The iPad is an ideal tool for field archaeology.

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

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Digital dig: The scanning technology revolutionising archaeology

Archaeologists may not need to get their hands so dirty any more, thanks to the kind of digital technology being pioneered at Southampton University.
Its 'ยต-VIS Centre for Computed Tomography' possesses the largest, high energy scanner of its kind in Europe: a 'micro-CT' machine manufactured by Nikon.
Capable of resolutions better than 0.1mm - the diameter of a human hair - it allows archaeologists to carefully examine material while still encased in soil.
Using visualisation software, archaeologists can then analyse their finds in 3D. This keeps the material in its original form, and postpones any commitment to the painstaking process of excavation by hand.
Graeme Earl and Mark Mavrogordato of Southampton University, and Alexandra Baldwin of the Department of Conservation and Scientific Research at the British Museum, explained how they have worked together to unlock the secrets of a cauldron found at a site in Chiseldon, Swindon - the largest archaeological find of its type in Europe.

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Harvard Uses 3-D Printing to Replicate Ancient Statue

Joseph Greene, (right) Assistant Director, Semitic Museum and Adam Aja, Assistant Curator of Collections, Semitic Museum discuss the creation of a digital 3-d model of a lion statue dating to the Nuzi period inside the Semitic Museum at Harvard University.

3-D printing may be the wave of the future, but the technique—which is shaking up how architects, scientists, arms manufacturers and countless others go about their trade—will also now redeem the past.

Our story begins some 3,300 years ago, when a rampaging army ransacked the town of Nuzi whose ruins now lie southwest of the modern day Iraqi city of Kirkuk. The conquerors—the Assyrians, one of the more bullying empires of Mesopotamian antiquity—overran the town’s defenses, burned down its buildings, slaughtered or enslaved its inhabitants and looted its temples. What was not plundered was left, in many instances, smashed, tossed down wells and discarded in the smoldering wreck of the city. And there it lay for millennia until a team of archaeologists spearheaded by a number of American universities excavated the site in 1930 and unearthed its broken treasures.

Among the finds at Yorghan Tepe (the modern day name for the site where Nuzi once stood) were a set of lions thought to have flanked an installation of a statue of the goddess Ishtar. These and other objects were, under the colonial administration of the time, divided between local authorities and foreign archaeologists. The remains of one lion—fragments of its hindquarters and front paws—were claimed by Harvard’s Semitic Museum, while another more intact one made its way to the University of Pennsylvania. A decade ago, the two lions were reunited when Penn allowed their statue to be sent to the Semitic Museum on loan; it’s believed the lions were once mirror images of each other (their tails move in opposite directions).

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Digital Learning Day

Digital Learning Day, February 6, 2013, is a national celebration of educators that shines a spotlight on successful instructional technology practice in classrooms across the country. Join the wave of innovation sweeping through our nation's schools. Participation is free and easy. Sign up now, plan your local activities and plan to watch the National Digital Town Hall that will be simulcast live from the Newseum in Washington, DC!

Visit the website... 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Shakespeare's sonnets encoded in DNA

When written in DNA, one of Shakespeare's sonnets weighs 0.3 millionths of a millionth of a gram. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty

His words have touched the lovelorn and been pored over by brooding teenagers for more than four hundred years, but now some of the most romantic poems ever penned have been written into the code of life.

The entire collection of Shakespeare's 154 sonnets has been spelled out in DNA by scientists in Cambridge to demonstrate the vast potential of genetic storage. Huge quantities of information could be written into specks of DNA and archived for tens of thousands of years, the researchers claim.

Alongside the Bard's sonnets, the scientists made strands of DNA that stored part of an audio file of Martin Luther King's 1963 speech "I have a dream", and the seminal research paper that first described the double helical nature of DNA by Francis Crick and James Watson, a decade earlier.

Written in DNA, one of Shakespeare's sonnets weighs 0.3 millionths of a millionth of a gram. One gram of DNA could hold as much information as more than a million CDs, the researchers said.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Archaeology: Where is it going?

Where is archaeology going? As archaeologists, it’s not exactly in our nature to postulate about the future. Written by James Spry

The past, of course, is kind of our thing. “Learning about our past will guide our future” – or other such anecdotes, are the bread and butter of any discussion between an archaeologist and an inquisitive member of the public.  Yes, this is true and it’s what archaeology is all about. It’s the passionate plea to learn about the world our ancestors lived in instead of dawning too much on the scary and ever changing present. Let’s be honest, every time we turn on the news or, heaven-for-bid, accidentally witness the  homepage of the Daily Mail website, with its too-fat-too-thin celebrity updates, we are hardly inspired by thoughts of the future.

It’s all too understandable why we inadvertently reminisce about a past life we never lived or engross ourselves in a material culture and that we will never full understand. And it’s such a drive to immerse ourselves in the past that has made archaeology so damn popular, why thousands of people donate their weekends to walking up and down muddy fields and why millions of us are now terrified what we will soon have to watch ‘I’m a Celebrity Pop Idol’ on a Sunday night instead of letting Phil Harding show us his unique X-Factor.

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New Online Israel Archaeology Archive

From the new Israel Archaeology Archive

Israel’s Antiquities Authority (IAA) has launched a new Israel Archaeological Archive, to be accessible on the Internet in English, with a general explanation also available in Hebrew.        
A Heritage Program jointly initiated by the Prime Minister’s Office and the IAA, the digital archive will feature tens of thousands of documents, photos, maps and plans from the period of British Mandate (1919-1948), ranging from Akko to Jerusalem.

“The archive is an invaluable project, a site that will consolidate some 30,000 Israeli antiquities web sites into one location for worldwide access,” explained Dr. Uzi Dahari, deputy director of the Antiquities Authority. “The scientific importance of the archive is invaluable; it is the only one of its kind in Israel and in the world. In Israel there are approximately 30,000 known and declared antiquities sites that constitute our heritage – the largest and most important asset of the State of Israel.”

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