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Computational Archaeology – March links and courses

Time for some more links:

  • Oxford Archaeology: This is an archaeology and heritage practice that provides a variety of archaeology related services. Under their specialist services you can find a variety of computational archaeology services such as GIS surveying and graphics.
  • Virtual Heritage Lab: This is a lab dealing with digital projects in archaeology.
  • Spatial-tech: A computational archaeologist’s website aiming to discuss the latest technology being applied to archaeology.
  • LABUST: An organisation focusing on the research of underwater systems and  technologies. Although they don’t focus in archaeology, they do mention some archaeology projects.


Spatial-tech posted information about an online archaeology course taking place in May. This made me decide to make a similar post to my old Coursera relevant courses and include it there. Here are some new courses you may be interested in:

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Computational Archaeology March Links

I have saved a set of links relevant to computational archaeology which I probably shouldn’t group together but really want you to have, so here they are in a generic post anyways :)

  • Computational Vision Group: Remember the ARROWS and THESAURUS Projects that I posted about? Well, these guys are involved in both of those projects. The Computational Vision Group develops hardware and software solutions for analysing images and video. One of the fields they apply these solutions to is Archaeology. They also have annual grants for research in underwater robotics, which they apply to archaeology, as seen in the two mentioned projects. It seems Florence is full of awesome computational archaeology. Note, their website is still under construction.
  • The fractals at the heart of African designs: A mathematician, Ron Eglash, discusses the fractal patterns making up designs in African architecture and art. He uses satellite images to analyse fractal patterns present in African architecture and wrote software to generate such fractal patterns.
  • Ancient Gladiator School Discovered in Austria: Remote sensing techniques have been used to uncover an ancient Roman gladiator school. Additionally the researchers reconstructed the school using 3D modelling.
  • Mysterious Egyptian Spiral Seen on Google Maps: Inj 1997 artwork called Desert Breath was built to  celebrate “the desert as a state of mind, a landscape of the mind”. Today, although slowly disintegrating, the man-made structure is visible from Google Earth. This is just another example of patterns in man-made structures can be seen using satellite imaging.


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News and links on Computational Archaeology – February 2014

Here are some news and links on computational archaeology:


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Internships for archaeological 3D modelling

Remember the project I mentioned a few posts back which deals with 3D modelling of African archaeological sites? Well, if you got excited reading that I may have some good news for you: There are 3 open internships at the Zamani project, so if you have a passion for archaeology and have skills in any of the areas they deal with go check it out, maybe the position is perfect for you. They are based in Cape Town, South Africa and deal with archaeological sites all over the African continent. The internships were advertised on their Facebook page and their blog, but no further details were given, so you will have to e-mail them personally as the advert states.

Good luck! :)proj_1

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After finding out about the ARROWS project I decided to try get in touch with the researchers working on the project. The response I received introduced me to an Italian project called the THESAURUS project . The acronym is in Italian but it stands for techniques for the exploration of underwater archaeology through the use of autonomous robot swarms. This is the website, note that it is in Italian so, unless you speak Italian, use your browser to translate the page (I recommend Google Chrome).

The project aims to develop technologies to explore underwater archaeological sites. The team requires knowledge in engineering, mathematics, archaeology, cultural heritage preservation and computer science (yes, I could be useful :D :D :D ).

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Here is a video describing the project. They also have an open access database which is currently (Jan 31st 2014) under maintenance. The website is quite detailed, so go have a look and explore the contents. It is quite an exciting project. Happy reading!

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Game making for computational archaeology?

I spent the weekend at a social game-making event in Johannesburg called Global Game Jam. The purpose of this event was to gather people interested in making games and encourage them to produce their games. The event was global, so people all around the world gathered in pre-defined locations and created games to match the theme announced.

How on earth does this have anything to do with computational archaeology? Well, I believe it is a great way for computational archaeologists around the world to meet people with the technical knowledge they may seek. The community did not only consist of software developers and technical artists, but all kinds of people who wanted to learn how to make games. Additionally, people had the option to make any form of game, including a board game, so you needed no technical knowledge to join.  By attending a Global Game Jam as a computational archaeologist you can:

  • Learn a bit of programming: which can be useful if you want to make software for archaeologists or get involved in data mining.
  • Learn some 3D design: which can be useful to model archaeological artefacts.
  • Learn how to make an interactive 3D world: and therefore create interactive models of the archaeological sites.
  • Meet people: these people can help you in a computational archaeology project or teach you some extra skills. Additionally, it doesn’t hurt to gain some more friends ;)
  • Brainstorm with knowledgeable individuals: you can speak to people about ideas you have but don’t know how to implement, get more ideas and gain some feedback.

I was in a team with my two friends, Christien and Jade, representing women in computer science in some way. Our game was called BitCloud and details can be found here. The game, although not complete yet, has a lot of potential, and we hope to finish it soon for people to play. The code is open source so people can contribute to it if they want, here is the repository.


I also had an interesting surprise at the event. When I mentioned to one of the participants that my masters is in computational intelligence and archaeology, he told me about a project in Cape Town that involves computational archaeology. The project is called the Zamani project and it is a project aiming to create a spatial database of African heritage sites. Check their website out here, they deal with 3D models, laser scans, archaeological plans, geographical information systems, 3D landscapes, remote sensing, digital images, photogrammetric images and panoramas. Having computational archaeology so close to where I live is quite exciting :) I will see if I can get in touch with the researchers for some interesting conversation.


So as you can see, as a computational archaeologist you can gain quite a bit from attending one of these fun events. To find out more about this event check out @MakeGamesSA on twitter and look for the tags #ggj14, #ggj and #ggjsouthafrica (if you want to check out how our game jam went :D).

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Computational Archaeology on Twitter

For those who enjoy reading computational archaeology articles and use twitter to keep up to date here are a few guys you can follow on twitter:

  • @compArch1 – This is my twitter account, it contains links to this blog which are posted every time I publish a new post.
  • @ARROWSProject – The twitter account for the ARROWs project mentioned in a previous post
  • @ArchCRG – The twitter account for the Archaeological Computing Research Group
  • @PastLandscapes – The twitter account of an archaeology researcher who deals with GIS and landscape archaeology
  • @CATRomanCircus – An archaeology twitter account
  • @TheDigVenturers – An archaeology twitter account
  • @CreateHist – A history twitter account
  • @HISTORY – A history twitter account
  • @Discovery_News – A twitter account for scientific news

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