The iPad is an ideal tool for field archaeology.

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

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.

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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.

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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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