This collection of Apps has grown out of the combination, some might say the collision, of my experiences as an IT professional and a decision to study Archaeology part-time, initially just for fun. As my day job involves digging over the bones of failed IT projects that are being argued over in court, there’s not as big a gap between that and Archaeology as you might think. Even with vast amounts of contemporaneous documents available it can still be really difficult to work out exactly what happened when.
The University of Reading, as well as providing a fabulous Field School, runs a very effective (and compulsory) careers module. Once I’d finished grumbling about the ridiculousness of having to study ‘careers’ at my advanced age I cast around for a project that would fit in and wound up developing an App to explain the archaeology at Silchester to visitors. Called Calleva it was well received and when the Field School finally left Silchester it was followed by a similar App for Marden Henge.
Meanwhile I needed a project for my final year dissertation, and had begun to realise how little support there is for many types of archaeological work in IT. I eventually decided that an App for Skeleton recording would fit the dual purpose of exploring the possibilities for Apps as useful tools for archaeologists and including enough academic material for a dissertation and the result was Skelly-Pad.
Having graduated my goal now is to build up a suite of Apps and other archaeological software that can be sustained into the future. IT moves at a furious rate and while there’s more and more take-up of digital tools such as GIS , 3D modelling etc, in archaeology, its a niche market so software aimed specifically at archaeologists can very quickly fall behind or simply become unavailable.
Archaeo-Pad is the first step along the way to a mobile recording system that anyone from students, to community groups and small commercial outfits can use. I hope to link it up to existing repositories, and work with other providers, to create solutions that are practical, workable, affordable and above all, sustainable in the long term. If you have any thoughts or ideas about software, standards or organisations I should know about then please feel free to get in touch.