William Francis Grimes had worked for the National Museum in Cardiff until just before the Second World War when he went to the Ordnance Survey (and took part in the Sutton Hoo excavations). He had a distinguished career with a strong interest in prehistory (see D.W.J. Gill, ‘William F. Grimes’, The making of a prehistorian’, Bulletin of the History of Archaeology (2000) [here]). He was invited to prepare two paper guides to two prehistoric sites in Wales:
In 1953 Grimes was still the Director of the London Museum, but in 1956 he had been appointed Director of the Institute of Archaeology in London. He had conducted excavations at Pentre-ifan. Wilfrid J. Hemp had conducted work at Capel Garmon.
I had to reflect on audience. One of the things that I gained from my Swansea undergraduate and postgraduate students was that however good the technology was, if they could not see the value, then they would not be keen to use it. So we need to be pragmatic about how we use technology. My Swansea postgraduate students on my “Digital Antiquity” module made me realise that we have to anticipate changes in the technology. We need to learn how to evaluate and to apply to our research and our projects.
Mobile computing has changed. How many people at the conference would have had an iPad (or smartphone) a year (or two) ago? How did the virtual interactions enhance the papers? Did those tweets lead to (unexpected) face to face interactions? For example, I had a helpful discussion about authority and reliability of Twitter. Do we expect Twitter to be “reliable” – or does it point us to reliable Web 2.0 sites?
Open Access was a major theme with a very positive presentation from Ubiquity Press who publish Papers from the Institute of Archaeology. Will future REF exercises insist on Open Access? There was related discussion about IPR, not least over the publication of e-offprints on personal websites.
There were great insights into the use of social media, in particular Facebook, to engage with archaeological projects. Those interested in crowdsourcing and crowdfunding should look at the DigVentures project at Flag Fen.
On a final note I was struck with the inspirational quality of the “Adopt-a-Monument” scheme from Archaeology Scotland. It brought the best of Web 2.0 and community archaeology together.
Are archaeologists creating digital environments and engaging with new audiences? The workshop clearly showed that they are.