The iPad is an ideal tool for field archaeology.

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

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Researchers investigate world’s oldest human footprints with software designed to decode crime scenes


Researchers at Bournemouth University have developed a new software technique to uncover 'lost' tracks, hidden in plain sight at the world's oldest human footprint site in Laetoli (Tanzania). The software has revealed new information about the shape of the tracks and has found hints of a previously undiscovered fourth track-maker at the site. 


The Laetoli tracks were discovered by Mary Leakey in 1976 and are thought to be  around 3.6 million years old. There are two parallel trackways on the site, where two  ancient hominins walked across the surface. One of these trackways was obscured  when a third person followed the same path [Credit: Bournemouth University] 

The software was developed as part of a Natural Environments Research Council (NERC) Innovation Project awarded to Professor Matthew Bennett and Dr Marcin Budka in 2015 for forensic footprint analysis. They have been developing techniques to enable modern footwear evidence to be captured in three-dimensions and analysed digitally to improve crime scene practice.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

People power: how citizen science could change historical research


Crowdsourcing research by ‘non-specialists’ could help historians investigate big-data archives, and in the process make everyone an expert



Citizen science is a digital method, which has been applied to a range of big-data scientific problems. The Zooniverse is a key player in this; having first sought the help of the crowd in classifying galaxies almost a decade ago, it now boasts 47 different projects with well over a million users. The projects hosted on their site have been bringing to the forefront concerns over who exactly is allowed to participate in science.

Even though the hierarchical structure of professional science still remains within most citizen science platforms (with the exception of the extreme citizen science movement), they have had the result of giving everyone access to the raw data of research, and an opportunity to demonstrate and develop expertise.

The methods of citizen science are now starting to be used for humanities projects. Citizen Humanities is opening up the vast archives of history to the public. A repercussion of this development is that it leads to questions as to who gets to participate in researching history, and what it means to be an expert.

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Friday, April 22, 2016

3D print of Oetzi the Ice Man revealed

One of three replicas of Oetzi the Iceman created for teaching purposes by Gary Staab, from resin and mixed media. Photo: http://www.staabstudios.com/

Scientists presented Wednesday a life-sized copy, made using a 3D printer, of Oetzi the mummified 5,000-year-old "iceman" found in the Alps 25 years ago.
Pre-existing CT scans were used to make the resin replica which was then sculpted and hand-painted by US artist Gary Staab over many months, the South Tyrol Museum of Archeology, where Oetzi is housed, said.
"The reconstruction of the hands was a challenge, since they could not be captured on CT scans," the museum in Bolzano, northern Italy said.
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