The iPad is an ideal tool for field archaeology.

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

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.

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(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.