digitally-enhanced fieldwork at Pompeii. He is using iPads, with simple off-the-shelf apps to collect data in a simpler, and more shareable manner than ever before.

Computers and archaeology have a long history, but excavators have been waiting for mobile tech to hit the right balance of portability, usability and power to really have a big impact on the way they conduct fieldwork. The latest generation of mobile devices, and especially the iPad, has hit the sweetspot.

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Call for Papers-Taking Archaeology Digital

Eric Orlin at the University of Puget Sound recently distributed a call for papers for a conference this fall at the University of Puget Sound titled “Taking Archaeology Digital.”

The conference itself runs from October 25-28, 2012 . From the website:

Technology is changing our world in ways that previous centuries could not have imagined, and it is a constant struggle for us to keep up with these frequent changes and innovations.

While archaeology is a very old practice, only in the later 20th century was it given serious methodological consideration, and now, in the 21st century, this explosion in the availability of technological tools offers the potential to transform the practice of archaeology.

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Apple posts 'iPad in Pompeii' archaeological case study

People are using the iPad in interesting new ways every day, and case studies continue to emerge that show the device is getting down to business quite well. One of the latest such studies comes straight from Apple, as it details the iPad’s use in Pompeii archaeological excavations.

Discovering Ancient Pompeii with iPad highlights the iPad’s use at the longest active archaeological excavation in the world as a 21st century replacement for pen and paper. A team of 35 scholars, led by Dr. Steve Ellis of the University of Cincinnati, are using the iPad to fill in forms, record notes, and illustrate various aspects of the sites and their geological features.

John Wallrodt, Ellis’s colleague at the university, says the “iPad was practically custom built for our needs.” The team was able to replace many of their daily pen and paper operations with apps already in the App Store, such as FMTouch, Pages, iDraw, and OmniGraffle. Ellis estimates that the iPad has saved him a year’s worth of data entry and “piles of paper.”

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iPad Helps Archaeologists

New technology is revolutionizing the precise recording of history at an ancient, lost city, bucking a tradition that has been in place for centuries. University of Cincinnati researchers will present "The Paperless Project: The Use of iPads in the Excavations at Pompeii"* at the 39th annual international conference of Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA). The conference takes place April 12-16 in Beijing, China.

UC teams of archaeologists have spent more than a decade at the site of the Roman city that was buried under a volcano in 79 AD. The project is producing a complete archaeological analysis of homes, shops and businesses at a forgotten area inside one of the busiest gates of Pompeii, the Porta Stabia.

Through years of painstaking recording of their excavations, the researchers are exploring the social and cultural scene of a lost city and how the middle class neighborhood influenced Pompeian and Roman culture.

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