e-Science records Roman finds

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PICT0381. Originally uploaded by naquada.

Twenty first cen­tury e-Science met the ancient Roman world in a Hampshire field this sum­mer. For the first time, archae­olo­gists excav­at­ing at the Silchester Roman site used e-Science tech­niques to record their finds. The tech­niques will be demon­strated at the e-Science All Hands meet­ing in Nottingham on 20–22 September.

The archae­olo­gists are par­ti­cip­at­ing in a pro­ject to build a Virtual Research Environment (VRE) that will enable geographically-dispersed research­ers with an interest in the work to col­lab­or­ate through on-line links. The pro­ject is fun­ded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC).

Silchester is one of the most import­ant Roman sites in Britain. The town lay­out remains just as it was when the Romans aban­doned it in the fifth cen­tury AD because nobody has built on it since. The excav­a­tions are of wide interest to Romanists through­out the UK and bey­ond.
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From Stonehenge to Las Vegas: Archaeology as Popular Culture by Cornelius Holtorf

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This is another dif­fi­cult book to read. Like The Pig That Wants to be Eaten, it invites the reader to put it down and think about it. Unfortunately this reader was hav­ing his house rebuilt at the time, which meant it kept dis­ap­pear­ing once it was put down. The book, like the title sug­gests, con­siders archae­ology as a prac­tice of pop­u­lar cul­ture and exam­ines how our view of archae­ology might change as a result.

It’s not a book that you can read quickly and review. The argu­ment isn’t densely writ­ten, it access­ible and that makes it more pro­voc­at­ive. In addi­tion theses are added in snazzy boxes which reduce argu­ments to sound­bite form which can make them even more chal­len­ging. As an example is Thesis 3:

Archaeology is about search­ing and find­ing treas­ure underground.

This should be easy enough to demol­ish.
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