The iPad is an ideal tool for field archaeology.

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

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A Point of View: Is the archaeological dig a thing of the past?


Archaeological discoveries are more likely to be found by technology than with a trowel and a torch, writes classical historian Mary Beard.
If you want a vivid glimpse of ancient Roman life, the best place to go - after the more famous Pompeii - is the town of Ostia, a 30-minute train ride from the centre of Rome, near the coast. It's one of my very favourite sites. Beautifully peaceful, surrounded by shady umbrella pines, and, quite unlike Pompeii, you often have it almost to yourself.
It wasn't so peaceful 2,000 years ago. From the end of the 1st Century AD, Ostia was one the two main ports of the city of Rome. It's where many of the supplies needed to keep the million or so inhabitants of the capital alive were hauled ashore. And it had then the seedy reputation that most big ports have even now. In the early 2nd Century, the satirist Juvenal (admittedly one of the grumpiest old men of the ancient world) bemoaned the kind of clientele you'd meet in an Ostian bar: "Thugs, thieves, runaway slaves, hangmen, coffin makers", and, not so common in a modern port, maybe, "eunuch priests".
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