World Archaeology Congress paper


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World Archaeology Congress paper

  1. 1. Recording a fragile past The Portable Antiquities Scheme Daniel Pett
  2. 2. Who am I and what do I? <ul><li>I work for the Portable Antiquities Scheme </li></ul><ul><li>Responsible for Scheme’s ICT </li></ul><ul><li>Run the largest archaeological database of artefacts ever created online (that we know of!) </li></ul><ul><li>Have access to over 338,000 objects and176,000 images </li></ul><ul><li>I provide advice to the British Museum on web technologies and GIS </li></ul><ul><li>Try to provide innovative applications for our audiences </li></ul>
  3. 3. What do we do? <ul><li>Founded in 1996, in 6 pilot areas </li></ul><ul><li>Went National in 2003 with 36 recording officers known as Finds Liaison Officers </li></ul><ul><li>Record objects found by members of the public </li></ul><ul><li>Run outreach events to promote best practice </li></ul><ul><li>Work with National bodies to promote archaeology </li></ul><ul><li>Employ 50 people in archaeology with a huge range of talents </li></ul>
  4. 4. Why is the Scheme important? <ul><li>Provides unique research material for England and Wales (in one place!) </li></ul><ul><li>Has a proven track record for attracting AHRC funding for second and third degrees </li></ul><ul><li>Records data that would otherwise be lost to archaeologists </li></ul><ul><li>It is the only project of its type in the world </li></ul>
  5. 5. Is it any good?
  6. 6. Awards <ul><li>In 2000, the Scheme won the Silver Trowel at the British Archaeology Awards </li></ul><ul><li>In 2008, the Head of the Scheme was awarded an OBE for services to Heritage </li></ul>
  7. 7. What people say! David Lammy MP, Former Minister for Culture, said ‘ Metal detectorists […] Thanks to the responsible approach they display in reporting finds and the systems we have set up to record them, more archaeological material is available for all to seeat museums or to study online.’ Neil MacGregor Director, the British Museum said ‘ This huge increase in finds is testimony to the success of the Treasure Act and the Portable Antiquities Scheme and makes a crucial contribution to our understanding of our past. Mark Fisher, MP (Lab.) ‘ Over the past 10 years, the field of antiquities in England and Wales has been transformed-there is no other word for it- by the Treasure Act 1996 and by the portable antiquities scheme. Mike Heyworth, MBE, Director of the CBA ‘ Too good to become history…’ British Archaeology 100
  8. 8. Research in progress <ul><li>12 PhDs - 5 funded as CDAs </li></ul><ul><li>3 AHRC projects - 1 at UCL </li></ul><ul><li>28 Masters </li></ul><ul><li>13 Undergraduates </li></ul><ul><li>12 internal projects </li></ul><ul><li>You could join these researchers - ask me afterwards </li></ul>
  9. 9. Objects by period
  10. 10. Objects by year Note 2007 - After 3 months, nearly 30K objects - extrapolated that makes 120K for this year (very unlikely!)
  11. 11. Treasure cases by year Foot & Mouth outbreak
  12. 12. What do we record?
  13. 16. A typical record High quality description Multiple images Reference material Spatial data if you have the correct acess rights Metrics and discovery
  14. 17. Mapping public discovery
  15. 18. How many people do we reach via the internet? <ul><li>Year Unique Visitors Number of visits Pages viewed Pages per visit </li></ul><ul><li>2004 84,174 289,595 4,847,892 16 </li></ul><ul><li>2005 152,711 555,289 9,639,621 18 </li></ul><ul><li>247,103 720,369 15,469,127 21 </li></ul><ul><li>Steady increase all round - </li></ul><ul><li>estimated 8-10,000 detectorists so we reach thousands of people per annum who do not indulge in collecting or discovering artefacts </li></ul>
  16. 19. The Scheme as a content provider
  17. 20. Reuse of our data
  18. 21. Data feeds <ul><li>Since 2003 RSS feeds have been offered for nearly everything we produce </li></ul><ul><li>JSON feeds and XML now available </li></ul><ul><li>Database being rebuilt in 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>By December an api will be available </li></ul><ul><li>All data and the database itself will become more accessible </li></ul>
  19. 22. Licenced data: Content provided under
  20. 23. Where else is our content used? Online: BRICKS - finds identifier People’s Network Discovery Service Offline: Academic journals, papers, original research, desk based assessments, etc Where else could our content be used? The new British Museum website - for example, departmental pages could have recent finds that relate to their period (RSS or OAI-PMH to search our dbase) The 24 Hour Museum - for example local museum pages could have feeds of local finds (RSS) Local society websites Historic Environment Record - XML or OAI-PMH Web mashups - plot PAS finds, against Oxford Archaeology WMS, vs Megalithic Portal vs Museum locations (not done yet before you ask!)
  21. 24. Latest Scheme updates sent to Twitter; e.g. Finds of note Latest blog posts ( ) Updates from relating to us
  22. 25. The Scheme has a group and a page. It accounts for >2% of our incoming referrers. When our funding troubles began, the public created a “ Save the Portable Antiquity Scheme ” group (700+ members) and 2 petitions on the Parliamentary site (>2000 signatures)
  23. 26. Image dissemination <ul><li>Photos from annual reports, press launches etc are released under CC at: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Feel free to tag or annotate them. </li></ul>
  24. 27. Example usage of flickr feed
  25. 28. Leveraging our data <ul><li>Each staff member has their own profile page </li></ul><ul><li>Their latest records and stats are presented on their pages </li></ul>
  26. 29. Roman coin guide High res image Reece period of coin Number of coins of this issuer (dynamic update)
  27. 30. Coin knowledge Database tells us what denoms possible Active mints under this issuer Last 1o examples of their coins recorded
  28. 31. Zoom & pan
  29. 32. Mapping our data on the web
  30. 33. Google mapping
  31. 34. Same data – google maps
  32. 35. Data viewed in Google Earth
  33. 36. External archaeological use This is where it gets interesting…..
  34. 37. The end. Visit our website @ Contact me: [email_address]