Gavin Baily and The British Museum
Gavin Baily, Tracemedia Projects Ltd
Daniel Pett, The British Museum
Mapping Portable Antiquities
The project will examine how emerging web-based mapping technologies can be used to explore the collections of The British Museum.
As a case study the project will focus on the Portable Antiquities Scheme. The Scheme maintains a database of archaeological finds made in the UK, logging the artefacts, their location, and a rich variety of metadata linking the artefacts to historic figures, where they originated, and how they were made.
Building on the software Tracemedia has developed to visualise large scale social media datasets, we aim to produce sophisticated interactive maps that reveal the richness and complexity of the collections 200 thousand artefacts. Potential areas of research include:
- Creating detailed scatter plots presenting the complete dataset of artefacts and their metadata, such as rulers, coin mints, historic periods (Mapping Wikipedia gives an example of this technique).
- Use of animated timelines to indicate fluctuations in the historic deposition of objects, how the density and geographic distribution of finds vary with historic periods.
- Exploring techniques for presenting where the artefacts were created (often outside the UK), in relation to where they were found.
- Approaches to combining photographs of the artefacts with map interfaces.
- Evaluating how location based mobile apps could be best present the geographic data
These experiments would seek to provide new insights for researchers at the museum, engage with the digital creative community, and intrigue a general audience.
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