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Computational Archaeology Kickstarter projects

I know a news in Computational Archaeology post is long overdue, but I’ve been wanting to write a post on Kickstarter projects involving Computational archaeology for a while. I promise I’ll do a news post again soon 😉

For those who haven’t heard of Kickstarter, it is a crowd-funding platform that aims to bring creative projects to life. This is accomplished by providing the means for people to make monetary contributions to different kinds of creative projects proposed via the Kickstarter web-site. Contributors will then get some form of reward (depending on the project) for their contributions.

The Kickstarter platform allows people to propose or fund all kinds of innovative projects. It has successfully funded  projects in a variety of fields including as arts, natural sciences, engineering, humanities, etc. There are, however, some projects that do not succeed.

If you go to the Kickstarter website and search for archaeology, quite a large list of projects appears, check it out here. We are however more concerned with the use of technology in archaeology in this blog, so let us look at a list of current and previous projects possibly relevant to computational archaeology.

  • ArchaeoScan [Currently requiring funding]: This project aims to build a Virtual Reality application based on real, authentic archaeological sites (desktop and mobile). The project also aims to be compatible with the Oculus Rift, allowing users to be more immersed in the virtual world. Why is this helpful? Well, a project like this requires accurate 3D models of archaeological sites to be generated, which preserve archaeological sites virtually. Additionally, it is a great platform for learning about archaeology.
  • Virtual Prehistoric Worlds [Successfully funded]: This project aimed to generate a virtual world representing a religious Bronze Age area in East Anglia. The team wanted to create a freely available online experience using the archaeological material.
  • Long-Lost Egyptian Pyramids Found? [Funding Unsuccessful]: This project aimed to further prove the existence of possible pyramids spotted using satellite imaging. The end goal was to document the site further using ground penetrating radar and video. A while back I actually posted the Discovery news article mentioning the discovery of the site.
  • The Maeander Project [Funding Cancelled]: This project aimed to deliver a multimedia experience of an ancient area of Turkey. Unfortunately the project was cancelled, but the team hopes to be able to try again in the future.
  • Open Access Antiquarianism [Funding Cancelled]: An archaeologist and a computer scientist get together to organise an art show. This art show aims to teach people about the use of technology in archaeology by displaying the artistic results of combining the two fields. The project was cancelled due to time limitations, but will be re-launching a new Kickstarter, so watch out for it next time you explore the site.


Additionally, here are some projects that, although don’t specifically mention archaeology, are applicable to the field:

  • Humanitarian Drones [Funding Unsuccessful]: This project aimed to build LiDAR-capable drones that can be used to locate bombs. It would have mapped the changes in topography from the impact of unexploded bombs in various areas, which is also how LiDAR is used to find archaeological sites.
  • 3D Cave Modelling in North America [Funding Unsuccessful]: This project aimed to create 3D maps of caves in North America using a handheld LiDAR device.
  • Mapping with Drones [Successfully Funded]: This project allows users to easily upload raw aerial imagery into high quality stitched aerial imagery or into geo-referenced maps suitable for use in GIS applications.
  • Ziphius: The Aquatic Drone [Successfully Funded]: This project aimed to deliver an aquatic drone, which sits on the surface of the water and can be controlled via a mobile application. This little drone has an HD camera which can see above and below the water. The drone could probably be used for video documentation of shallow archaeological sites.

So as you can see, Kickstarter has a variety of projects which can be applied to computational archaeology. There are so many projects on the site that I must definitely have missed a couple that could have been added to this post.

It is unfortunate that a lot of the archaeology projects were not successfully funded or were cancelled by the creator. However, Kickstarter does provide a good platform to start a project when no funding is available. Who knows, maybe you have an idea in future and really need some funding to get going, you might as well propose it on Kickstarter and see how things go.

I hope that this was an inspiring post to start new projects.


PS: This post almost didn’t make it. When I saved, exited and came back in all the data in the post was gone :-0 Luckily I managed to restore it, phew!


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