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Computational archaeology news June 2017

As you may have realised, Berlin has kept me quite busy. Now there is some catching up on blogging to do, so here is your dose of computational archaeology.

Articles

 

Software

  • This blog has a large list of Free and Open source software that can be useful for archaeology.
  • The article listed above links to an academic article that speaks about open source software in archaeology.

 

Blogs, feeds and sites

 

Collaborate

  • Global Xplorer – crowd sourcing analysis of satellite imaging available to archaeologists.4

 

Meetup

Here’s a photo (strategically at the history slide) from the Women Who Code meetup.

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Happy reading!

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3D modeling updates

The 3D models in archaeology posts seem to be pretty popular, so I decided to add some more content for you 🙂 Here are some links:

Lastly, here is a photo of an interactive display of 3D models. We found this display at a temporary Humbold forum exhibition near the Berliner Dom. Tapping on each model allows you to view that particular model in more detail as well as get more information on it.

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Computational Archaelogy news- January 2017

Once again it has been a while since my last news post, so I’ll be squishing a variety of resources here.

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Institutions

Gihub repositories

Courses

Journal Articles

Noticed computational archaeology in museum visit

  • Gemäldegalerie [Berlin]- Audio tour mentions the prior use of CT scans to analyse a Rennaissance artwork revealing planning sketch
  • Naturkundemuseum [Berlin] – There are interactive screens around various displays allowing people to gain more information

 

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Digital Humanities communities in Berlin

Happy new year readers!

I am glad to say that we have arrived in Berlin and are settling in. So far we have been exploring the areas around us and awing at the amazing architecture. The city has been fairly quiet (except for an incredibly large amount of fireworks on New Years), so we have mostly been walking around the streets.

I have found a Digital Humanities group that that has certain events in Berlin. I am not sure if these events will even be in English, but I’ll find out by attending some of them. You can find the group’s website here: http://www.digital-humanities-berlin.de/, it is in German but if you are using Google Chrome you can translate it with the option on the right of the browser’s address bar. They also have a Twitter feed and you can add their calendar to yours so that you get reminded of the events that they have.

I have also found the following digital humanities institutions and groups:

Additionally to the above links, the Institute for Art and Visual History has a nice list of digital history resources and institutions in Berlin and internationally.

Hope to maybe meet some of you at the events organised by these institutes 🙂

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The above image is from a site that contains a set of virtual reconstructions. The Virtual Terrain Project official site is here, but here you can find the reconstructions done in Germany.

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Moving to Berlin!

I’ve been living in South Africa for the past 13 years. I did my high school, bachelors and post-graduate studies here. I’ve had a wonderful time during my stay in a country so full of beautiful scenery and archaeology, wrapped in the hearts of so many cultures. I’ve made some amazing friendships and memories.

Now, it’s time for a new chapter in our life. We are moving to Berlin, Germany! I am very excited for this new opportunity and looking forward exploring the city and meeting some of you. This blog has had many views from Germany, so I am considering starting the Berlin version of the meetup once we have settled.

This also brings me to the sad news that I will no longer be able to run the Johannesburg meetup. If there is anyone interested in taking over the meetup, please get in touch. You can contact me via the meetup page or the Digital Humanities Slack Channel (where my user name is kgeorgieva).

I would love to get involved in the digital humanities community in Berlin, so if you are keen to meet up ping me on the Digital Humanities Slack Channel. You can also add a comment to this post with your e-mail address and I won’t make it public 🙂 (I need to approve all comments posted on this blog, so I do have control over that) .

Here is a photo of the Berlin wall remains from my previous visit. See you there!

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Computational palaeontology and archaeology successfully met

I am glad to announce that our latest meetup was an awesome one. 12 individuals (including the speakers) made it to the event. Pizza, beer and coffee were consumed and awesome talks took place.

Our guest speaker Viktor, amazed us with great knowledge and humour. He focused his talk on the Paleo’s digital renaissance currently taking place. He presented a brief history of palaeontology and then dived into a bit more detail on his research on the South African Nqwebasaurus thwazi dinosaur (otherwise known as the clickasaurus :P). He also gave an overview on how the ESRF generates high quality X-rays through particle acceleration.

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I also did a small talk introducing the concept of computational archaeology. Here I just talked through various areas in archaeology where technology has been used.

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For those of you who want the slides for the event, these can be accessed via the following links:

If you missed the original post regarding Viktor’s research you can access that here.

Here are some more photos from the event:

Thank you Viktor for the great talk!

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Johannesburg Meetup with guest speaker on microtomography

I am organising another computational archaeology meetup in Johannesburg on the 21st of November. This time the company that I work for (Entelect) is sponsoring a venue and pizza!

This post aims at going a bit more in depth on the topics that will be discussed as well as on the guest speaker and how this meetup came to be.

Let’s start with a short story first. We were on our way to Clarens for a weekend away with my sister in law and her partner. There are a few “dinosaur walks” in Clarens, where a palaeontologist can take you on a hike in the Drakensberg and show you fossilised dinosaur bones and footprints. This sounded really cool and I was obviously geeking out about it. I think it was this geeky moment that triggered my sister in law and her partner to tell me about their friend Viktor the palaeontologist.

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Victor is a palaeontology student at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He was part of the ILL/ESRF International Student Summer Programme, which is a 4-week experimental project on the applications of X-ray and neutron science to different fields. His research focused on the use of X-ray microtomography for palaeontology. More specifically, his research was on distribution of postcranial skeletal pneumaticity in theropod dinosaurs. I’ll attempt to expand on this later on in this post.

Viktor’s research used micro CT scans, otherwise known as  X-ray microtomography, to analyse the bones of a South African dinosaur Nqwebasaurus thwazi. This technology, which stands for Computerised Tomography, consists of performing a set of X-rays from different angles around the fossil. This yields high quality images of the fossil that can be used to for 3D reconstructions as well as to analyse the internal structure of the fossil.

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Two weeks ago I asked my sister in law if she thought Viktor would be willing to do a presentation on his research at a computational archaeology meetup. She put us in touch and he was excited to do it. His 30 minute talk will be split into the following main sections:

  • Introduction to microtomography
  • Why is the synchrotron data preferred?
  • Distribution of postcranial skeletal pneumaticity in theropod dinosaurs (his research topic)
  • Data calling for the revision of theropod phylogeny

Yes, I too was super confused when I saw these words and was reminded that English is my third language. Let’s get some definitions down.

I’ve already briefly explained above what microtomography is. Synchrotron refers to a powerful source of X-rays produced by electrons moving in a circle. This is just another way of getting X-ray imaging different to the classical tube-based CT scans. Viktor will be explaining why this type of scan is generally preferred. If you want some more detail regarding the different processes – this paper goes quite a bit in depth regarding the advantages and disadvantages of each.

The next thing to explain is Viktor’s topic itself: “Distribution of postcranial skeletal pneumaticity in theropod dinosaurs”. Postcranial skeletal pneumaticity refers to the presence of air spaces within bones separated from the skull. Theropods are a group of bipedal dinosaurs. Now that we know that the separate terms in the title mean, we can conclude that the talk will be on the distribution of air spaces within the bones of bipedal dinosaurs.

Lastly, Viktor will show us some data that “calls for the revision of theropod phylogeny”. Phylogeny refers to the evolutionary history of an organism, in other words, the evolutionary tree of a species. In his talk, he will show us data that he has discovered that may change what we know as the evolutionary history of theropod dinosaurs.

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During the meetup I will also be doing a very short talk introducing computational archaeology. This is so that people that joined the meetup in order to find out what this strange concept is can gain some basic knowledge on the subject before diving into a very specialised talk. This talk will open the meetup and also allow me to introduce Viktor as the guest speaker.

So now that you have a bit more detail regarding the meetup, come join! Here are the details:

  • Meetup page
  • Date: 21st November 2016
  • Time: 18:30
  • Location: Entelect HQ – Unit 13, 2nd floor, 3 Melrose Boulevard, Melrose Arch, Johannesburg
  • Why: cool talks and pizza

If you want even more info on our speaker you can check out the following:

I hope to see some of you there! Let’s learn more about the digital humanities of South Africa 🙂