Resources

Least-cost Paths – Some Methodological Issues

Internet Archaeology - Mon, 2014-07-14 14:46
This article deals with methodological issues connected with least-cost path (LCP) calculations in archaeology.
Categories: Resources

Happy Birthday! Coflein is ten years old

Heritage of Wales News - Mon, 2014-07-14 11:30
On 13 July 2004 Alun Pugh, then the Welsh Assembly Minister for Culture, Sport and the Welsh Language, launched Coflein – the online database of the National Monuments Record of Wales. In his speech to an audience at Crickhowell House, the predecessor of the Senedd Building as the home of the Welsh Assembly, the Minister described the service and the ground-breaking SWISH (Shared Web Information Services for Heritage) partnership that brought it into being. This partnership, between the Welsh Royal Commission and its counterpart organisation in Scotland, still manages Coflein, as well as other services such as Historic Wales, and has been responsible for the site’s development over the past 10 years.

The original SWISH Team in 2004 responsible for developing Coflein. The photograph includes project managers and database developers from the Royal Commissions in Scotland and Wales.
As the online version of the database of the National Monument Record of Wales, Coflein provides access to its collections on the archaeology, historic architecture, industrial and maritime heritage of Wales. When it was launched information was available on 64,000 sites. In the intervening years, because of the Royal Commission’s ongoing recording, surveying and data enhancement work, this figure has risen to almost 110,000. The figure for the increase in access to digital resources from the archive is even more remarkable. At the launch in 2004 around 3000 images were accessible. In 2014 over 105,000 digital items are available, including scanned images, maps and manuscripts as well as digital photographs. This reflects the focus on digitisation in the Commission and the change in photographic practice over the past 10 years that means all our photography is now digital. Working practices ensure that material collected in the field is rapidly made available on Coflein.

Because of the ongoing nature of the SWISH partnership, the site has evolved over the past 10 years. In 2008 changes to the underlying technology and design of the front-end allowed a major refresh to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Commission. This was followed in 2011 by a revised mapping application that allowed integration of text and map-based queries. In 2012, direct searching of the catalogue was enabled, allowing users to gather information from specific collections or contributors, in addition to existing site-based querying. Further planned developments include integration of an enquiry and e-commerce system, and the inclusion of historic maps in the mapping application.

The new mapping application, launched in 2011, allows integrated map and text searching. The photograph, of St Anne’s Lighthouse in Pembrokeshire, is one of more than 105,000 digital items from the NMRW now available on Coflein.
Recently the technology behind Coflein has been developed to serve content to other websites. People’s Collection Wales, a website that aggregates material from heritage organisations, historical societies and individuals across Wales includes nearly 10,000 items served directly from Coflein. National Monument Record information can therefore be viewed alongside items from the National Library, National Museum and other contributors. The Britain from Above website uses material from the Aerofilms Collection of the National Monuments Record of Wales alongside similar material from collections in England and Scotland as part of a UK-wide project featuring aerial photographs from 1919 to 1953 from this unique collection. The SWISH partnership itself has also developed Historic Wales, a map-based website that gathers together records from holders of information from the historic environment across Wales, including Cadw, the four Welsh Archaeological Trusts and the National Museum Wales.

Direct catalogue searching has been possible since 2012. Material from the Aerofilms Collection has been used to populate the Britain from Above website alongside material from corresponding collections in England and Scotland.
The use of Coflein has grown steadily since its launch. In the last year there have been over a million page views and over 300,000 users. Feedback from users has usually been positive, and we have received lots of additional information about sites across the country, as well as a few corrections! If you’re a regular user, then thank you for using Coflein, if you’re not then why not give it a go!

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Categories: Resources

Call for Volunteers in the Swansea Area!

Heritage of Wales News - Wed, 2014-07-09 14:18
Saturday 12 July, 2014

Sarahjayne Clements, the Royal Commission’s CBA Community Archaeologist, is looking for volunteers to interview for an oral histories project she is running in Swansea with the Young Archaeologist Club. They would like to record memories of the city and scan any old photographs that you might have. They are also interested in any First World War memories, photographs and memorabilia that you may have. If you are able to help with this community project, please contact sarahjayne.clements@rcahmw.gov.uk  Tel: 07817575005.

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Aerofilms: Britain from Above comes to Cardiff Airport

Heritage of Wales News - Tue, 2014-07-08 12:12
Francis Lewis Wills, pilot Jerry Shaw and Claude Friese-Greene in a DH9B biplane, July 1919
© English Heritage. Aerofilms Collection AFL03/Aerofilms/C12930.From now – 7 November, 2014

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales has a fascinating exhibition of historic images now on display at Cardiff Airport. Appropriately located in this modern busy airport, the Wales Aerofilms: Britain from Above exhibition draws on historic aerial images from across Wales. From this exhibition, throughout the airport, travellers will encounter breath-taking images drawn from the unique archive of the Aerofilms Collection, dating from 1919 to 2006. Set up in the early years of aviation, Aerofilms’ founders ─ daredevil veterans from the First World War ─ were pioneers of the air, establishing the world’s first commercial air photographic business. A collection of adventurers, showmen and aviation enthusiasts, the firm married the fledgling technology of flight to the discipline of photography. From the very start of operations, Aerofilms took photographs of virtually every settlement and landscape that it flew over. Acquired for the nation in 2007 by English Heritage and the Royal Commissions on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales and Scotland, and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the collection contains over one million images and presents an unparalleled picture of the changing face of Britain in the twentieth century.

In parallel with national exhibitions also being held in Edinburgh, Hendon and Birmingham, the Wales exhibition now being held at Cardiff Airport will include: an image-rich introduction to the Aerofilms Collection, a wide-ranging presentation on Cardiff Then and Now, and iconic photographs of Welsh sites, including the Edwardian castles that are now World Heritage Sites. Where possible period views have been matched with the Royal Commission’s modern aerial photographs to prompt reflection on the meaning and impact of change, place and memory.


Aerofilms attending a promotional event, National Aviation Day Display, 1930s
© English Heritage. Aerofilms Collection AFL03/Aerofilms/B5794.
Oystermouth Castle, Swansea, 1947
Oystermouth Castle was founded in c.1107. This photograph shows the castle overgrown and surrounded by allotments, presumably established for the war effort. The allotment gardens are still cultivated and the castle has been restored.
© Crown Copyright RCAHMW. WAW007664, NPRN: 94508
Cardiff Civic Centre, 1920
The fine Civic Centre buildings in Cathays Park, Cardiff, showing  the City Hall, the Law Courts, and  the National Museum, which was then under construction and did not open until 1927.
© Crown Copyright RCAHMW. WPW001008, NPRN: 401617
Cardiff Civic Centre, 2006
Cardiff’s fine Civic Centre at Cathays Park, with the university buildings, National Museum, City Hall, Law Courts and Government Offices, and with the Welsh National War Memorial at its centre.
© Crown Copyright RCAHMW. AP_2006_1824Cardiff Arms Park, 1947
Cardiff Arms Park served as the Welsh National Rugby Stadium for nearly 30 years until 1997, but its rugby history dates back to 1881 when stands were first erected on the site.
© Crown Copyright RCAHMW. WAW005393, NPRN: 3064
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Categories: Resources

December 2011: Heathrow Terminal 5 Excavation Archive released.

Archaeology Data Service - Wed, 2011-12-07 17:45
The ADS and Framework Archaeology are pleased to announce the release of Heathrow Terminal 5 Excavation Archive, 2011. Framework Archaeology is a Joint Venture agreement between Oxford Archaeology (OA) and Wessex Archaeology (WA) to provide archaeological services to BAA. Between 1996 and 2000 they undertook extensive excavations of an important prehistoric and Roman landscape at Perry Oaks sludge works, Heathrow, Middlesex. Further archaeological work in advance of a fifth passenger terminal ('T5') at Heathrow Airport took place from 2002 onwards, and the results of those excavations will be integrated with the data contained in this archive.
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November 2011: York Archaeology wins Queen's Anniversary Prize

Archaeology Data Service - Wed, 2011-12-07 17:45
The Department of Archaeology at York University, which hosts the ADS, has been given a Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education. Introduced following the 40th Anniversary of the Queen's reign in 1992, the prizes, which rank alongside the Queen's Awards for Industry are awarded biennially for 'work of exceptional quality and of broad benefit either nationally or internationally'. This is the fifth to be conferred on the university in 15 years, only the second time it has been awarded to a whole Department.
Categories: Resources

December 2011: Settlement Hierarchies in Roman Essex data online.

Archaeology Data Service - Wed, 2011-12-07 17:45
The ADS, ASE, English Heritage and UCL are pleased to announce the release of Town and Country in Roman Essex: Settlement Hierarchies in Roman Essex datasets, This is a large scale regional study based on correspondence analysis of finds assemblages, including coins, pottery, registered finds, animal bone and vessel glass. Data was primarily gathered from existing published or archive sources and was collected from sites in Essex, south-east Cambridgeshire and London dating to the period c 50BC-AD250. The database includes linked tables on small finds, glass, pottery and coins, as well as for the following aspects of the animal bone assemblages: NSIP, MNI, tooth-wear, MNE and metrics for bone elements.
Categories: Resources

November 2011: CAA Recycle Awards announced

Archaeology Data Service - Wed, 2011-12-07 17:45
Do you use ADS data in your research? If so then the CAA Recycle award should be of interest.CAA believes that any vibrant discipline must continually return to its own roots and re-evaluate legacy data if it is to progress. Furthermore, in the field of Archaeology it provides a far less destructive means of researching the past, and maximizes the return on resources invested in fieldwork. Digital technologies have a particularly strong role to play in this regard, thanks to their ability to synthesize large volumes of information and because they often apply new techniques unavailable to the original investigators. To this end, CAA is commencing an annual CAA Recycle Award that seeks to recognize those who breathe new life into old data.
Categories: Resources

November 2011: Parts and Wholes Project archive released

Archaeology Data Service - Fri, 2011-12-02 16:45
The ADS, The British Academy and Durham University are pleased to announce the release of Parts and Wholes: object categorisation and fragmentation in prehistoric context by J C Chapman and Bisserka Gaydarska, 2011. The 'Parts and Wholes' project is concerned with the relationship between complete objects and their fragments. The primary premise of the project can be concisely stated: deliberate object fragmentation was commonplace in the past, with widespread re-use of the ensuing fragments in an extended life 'after the break'. The project studied the artefact assemblages from Chalcolithic sites at Dolnoslav tell and the Durankulak and Varna cemeteries in Bulgaria.
Categories: Resources

October 2011: Historic Seascape Characterisation, Hastings to Purbeck

Archaeology Data Service - Thu, 2011-12-01 12:45
The ADS, SeaZone Solutions and English Heritage are pleased to announce the release of the Hastings to Purbeck and Adjacent Waters archive by SeaZone Solutions Limited, Maritime Archaeology Ltd, 2011.The project resulted in a GIS-based characterisation of the project area, extending from Hastings, Kent, to Purbeck, Dorset, along the coast and seaward across adjacent waters to the Median Line with France.
Categories: Resources

October 2011: The Virtual Amarna Project now released.

Archaeology Data Service - Thu, 2011-11-24 13:45
The ADS, the University of Arkansas and Barry Kemp are pleased to announce the release of The Virtual Amarna Project. This archive resulted from the 3D digitisation of objects from the ancient Egyptian city of Amarna using a Konica Minolta Vivid 9i system. Data includes images, 3D PDF files, meshes (obj) and point clouds (ascii). This archive was undertaken in conjunction with an electronic publication through the LEAP II project and the corresponding article (Limp et al, 2011) can be found in Internet Archaeology 30.
Categories: Resources

October 2011: Historic Seascape Characterisation, The Irish Sea (English sector)

Archaeology Data Service - Mon, 2011-10-31 15:45
The ADS, the University of Newcastle and English Heritage are pleased to announce the release of the Historic Seascape Characterisation: The Irish Sea (English sector) archive by Sam Turner, 2011. The project comprises a GIS-based historic seascape characterisation (HSC) of the English sector of the Irish Sea. HSC is guided by the same principles as Historic Landscape Characterisation, and is intended to inform coastal and marine management and planning, with particular reference to the role of English Heritage and its statutory responsibilities.
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September 2011: Midlands ceramic project archive released

Archaeology Data Service - Tue, 2011-10-18 11:45
The ADS, Worcestershire Historic Environment, English Heritage and the Royal Archaeological Institute are pleased to announce the release of the Midlands purple and Cistercian-type wares in the west Midlands in the 15th-16th centuries by Susan M Wright, Derek Hurst, 2011. This project aimed to develop understanding of a major ceramics industry, its products being some of the commonest wares on late medieval to post-medieval (transitional) sites though it is an industry whose origins, dating and distribution are not sufficiently well understood.
Categories: Resources

August 2011: Medieval Britain and Ireland database updated

Archaeology Data Service - Thu, 2011-10-06 12:45
This searchable on-line database of fieldwork summaries has just been updated to include data from fieldwork carried out in 2009. Individual database records link through to unpublished reports in our on-line library of grey literature reports where appropriate. Updates to the Post-Medieval Fieldwork in Britain and Northern Ireland database will follow shortly.
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August 2011: Southampton's Designated Archaeology Collections

Archaeology Data Service - Mon, 2011-10-03 12:45
Three new archives from excavations in Southampton have been added to this collection. The excavations were carried out in 2008 and 2009 by Thames Valley Archaeological Services and Southern Archaeological Services Ltd and cover sites at 20-26 College Street, Woolston Riverside and The 'Coach House' on Bevois Valley Road. Files available for download include reports, photographs and CAD diagrams.
Categories: Resources

August 2011: Vernacular Architecture Group Bibliography and Cruck database updated

Archaeology Data Service - Mon, 2011-09-12 17:45
These two resources from the Vernacular Architecture Group have been updated with new data and revisions. Some interface changes have also been implemented in order to make the searchable databases easier to use.
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Editorial

European Journal of Archaeology - Tue, 2010-12-21 16:56
Categories: Resources

Negotiating the Past in the Present: Italian Prehistory, Civic Museums, and Curatorial Practice in Emilia-Romagna, Italy

European Journal of Archaeology - Tue, 2010-12-21 16:56

The latter half of the nineteenth century witnessed the establishment of prehistoric archaeology as a scientific discipline in Italy, as well as the founding of the Italian nation state. Evolutionism, positivism, and a sense of national identity informed prehistoric research and the activities of individuals, such as Strobel, Pigorini, and Chierici, who are regarded today as the founding fathers of Italian prehistory. It is in this dynamic cultural and political climate that the civic museums of Reggio Emilia, Modena, and Bologna were created, both as a response to intense local archaeological activity and in reaction to the centralizing structure of the newly formed kingdom of Italy. These civic museums were among the first museums of prehistory in Italy and the products of the cultural and political climate of late nineteenth-century Europe. This article explores the circumstances surrounding the foundation of these museums and considers how the work of the first prehistorians and the museums’ own histories, as civic and cultural institutions, continues to affect their role and management in the present.

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War Crime or Elite Burial: Interpretations of Human Skeletons Within the Late La Tene Settlement Basel-Gasfabrik, Basel, Switzerland

European Journal of Archaeology - Tue, 2010-12-21 16:56

The case study presents completely different interpretations of the same archaeological evidence. Reasons for that are not only the state of knowledge and the possibilities of research, but also the impact of changes in the socio-political climate and varying theoretical traditions. The examples are taken from the Late La Tène settlement Basel-Gasfabrik, which has been excavated for almost 100 years. The study focuses on a number of more or less complete human skeletons from sunken features inside the settlement. This phenomenon prompted the archaeologists to find explanations for this apparent exception to the ancient rule of burying the dead outside the settlements. The interpretations of this ‘abnormal’ burial practice range from victims of war to burials of the members of the élite. The discussion continues on the basis of the synopsis of all verifiable options of dealing with the dead and includes evidence from similar sites elsewhere.

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The Spatial Analysis of Non-Ceramic Refuse From the Neolithic Site At Bylany, Czech Republic

European Journal of Archaeology - Tue, 2010-12-21 16:56

This article aims to provide an interpretation of the structure and spatial patterning of the non-ceramic refuse from the Neolithic site of Bylany. The data are considered at three levels: tackling questions of refuse management and deposition in the vicinity of houses; the spatial distribution of refuse within the settlement area as a whole; and the quantity and structure of non-ceramic refuse from a long-term settlement perspective. The analysed assemblage of non-ceramic finds is divided into five categories: chipped stone, polished stone, whetstones, manos/metates, and other stones without use-wear traces. The analysis is based on GIS and multivariate statistics. The spatial distribution and quantity of refuse are analysed with respect to space (in terms of proximity to Neolithic houses and the whole of the excavated settlement area) and time (the duration of settlement in six chronological stages). No deliberate pattern of refuse management was identified in the vicinity of the houses, but the refuse was found to have a tendency towards peripheral grouping within the settled area as a whole. Refuse quantity depends on the number of houses and settlement duration. The negative correlation between the mean density of non-ceramic artefacts per house and the number of houses in corresponding chronological stages may be explained by the interpretation that refuse was commonly deposited within abandoned houses, which would be consistent with ethnoarchaeological observations.

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