Category Archives: Archaeology

Digging the Dead…City: The Caere Project and the Excavation of Etruscan Ruins

Our latest post is written by one of our newest MA students, Kevin Lee.  We’re happy to have him helping out with the project and it sounds like he has an amazing time digging every summer!


You’ve heard of the famous Banditaccia necropolis at Cerveteri no doubt.  You know, rows and rows of Etruscan tombs and tumuli about 40 minutes northwest of Rome?  A veritable city of the dead?  Home of the friendliest stray dog and worst hamburger in the Repubblica italiana?

IMGA0459No?  Well, humor me anyway.  Suppose you wanted to visit this fabled land where the Etruscans of ancient Cerveteri laid their dead to rest and left them some goodies to enjoy in the afterlife until two millennia later when archaeologists so thoughtfully came in and jacked it all.  Imagine yourself in Rome’s Trastevere station (I choose that one instead of Termini because I’ve noticed Termini inspires very…mixed feelings, let us say, among those who have experienced its unique charms).  If you hop an FL5 train towards Civitavecchia and ride it out for about 20 minutes, you’ll arrive at a station called Marina di Cerveteri.  You disembark, and find yourself in a whitewashed resort town that has no intention of leaving the ‘70s, and realize this is not where you want to be.  So you follow the locals to the nearest intersection and catch that friendly-looking municipal bus which has enough legroom for people approximately 1 micron in width and ride it up the hill to Piazza Aldo Moro.  Ah, now you’re in Cerveteri itself, with that stately medieval castle of the Ruspoli clan to your left and the outdoor café to your right where the elders of the town seem to be practicing their age-old art of staring directly through you.  A pleasant walk around the medieval borgo and along the Via della Necropoli, lined with enough stone pines to make Virgil’s shade wax poetic, and within half an hour you’ve arrived at the Banditaccia’s gate.

Or you could just take a car or go with a tour group, but that would just be too easy, wouldn’t it?

IMGA0400If you’re lucky a huge white and well-fed Great Pyrenees will lop up to you at the gate, tongue lolling out, and roll over begging for pets on a stomach caked with approximately 5 years’ worth of unwashed dirt.  Inside you’ll walk among and through an array of tombs so varied and whimsical you’ll expect a purple-suited Gene Wilder to pop out of the Mengarelli Tumulus and start singing “Come with me, and you’ll be, in a worlllld of pure imagination.” Within moments you too will fall in love with (or at least be fascinated by…or slightly interested in) the Etruscans, and as you sit at the visitor center eating a dry hamburger whose thickness could have been used by Demokritos to demonstrate his concept of the atom, you’ll ponder this ancient people whom romantic writers like George Dennis and D.H. Lawrence liltingly lionized as peaceful, nature-loving hill-elf folk before those nasty Romans came with their laws and sewer systems.

10474856_10152429319705091_6191531623096349725_nThese are the people I’ve dug for the past three summers.  While my interest as broadly conceived is comparative urbanism across the ancient Near East and Mediterranean, my practical focus has been on digging Etruscans and Etruscan accessories.  Contrary to the notions of Dennis and Lawrence, the Etruscans were not Na’vi antici, but as Livy will be happy to tell you perfectly predisposed to some good old-fashioned cattle-rustlin’ in Roman territory, wars, and to becoming kings who made the Romans build those impressive sewers (the gall!).  They also weren’t particularly nature-loving in the modern sense.  On my first dig in 2012 at Poggio Civitate, the site of an Etruscan manor house in northern Etruria approximately 20 kilometers from Siena, our director, Dr. Anthony Tuck, would point to all the surrounding hills and note the relatively scrubby growth, saying “That’s in part because the Etruscans who owned this hill clear-cut the whole area to fuel their workshop.”  That ought to make James Cameron think he didn’t evil-up his cartoonishly villainous space miners enough.  Whereas they left intact large swaths of alien jungle in spite of their futuristic earth-movers and giant Tonka trucks, their 2,000+ year-old ancestors far outstripped them with little more than iron axes.  And using nothing more than those axes and their grit, the southern cousins of the Poggio Civitate lords cleared the defensible Cerveteri plateau and established one of the major cities of the ancient Mediterranean atop it.

While the Etruscans had a multitude of names for this city (e.g., Kaisra, Cisra, Kysry, etc.) the Romans knew it as Caere, and that is the name that has stuck.  Up until recently, the focus in Etruscan archaeology has been their tombs, as those were the big remains which captured the attention of earlier investigators.  Little overall was known about their settlements and cities, which, being made largely of perishable materials such as wood and mudbrick, were not as sexy to early researchers as those decorated tombs a short walk away.  Recently the winds have been shifting in favor of more Etruscan settlement archaeology, and the Caere Project is part of that wave.  I have dug there for the past two seasons, in 2013 and 2014.  The excavation is held near the approximate geographic center of the ancient city, in close proximity to the Roman theater built during the reign of Claudius as well as a large elliptical structure of uncertain status (council chamber? Ritual hub?) and two large Etruscan sanctuaries tentatively identified as being dedicated to Uni (Juno) and Cel (Tellus).

While today the area the Caere Project excavates is beneath a former vineyard, in the Etruscan and Roman periods it was home to a subterranean ritual space termed “the Hypogeum of Clepsina” by the project, after an inscription to the left of the entrance mentioning renovations during the tenure of the praefect Gaius Genucius Clepsina in 273 B.C.  Interestingly, just because the hypogeum was subterranean does not mean it was a room without a view. Excavations in 2012 revealed windows that looked out onto a great lustral basin.  Based on calculations made by the project director, Dr. Fabio Colivicchi, the hypogeum is aligned so that on the Winter Solstice, the Sun directly illuminates the a niche, where an altar or other ritual fixture may have once stood, flanked by painted palm trees.  Furthermore, echoes during the excavation process suggested the presence of more subterranean spaces beneath the hypogeum.

IMGA0434As exciting as it would be to excavate an underground complex, the paperwork and expense for such an undertaking is massive, so our Indiana Jonesing must wait and for the past two years the project has focused on the easier task of excavating the urban fabric surrounding the hypogeum.  In 2013 we dug the area south of the hypogeum, which contained a major road used during the Roman and Etruscan periods, on both sides of which were remains that suggest mixed domestic-production areas.  A small subterranean room with a pillar altar as well as a 6 meter-deep cistern and well were found on the south side, while a structure containing fragments of bronze and a corner pool (forge?) was found north of the road.  In 2014, we excavated a smaller and more concentrated area directly north of the hypogeum.  In spite of the plowing damage from early modern vine trenches and the modern town’s aqueduct pipe which blew right through the middle of our trench, we uncovered several structural remains, including a drain, a platform of some sort, and, most intriguingly, a c. 8th century B.C. hut, the oldest evidence to date of habitation on the plateau.  Unfortunately I did not get to investigate the hut, as my area was the very messy zone of mixed contexts (and thus relatively useless for analysis), the product of industrious plowing by the site’s medieval and early modern occupants.

The site has produced some fantastic finds for learning about the urban context of a southern Etruscan city: painted terra cottas, a wealth of pottery, utilitarian and otherwise, and votive heads, to name a few categories.  The spread is also interesting to note.  In the southern area excavated in 2013, most of the finds could be dated to the Roman period.  In the northern area excavated in 2014, most of the finds could be dated to the earlier Etruscan period.  We know that Caere’s fortunes waxed and waned over time.  After the city was subsumed into the Roman Republic it lost much of its prestige, but remained an urban center into the Julio-Claudian dynasty when Claudius gave special attentions to the city as a historic center of Etruscan culture.  The city gradually withered afterwards, although some ritual activity at least persisted at the site during the Severan dynasty, as an inscription in the hypogeum suggests.  These areas are not very far apart, so it is interesting that the finds from one are predominantly Roman and those from the other predominantly Etruscan.  Since the finds are of a different age, this demonstrates changing site usage through time.

IMGA0476Thus stands the Caere Project.  It is set to continue for the foreseeable future.  While yours truly will not be returning there this summer, having already signed on to another dig, the project’s progress can be followed at its website.

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The Future of Archaeology: Why 3D Rendering is Virtually Vital

Since starting to research photogrammetry in preparation for Saturday’s International Archaeology Day workshop, I’ve realized a couple of crucial points. One is that 3D rendering of objects and landscapes is fast becoming a standard practice in archaeology and the second is that the process is one of the few archaeological processes that can be picked up at home with no investment other than your time.

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For our workshop we are using the free software 123DCatch, which has apps for computers, tablets and smartphones. The multi-platform app means that a student – if they have WiFi at the dig site – could potentially photograph and render in 3D on site and in mere minutes with their cell phone, producing detailed and accurate copies of artifacts or archaeological features that were once painstakingly drawn by hand.

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If you’ve read Kat’s post on her dig over the summer in Italy, you already know there is plenty of slow, painstaking work in archaeology; there is no substitute for the precise, methodical uncovering of artifacts and features long buried under the dirt. (Fun party trick – just mention Heinrich Schliemann’s excavation tactics and watch your archaeologist friends cringe in horror and dismay.) That’s not to say that archaeological geophysics isn’t making strides in its own right, but those methods can only be used to identify buried features; no push of a button is going to actually shift the dirt carefully enough that we can replace eager students “cleaning dirt off of dirt”.

800px-Excavations_in_El-Wad

But where we can save time – in surveys, in rendering the artifacts and features more precisely and in greater detail – we have an obligation to do so. This is not just a question of getting your excavation finished in good time, or even getting the results published. I keep coming back to what Tom Elliott said when opening the EAGLE Conference – that we are all working together as the antidote to the destruction of our shared cultural heritage. This isn’t just an academic’s attempt to justify their work – there are genuine threats to our cultural heritage and the preservation of it is necessary and vital.

The Associated Press reports the Islamic State has taken to destroying key archaeological sites in Iraq and Syria– much of which includes the ancient land of Mesopotamia– and subsidizing their income with black market sales of ancient artifacts. In addition to Mosul, the Islamic State controls four ancient cities — Nineveh, Kalhu, Dur Sharrukin and Ashur– which gives them nearly unbridled access to a treasure trove of statues, tiles, and other highly-coveted items by collectors. Nineveh alone contains 1,800 of Iraq’s 12,000 registered archaeological sites. (Brietbart.com Sept. 21, 2014)

We fully believe that any student heading out on a dig in the future should be armed with a basic knowledge of photogrammetry, given how easily accessible the software is and how simple it is to use. Our scholarly focus may be on the past, but we need to keep our eyes on the future at least in terms of the tools and techniques we use in the field.

Further reading:

 A Discussion of the Analytical Benefits of Image-Based 3D Modeling in Archaeology

Photogrammetry in Archaeology: Using the Future to Understand the Past in the Present

Digital Archaeology in the News:

3D Model of the Amphipolis Tomb

Beyond Ankor: How lasers revealed a lost city

 

 

 

 

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Bringing the Domitilla Catacomb out of the Dark: Photogrammetry in Action

The first presentation at the EAGLE Conference was by Antonio Enrico Felle and Norbert Zimmermann who work on the Domitilla Project in Rome, and it was arguably one of the most impressive projects I’ve ever seen at a conference. The project has been working since 2006 to create a full 3D model of the Domitilla catacomb, 12km of subterranean burials from the 2nd to 5th centuries CE, which showcases one of the largest inventories of catacomb painting from early Christianity in Rome.

The catacomb was founded by Flavia Domitilla, niece of the emperor Domitian in the 2nd c CE. Christian burials were forbidden within the walls of Rome, so these subterranean burials had to be outside the city limits and there are at least 40 outside of Rome that have been discovered to date. Today catacombs provide the best examples of early Christian art; the Domitilla catacomb itself has over 80 painted tombs, and in the 5th century CE an underground basilica was added and became a pilgrimage sanctuary for the graves of martyrs Nereus and Achilleus.

Flavia Domitilla van Terracina, Nereus en Achilleus, Peter Paul Ruebens 1608

Flavia Domitilla van Terracina, Nereus en Achilleus, Peter Paul Ruebens 1608

The project’s goal was to create a 3D scan of the catacomb in order to facilitate research of the paintings and inscriptions found within, but also so that each feature of the site – chamber, painting or inscription – could be properly geotagged with their exact location. This would allow archaeologists to date the chronological development of the catacomb based on the dates of the tombs, paintings and inscriptions with more precision than had previously been possible.

Domitilla Project

Domitilla Project

Beginning in 2006 with three scanning campaigns, the team set out to determine the viability of using 3D laserscanners to create a digital copy of the catacomb.

The scanner orientates itself on temporarily applied reflector points (Fig.1). In 360-degree panorama-scans it generates so-called point clouds, which reproduce the surrounding area of about 1 m distance as a 3D-structure. In order to connect several scans with each other, further scan positions with at least five already known reflector points are selected. At the same time as the scan, a digital camera mounted on the scanner produces photo data that can directly be applied onto the point cloud. The advantage of this method lies in the mobility of these point clouds, which can be viewed from the outside as well as the inside and which can be virtually entered. Depending on the projection and position, a ground plan, cross- and longitudinal sections and 3D views are retrievable.

Once successful tests had been completed, the team moved forward with the scanning – moving the laserscanner eight meters for each set of shots, the scanner would record 2,000 points at each set up. They estimate they did two months of post-processing for every two weeks of fieldwork, and scanning continued through the beginning of their 2009 season when they registered the 1,800 single scans into a comprehensive point cloud. The final point cloud for the entire catacomb model contains 2 billion points, each with digital coordinates. This means anyone searching the model can pinpoint exactly where each feature of interest is located, and brings the epigraphy, topography, archaeology and art history of the catacomb together in a single application. Now that the digital scanning is complete, they are working on bibliographic information on the paintings and the saints buried in the catacomb.

To create photorealistic 3D models of the fresco paintings, meshed models are calculated from the point clouds and high resolution digital photos are applied to the model:

Domitilla fresco of  the so-called Chamber of King David

Domitilla fresco of the so-called Chamber of King David

The future of the project is a joint venture working with Terapoints on creating high quality visualizations of large data sets, such as the Domitilla Catacomb, as well as integrating the 3D photos of frescoes into the model.

In order to use the precise scan data as directly and unaltered as possible, the Domitilla-team was enhanced by new collaboration partners: the Institute of Computer Graphics and Algorithms of the Technical University of Vienna and the company Imagination, which are jointly developing the point-cloud viewer Scanopy. With its help extremely large point-clouds can be viewed in real time; the goal is to further develop this program according to the needs of archaeologists and building researchers.

There are some incredibly exciting developments in archaeological reconstructions happening these days. We’ve come such a long way from Sir Arthur Evan’s controversial reconstructions at Knossos. Digital models can be reconstructed, reinterpreted and manipulated a thousand different ways without ever degrading or damaging the fragile archaeological remains, which affords researchers more opportunity to explore theoretical reconstructions than ever before. And once the initial scans are done, digital sites are accessible to anyone with an internet connection, meaning it would be entirely possible to do a tour of the Domitilla Catacomb in any classroom in the world. There is no replacement for seeing sites like this in person, but for so many of us, travel and access to sites like this are simply out of reach; he Lascaux Caves, for example, have been closed to public viewing since 2008 because of fungus that threatens the paintings and requires careful monitoring so the images are not lost forever. Digital modelling offers a simple solution to problems of accessibility and responsible cultural heritage management.

For those in the Vancouver area with an interest in photogrammetry, the Vancouver AIA and From Stone to Screen are hosting a free workshop this Saturday, October 18th from 1-4 where participants will learn to create their own 3D models – email photogrammetry@gmail.com to reserve your spot! No prior knowledge required, just a camera and laptop.

 

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International Archaeology Day: Photogrammetry Workshop

AIA Vancouver and From Stone to Screen are hosting a free Photogrammetry Workshop on October 18th as part of International Archaeology Day. The event will open with a presentation by Dr. Kevin Fisher on the archaeological applications of photogrammetry, followed by a hands on learning experience.
iad_logo2014
Participants will learn to create a 3D virtual model using 123DCatch, which is a free open source 3D modeling program that can be run on laptops, tablets and smartphones.
Participants will need to downloand the app and create an account with 123DCatch. You will also need an object to render into a 3D model, and a camera and laptop or ipad, or a smartphone to photograph the object and run the app. Volunteers will be on hand for technical assistance.
Please email photogrammetryworkshop@gmail.com to reserve your spot; space is limited and the event will be restricted to 25 people.
Date: Oct. 18th, 2014
Location: Buchanan C203
Time: 1PM – 4PM

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Getting the Ball Rolling: Who Started This All, Anyway?

The first in our series of graduate student profiles concentrates on PhD student Chelsea Gardner, one of the founders of the project.


One of the best things about From Stone to Screen, in our humble opinion, is that it’s a project started by, propelled forward and maintained by graduate students.  Anyone who has ever met a grad student knows that we tend to be overworked, overtired and overstressed students who are overenthusiastic about one thing in particular, which is what we happen to be researching.  So the fact that we are voluntarily taking on extra work for a project is something that, while not exactly understandable, proves how much we all believe in it and how much we are willing to put into it.  To that end, we at From Stone to Screen have decided to showcase one student a month to demonstrate how much we are all pulling for the project to succeed and what we have done to bring it there.

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Chelsea Gardner showing off her squeeze making skills

This month’s student profile is on Chelsea Gardner, a fourth year PhD student in Classical Archaeology at UBC.  As our story goes (which you can find elsewhere in our various blogs), in the fall of 2012 there were a group of students in one of Dr. Lisa Cooper’s Near Eastern archaeology seminars – Chelsea was one of them.  Unlike most of the students involved in the project, though, Chelsea had an awareness not only of the Fuller artifact collection but also of the squeeze collection.  The day that Dr. Cooper brought the artifacts to class, Chelsea approached her immediately after the class was done to discuss the possibility of work with the artifacts in some capacity.  This coupled with Dr. McElduff’s seminar, Digital Antiquity, inspired several of the CNRS grad students to become involved in the project and pushed it in the direction of digital humanities.  As a group, Chelsea and the other students wrote proposals to the department in spring of 2013 and with that propulsion the project began to gain traction.

One of Chelsea’s goals from the beginning was to make it an open-access resource for anyone in the field, whether they studied at UBC or not.  “The beauty of any digitization project is that it makes it… as available as you make it.  The vision right from the start was to make this an open-access, universally accessible source for anybody who was interested in it.”  With that in mind, funding was a priority for the fledgling project.  They needed to get enough to be able to have a platform that was accessible to all.  What Chelsea and the others planned, though, and what actually happened were quite different.   She is both proud and impressed with the support both within and outside of not only the CNERS department, but UBC as well.  “I never would have imagined how successful it has become with the digitizing techniques and the grant funding we have gotten.”  Especially since it was worked on primarily by graduate students, the progress is even more impressive.

It was always a conscious decision to make it for grad students only.  There was the possibility of faculty advisement, but Chelsea wanted a graduate student project in order to make it solely student-run.  She wanted it to be valuable for each individual student who is involved as a means of professional development, something that can sometimes be difficult for multiple students to have the chance for.  “That was the impetus behind this entire project, was creating an opportunity for graduate students that didn’t exist before.”  From Stone to Screen has definitely delivered on that front; along with presenting for the local Vancouver branch of the AIA, our students have been able to present at the EAGLE conference in Paris, learn digitization methods that our field usually does not teach and create connections with other professions interested in Digital Humanities.

A hiccup in her plans for From Stone to Screen arrived, though, in the form of an amazing opportunity.  Chelsea learned that she was the Philip Lockhart Fellow at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens for the 2013-2014 academic year.  This was, needless to say, an opportunity she was unwilling to pass up but it also meant that she had to leave everything in Vancouver behind for a year.  It was hard for her to leave the project when it was only just getting on its feet, and she knew that bIMG_4411y going to Athens she would have to leave the project in the hands of others and watch it from afar. “It was very personally rewarding to watch this project develop that I’ve seen since its inception and just kind of explode.”  She still worked with Lisa Tweten over e-mail, giving advice and links when she came across them, but it was still a risk to leave it behind for a year. Watching it flourish from afar was something that she thoroughly enjoyed.

Now she is back in Vancouver, though, and enthusiastically finding new opportunities for the project to expand.  When I asked her if she thought the project would be able to grow past its current collections, her excitement was contagious.  She hopes that as From Stone to Screen grows and gains a larger public presence, private collectors would step forward and allow us access to their collections to incorporate into our database.  There is, obviously, the problem of trying to obtain private artifacts for our own collection that were collected before 1970.  The other problem is that many museums in Greece rarely allow scholars to make squeezes because it can cause some damage, plus many of the inscriptions have already had multiple squeezes made so it is unlikely that we will be able to enlarge our collection.  Chelsea hopes, though, that we can somehow borrow other collections, digitize it safely and then add it into our online collection to hopefully have the entire Athenian Tribute List on our database.

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Chelsea making a squeeze

Squeezes are still being made on site, though, and she hopes that we can gain some of those for our collection.  She recently made a squeeze at the site that she excavates at and once she has finished her research and work with it, she fully intends to donate it to the From Stone to Screen collection.  “I hope that is something that’s on everyone’s radar who is an archaeologist in this department who are going on projects and have the ability to do so,” she admitted.

As an archaeologist, though, it may seem confusing as to why she is so involved with a project to digitize epigraphic squeezes.  She works in the ancient historic period in Greece which means that there are epigraphic sources from the time period in the region where she digs – the value of the project for Chelsea is that is have given her the opportunity to handle squeezes first hand which is indispensable since she needs to make squeezes for her own research.  The squeeze that she made was also digitized using the same methods that we use at the project which gives her high quality images to work with.

Chelsea has two years left for her PChelsea GardnerhD, meaning that she can continue to closely work on the project and help see it through to the end of our current goals, but as we have seen in the last year it is already growing so much bigger than we had ever planned.  As with anyone in our field, though, she will go to wherever the jobs are when she’s finished and that most likely means leaving UBC.  This also means, though, that she will have to leave From Stone to Screen behind and give it off to the next generation, something that Chelsea regrets and wishes she could see it through to its completion. “The goal of Stone to Screen,” she admitted,” is for it not to ever be completed.”  She plans to follow it from wherever she is in the future and send whatever squeezes or support she can.  She vehemently believes that it is a resource that can grow indefinitely and she will be there to support it from afar.  Considering how much the project has grown, which just two years ago was just a random idea after a seminar, what will happen in the next two years before she graduates is impossible to tell.  You can see the pride whenever she speaks about the project, though, and I think it’s safe to say that wherever she ends up she will always support and help the current generation of students who are working on it.


Check out Chelsea’s blog posts!

Squeeze Making in the Athenian Agora

The Athens Epigraphical Museum: Where it all began…

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Can social media make a difference?

humbledon petition

Maybe you’ve heard the term “slacktivist” before. It’s used for someone who thinks adding a hashtag, liking a Facebook post or forwarding an email is the same as actually making a change in the world, and is most often used to criticize laziness or the kind of social justice warrior who doesn’t really want to get off the couch. And there are a number of cases where this kind of “clicktivism” just doesn’t succeed. But I’ve come across an interesting petition, started by two teenage girls in Sunderland, England trying to stop the development of Humbledon Hill, part of which was granted Ancient Monument status as recently as 2011. In their case, social media might be just what they need to get enough petitions to halt the development.

Details from english-heritage.org state that:

The settlement on Humbledon Hill includes the western half of a defended settlement; to the east, the settlement has been compromised by housing development, gardening activities and the construction of a Victorian reservoir. This area is not included in the scheduling, given the level of disturbance to which it has been subjected. Geophysical survey in 2003 and archaeological evaluation in 2006 and 2007 demonstrated that the defended settlement includes a roughly sub-circular enclosure measuring a maximum of 75m north east to south west by 62m north west to south east, within two ditches and a medial bank. The inner ditch is c.0.5m wide and 0.5m deep and is considered to be the remains of a palisade trench, which formerly contained a wooden fence. The outer ditch is situated about 9m outside the inner ditch and measures up to 3m wide and 1m deep. Between the two ditches there is a stone and earth bank standing to a maximum height of 0.8m interpreted as the remains of a rampart. There is an entrance through the west side of the enclosure. Two substantial, ditched features immediately outside the settlement on the south and south west sides have the same character as the outer ditch and are considered the remains of structures associated with it. Prehistoric pottery, recovered from the ditches, demonstrated that the inner ditch was dug during the later Bronze Age and the outer ditch was subsequently dug during the Iron Age. Animal bone, some of it burnt, and flint pieces were recovered from parts of the ditches. Also recovered was what was identified as the corner of a triangular loom weight of Iron Age date. Within the interior of the enclosure, there are a series of pits, each 2m in diameter and archaeological evaluation also uncovered what was thought to be the part of a Bronze Age round cairn.

The petition needs to be handed in on Friday, and Emmie and Lily Thompson are reaching out through twitter to get as many signatures as possible by the deadline. Please check them out on Twitter: @Save_Our_Hill, and please sign the petition to Save Humbledon Hill. I’m really hoping social media can make a difference and save this one small space.

For more on the archaeological finds at Humbledon Hill, check out the Tyne & Wear museum for information on the Bronze Age urns found on the hill in 1873.

twmuseum urn

 

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We’ve Been Published! Bible History Daily’s Digital Humanities Issue

At the end of July, we were contacted by the Biblical Archaeology Review about doing a post for their blog, Bible History Daily, as they were planning to do features on digital humanities in August. Our article, Bringing 21st-century access to ancient artifacts, focuses on our artifact collection and the work we’ve done this past year to create an online gallery with Omeka.net.

Medieval glazed pottery

Medieval glazed pottery

UBC CNERS Artifact Colleciton

UBC CNERS Artifact Colleciton

It’s an honour to be included with the other fascinating posts on digital humanities work being done in our field. I really enjoyed Map Quests: Geography, Digital Humanities and the Ancient World by Sarah Bond from the University of Iowa on the various mapping projects happening in classical, biblical and archaeological studies. These projects really do bring the ancient world to life again, and make it accessible to everyone without sacrificing scholastic integrity (ahem, “History” Channel).

And for those interested in the technological side of the work, BAR has a page devoted to archaeological technologies with articles on GIS, photogrammetry and even a free e-book on cyber-archaeology. It’s a fascinating fusion of past and future, well worth a read, as we try to keep up with the technology that makes our work possible.

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