This page houses snippets from some of the recent projects I’ve been working on.
As part of the Digital Department at L – P: Archaeology, I have had the opportunity to be involved in the open source development of the ARK (Archaeological Recording Kit) project. ARK, with the help of several developers, is a web-based ‘toolkit’ for the collection, storage and dissemination of archaeological data. It includes data-editing, data-creation, data-viewing and data-sharing tools, all of which are delivered using a web-based front-end.
It is designed to be adaptable to any digital or paper-based recording system, so does not dictate what or how the archaeologist records at a given site. Rather it provides a framework, an interface and a set of pre-fabricated digital tools for archaeological recording and data dissemination according to the unique needs of any given project. Based on industry standard data technologies (Apache/MySQL/PHP), ARK is completely opensource and standards-compliant.
Several projects have successfully implemented the ARK database for their online cultural heritage needs, including commercial and academic projects such as FASTI Online, the Portus Project, and the Prescot Street Dig.
The current version of ARK is hosted on Sourceforge. ARK is set for the version 1.0 release in Spring 2011 and is looking for any potential collaborators that are interested in getting involved. More information can be found on the ARK website.
In July 2010, in collaboration with L – P: Archaeology, the University of Southampton, and the Çatalhöyük Research Project I got the great priveledge of surveying along the East Mound at the site of Çatalhöyük, Turkey. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the site, in short, it’s an amazing Neolithic tell site in central Turkey most famous for dense living spaces and its spectacular preservation of wall paintings and art dating from 7,500 B.C.
The site has been reopened to archaeological investigation since 1993 by an international team of archaeologists led by Prof. Ian Hodder. More information on the amazing excavation can be found here at Çatalhöyük’s website .
For more information on the current geophysical study being conducted at Çatalhöyük, see my recent post.
The Portus Project
The project is under the direction of Prof. Simon Keay, Dr. Graeme Earl, and Martin Millett and funded by the AHRC in collaboration with the University of Southampton, Cambridge University, the British School at Rome and the Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma. The 3 year excavations of the Imperial Port of Rome, located in present day Fiumicino, Italy, began in 2006, although intensive geophysical survey was carried out at Portus starting in the early 2000′s by the British School at Rome in collaboration with the Archaeological Prospection Services of Southampton (APSS). Many seasons of survey have been conducted at Portus since that time, with an aim at using large-scale multi-sensor approaches to investigating subsurface features within the archaeological park. Methods used to date include: fluxgate gradiometry, electrical resistivity tomography, resistivity, ground-penetrating radar, and aerial photography including near-infared. Many people and institutions have come together to make these surveys possible, and more information can be found about them at the Portus Project website.
My involvement with Portus Project began in 2007 as a Masters student at the University of Southampton’s program in Archaeological Computing and Spatial Analysis. As I became increasingly interested in geophysical survey, and many discussions with one of my advisors Dr. Graeme Earl, it was suggested that I investigate emerging methods (at the time) for integrating large-scale multi-sensor remote sensing data at the site of Portus. As the fluxgate gradiometry data was already collected, in Spring of 2008 I set out with the BSR and APSS to conduct a 2 ha resistivity and GPR survey in the area surrounding the excavations of the 2007 season at the Imperial Palace. With the three data sets, I then explored various data fusion methods for combining and integrating the data. My involvement with the project continued after the handing in of my MSc dissertation in the Fall of 2008, as I went on to do a Research Assistantship at the BSR afterwards, and returned to the site of Portus for many more ‘seasons’ of geophysical survey during 2009 and early 2010. The project has published quite regularly on the survey methods and results, (including articles in Archaeological Prospection and various conference proceedings) and I have published on the initial results of the data fusion (see proceedings from the Computing Applications in Archaeology- CAA 2009). However I have attempted here to publish a more personal account of the process of surveying, processing, and integrating such a large-scale data set. I hope to describe (in forthcoming posts) some of the difficulties and successes in which I met during the research, with the aim of disseminating the sort of information that never quite makes it into official publications.
The Herculaneum Conservation Project is a project that I became involved with during my research assistantship at the British School at Rome in 2009. For those unfamiliar with the project, the aims of the project are quoted below from the BSR introduction to HCP:
“The overall aim of the Herculaneum Conservation Project (HCP) is to support the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei (SAP), to safeguard and conserve, to enhance, and to advance the knowledge, understanding and public appreciation of the ancient site of Herculaneum and its artefacts.”
The survey was conducted by the British School at Rome in collaboration with the Archaeological Prospection Services of Southampton on the behalf of HCP. The aims of the survey were primarily to explore and detect the nature and trajectory of 18th century Bourbon tunnels within the area of the Basilica Noniana and the Decumanus Massimo, prior to the commencement of their excavation in January 2009. The survey included a ground-penetrating radar (GPR) survey with 250 and 100 MHz antennas and an electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) survey near the site of the Basilica Noniana. A project report was written up by myself and Kristian Strutt (APSS) and the team is now in the process of putting together a BSR monograph publication on the results for this survey as well as a later survey which was conducted in 2009 at Pompeii.
A further project description can also be found on the University of Southampton’s Archaeological Computing Research Group website.
Acknowledgements: This work was carried out in the context of the Herculaneum Conservation Project, a Packard Humanities Institute initiative in collaboration with the Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei and the British School at Rome.