It’s been a busy year, but that’s no reason to not sneak in a computational archaeology news and links post. Here are some of the latest articles I’ve ran into:
News and articles
Software and tools
Presentations on Arches 3.0 taking place in Asia in the next two weeks, so go check them out if you’re around:
- August 27 (with an optional session on August 28): Hong Kong
- August 30: Taipei (at the CIPA2015 symposium)
Our friend Russell, from Diachronic Design has live podcast every now an again which you can join via Google hangouts. Although I couldn’t join the two live podcasts I’ve known of (either due to time zones, being busy at the time or misunderstanding the time), I could stream the session afterwards.
Here are the videos of the two podcasts I watched/listened to:
Happy listening ;) If you’re not the listening/watching type, don’t worry. I’ll add links to most of the things discussed in the podcasts in a future post.
Ignore the subtitles, they don’t quite match the speech. I’ve informed the host of this ;)
I decided to youtube some computational archaeology while I waited for dinner to cook. Here are some of the resources I found:
Channels/Collections/Users to keep you busy for a while
So it turns out that the well known director, James Cameron, is a deep sea explorer and has worked on a number of computational archaeology projects. Here are some of the relevant projects that he has been involved in:
- As a diver, James Cameron wanted to explore the wreck of the Titanic. Making the Titanic movie was a perfect opportunity to do this. His need to explore funded a project which lead to manned subs, and later ROVs, being used to film footage of the Titanic.
- He worked on a forensic study of the Bismarck wreck site, where manned submersibles and ROVs were used to survey the site.
- He has done 3-D imaging of deep hydrothermal vent sites along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the East Pacific Rise, and the Sea of Cortez
- As a film maker, he has worked on a digital 3-D camera system which can change the experience of viewing a wreck’s footage.
- He’s formed Earthship Productions to make documentary films about ocean exploration and conservation, which often use ROVs to survey sites.
- He doesn’t just use ROVs, He has worked on the development of fiber-spooling mini-ROVs as well as other deep-ocean lighting and photographic technology. He has also returned to the Titanic’s site and surveyed it further using these mini-ROVs
- He went to the bottom of the Mariana Trench in the Deepsea Challenger manned submersible. Although he didn’t find much in this first trip, the fact that we have managed to send a human to the deepest point in our ocean opens many doors for marine exploration.
Additionally he has been involved in a variety of space exploration robotics projects, which is not directly relevant to computational archaeology but may result in research that could be used for deep sea exploration.
Here are some resources discussing these projects:
I promised a continuation with more articles, so here it is.
Don’t forget to catch up on Electric Archaeology’s posts, there are quite a few new ones that I haven’t posted. There are some posts on augmented reality, an archaeogaming “unconference”, data visualisation and more.
Some newly discovered blogs (or discovered back in the day but not yet posted)
- Audio news from Archaeologica 24th – 30th May 2015: The murder case discussed above is mentioned in this podcast. Additionally, the podcast mentions the use of temperature sensors and a survey drone to map a Bison-Kill Site in Montana. Lastly, archaeologists find traces of hallucinogenic materials used for spiritual rituals by the use of “cutting edge technology” which is not mentioned.
The Smithsonian institute needs help digitizing their records. You can help out by transcribing documents from images provided by the institute. Additionally, if you don’t want to transcribe but still want to help out, the institute needs people to proof read the transcriptions.
By transcribing these documents, the institute aims to:
- Preserve the information provided by the documents
- Make the documents searchable
- Make the documents machine readable for computational analysis
- Allow for piled up documents to be researched more easily
To help out go to the Smithsonian Digital Volunteers: Transcription Center. Here is a list of transcription projects currently available. The site provides a tutorial as well to help you with getting started.
It has been a while since a news post, so some of these might not really be “new”s, but rather interesting articles in the field that you might have missed. Additionally there are some old projects or articles I have only ran into now which I am posting along with the news.
Here’s the first batch. I will do another one soon as this post is getting long and there are still quite a few articles worth posting.
Articles directly related
- Precise GPS helps archaeologists map bulldozed site: Researchers survey Hosn Niha (a Roman-Byzantine site in Lebanon that has been damaged by war) using differential GPS to map the architectural fragments.
- Antarctic Explorer’s Notebook Found And Restored After 100 Years In Ice: The journal of George Murray Levick, a South Pole explorer, has been discovered and its contents have been digitized.
- Aluminum Debris from Amelia Earhart’s Plane Found: Piece of aluminum debris found on Nikumaroro is believed to be from Amelia Earhart’s aircraft. Sonar imaging is being used to determine if the aluminium did actually belong to the aircraft.
- Animal Fat Residue Detected on 500,000-Year-Old Tools: Fat residue has been detected in ancient tools using Fourier Transform InfraRed (FTIR) spectra technology.
- Major Early Roman Fort Discovered in Italy: LIDAR images have revealed a Roman fort near Trieste, Italy.
- Study of Foot Bones May Offer Evolutionary Insights: scientists in Johannesburg, South Africa (yeii, computational archaeology in my city) have combined skills in visualization techniques, engineering principles, and statistical analysis to study the structure of long bones and human bipedalism.
- High-Tech Tools Map Baptistery of St. John: A 3D map of the Baptistery of St. John in Florence has been created using LIDAR technology, ultra-high-resolution photography, and thermal imaging. Additionally, ground-penetrating radar was used to explore an unexcavated area of the site, revealing a possible stair case, walls and rooms
- Oldest Roman military fort: airborne lasers uncover fort from 178BC: A team used LIDAR technology to identify the location of a roman fort. Additionally, the team used ground penetrating radar to study the underground structure.
- Experiments using a Quadcopter for Archaeological Aerial Photography: A blog post talking about Alan Thomson’s personal project where he uses a quadcopter to take aerial images of archaeological sites.
- World’s Oldest Blood Found in Famed “Iceman” Mummy: A nano-size probe was used to analyse the wounds of an iceman mummy, resulting in a 3D image of the wound.
Articles indirectly related
- Autonomous underwater robot inspired by Star Trek crew hierarchy: MIT engineers have built an autonomous underwater robot, whose decision making algorithm is based on the crew hierarchy of Star Trek. This is relevant to computational archaeology as robots like this could be used to explore underwater sites, just like our friends in Star Trek explore the universe. Hopefully the team has a guy called Scotty assigned to retrieve the robot post-exploration.
- Oculus Rift and robotic heads combination for exploration: A robotic bust mounted on a four-wheeled, battery-powered cart has been built by University of Pennsylvania students. This robot’s movements are mapped to an Oculus Rift, making the wearer of the Oculus Rift able to virtually explore the same locations as the robot. T%he wearer controls the movement of the camera by moving his/her head to look around. This could be useful to computational archaeology as some sites may not be accessible by a human, yet need to be analysed in detail by one. The robot would allow the archaeologist explore the inaccessible site in more detail, rather than struggle to angle the camera of an ROV using a control remote.
- Underwater Mass Spectrometer Successfully Integrates with Bluefin Autonomous Underwater Vehicle: This article describes the benefits of integrating underwater mass spectrometer with autonomous underwater vehicles. In short, this integration results in a cost-feasible solution to underwater surveys and increased quality of data.