All posts by archaeopad

Archaeopad is a collection of Apps designed for and with archaeologists. I’m an IT specialist who’s been studying for a part-time degree in Archaeology at the University of Reading and have become fascinated with the challenges, and potential benefits, of putting my IT skills to use in the field. Archaeologists need applications that blend a practical, robust approach with sound academic content, a suitable challenge for any designer/developer. Comments, feedback, ideas and suggestions welcomed.

Skelly-Pad and Archaeo-Pad Updates

Nothing ever stands still in IT. The latest version of  iOS (13) caused the GPS forms in Archaeo-Pad to stop working and the latest Android version (version 7 – Nougat) has stopped the backups in Skelly-Pad from being attached to emails, making them useless.

Cue a day or so spent updating my development environment, re-compiling and tweaking. Both are now live and available to update your copy.

Still have some work to do to get Archaeo-Pad upgraded on Android, nearly there just needs another round of testing so in the meantime if you’re on Android 6 please don’t update just yet!



An Oscar for OSKER

I was  idly browsing the App Store the other day, looking at archaeological Apps, most of which are tours or educational tools, so didn’t really expect to come across anything useful.  Which made it a pleasant surprise to find OSKER, which is designed to record disarticulated human remains, including indicating which parts of a bone you have and calculating the Minimum Number of Individuals (MNI).

Developers description follows;

OSKER is designed exclusively for Osteoarchaeologists by experts in the field. It will assist in the recording of large quantities of disarticulated skeletal remains. OSKER is designed to combine the study, recording and data upload of bones into a single process. It will then facilitate the curation, editing and output of that data.

Data is collected on a project by project basis, and stored on a server. It can be re-called , appended, edited and deleted at any time. It is also possible to output a comprehensive calculation of the MNI ( Minimum Number of Individuals) from each project. The full project data can also be output as a list and easily formatted into a table for use in reports or other written documentation.

The app requires scripts and data structures to be in place on the client server. please bear in mind that the app will not work without these in place. and while the app is free to download the server and database set up will have an associated charge.

Contact the developer for more details.

Please download the app and give it a try, the app defaults to a trial database and you can use that to try out the app. Please do not use the trial server for any critical data because it will be erased after a short period.




Skelly-Pad Update

Its been a while, so about time there was an updated version of Skelly-Pad.  Mainly prompted by requests to allow joint grading on juvenile skeletons, so I’ve added that functionality and also fixed a few bugs.

The App will prompt you from time to time to rate it on the App store – all feedback welcome! Note that this is an IOS only release for now, will update the Android version as soon I can.




Maritime Site Recording

I’m always interested in how data is recorded on different excavations, so a recent post on  Digital Archaeology Group caught my eye.  SiteRecorder is a PC based application for recording maritime archaeology using a GIS based approach.

The program has been designed for collecting data during fieldwork and creating site plans by combining detailed site drawings and survey data. Site Recorder can manage thousands of finds, photographs, survey data, dive logs, samples and documents – all the information relating to an underwater or intertidal site. Items can be associated with one another allowing quick and easy retrieval for analysis and interpretation.

I have no plans to learn to dive but I’m guessing that records aren’t made underwater using a PC, but this seems like an effective (and widely used) tool for recording shipwrecks and other underwater features.

Free demo and manuals are available here.

Worried about jargon?

There’s a fine line between using the right technical or academic terms in your writing and delivering prose that is so riddled with jargon as to be utterly incomprehensible.

If you’re worried you might have crossed the line there are some great jargon checkers around – such as this one from Instructional Solutions.

Also worth checking that you haven’t accidentally used someone else’s words – however perfect they are! Online plagiarism detectors include grammarly, bibme and quetext


GPS and Photos Added to Archaeo-Pad

One of the cardinal rules of programming is that things are never as simple as they seem. Many people asked if I could add a location feature to Archaeo-Pad and since I’d already built location based Apps  thought it would be pretty straightforward. And adding the map forms and latitude/longitude was. The trouble is that people don’t actually use Lat/Long and a quick review of UK and US practice revealed that I’d need to convert the GPS coordinates into OS Grid References (with and without the Grid Letters) and UTM (Universal  Transverse Mercator).

Not being a geographer or cartographer I very nearly gave up a that point, but fortunately the internet and open source software came to the rescue and provided me with modules that, with a little tinkering, I could incorporate into Archaeo-pad.  So thanks are due to Chris Veness for the OS Grid conversion and Timothy Gu for UTM.

New version now live on iTunes and Google Play





New Silchester dig info added to Calleva

It took a bit of a nudge from Apple (who removed the App from the Appstore for going too long without an update) but I have finally managed to update Calleva with the details of the last few digging seasons.

A lot has changed, since I wrote the App as part of the ‘Careers in Archaeology Module’ at Reading. Then we were in the last year of a 25 year exploration of Insula IX, the section I worked on was well into the Iron Age and had uncovered a defensive ditch from the pre-Roman settlement.

Now if you go to Silchester there’s just grass where there used to be a massive hole! But happily, after a short break to investigate Marden Henge in Wiltshire, Reading have returned to Silchester,  finding a previously unknown temple with mystery placement of Nero stamped tiles, and last season re-excavating the bath house.

For the full story see or download the Calleva App to take a tour.