Crowd- and Community-fuelled Archaeological Research

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Institute of Archaeology

Abstract

This project will not only use 'crowd-sourcing' methods to enable academics and other archaeological communities to co-produce innovative open datasets, but it will also pioneer a novel approach to co-designing and crowd-funding follow-up research. Archaeology has long been successful in piquing the interest of professional practitioners, volunteer societies and the wider public. These different archaeological enthusiasts do sometimes collaborate over archaeological fieldwork, interact via museum exhibitions or interact over other engagement activities, but beyond the edge of the excavation trench or the gallery case, they rarely cooperate on developing archaeological knowledge or on designing new research agendas. This project explores this untapped potential in three promising areas: transcription of archaeological archives, low-cost 3D object modelling and 'follow-up' research. We want to deepen existing links between two major London research institutions, the British Museum (BM) and University College London (UCL), and several well-established communities associated with (a) the UK's Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) and (b) some of archaeology's most famous archival and object collections from Flinders Petrie, Kathleen Kenyon and colleagues' early excavations in the eastern Mediterranean. These two strands capitalise on considerable expertise, heritage assets and interest within London itself, but each also offers wider national or international reach, opening up opportunities to explore how best to blend the respective research inputs of pre-existing online communities of interest, and a further 'crowd' of potential contributors worldwide. Together, we will crowd-source the transcription of hard copy archives and pioneer the construction of large numbers of 3D artefact models from ordinary photographs. The existing communities, new contributors and traditional academics brought together by these efforts will collectively also design attractive follow-up projects that might, over the longer term, be financed via individually small but collectively important online donations.

Planned Impact

We will seek wide national and international impact with four kinds of non-academic beneficiary. First, the project's collaborative remit will lead to direct impacts on local archaeological societies, other established archaeological communities and new crowdsourcing contributors who might not have had any previous engagement with archaeology. The two research institutions involved (the UCL Institute of Archaeology and the British Museum) will take this opportunity to broaden digital participation amongst their existing audiences and reach new ones. Community participants will themselves have an opportunity to steer the project's impact, by co-designing follow-up research that must be both of immediate interest to them and appealing to a wider set of potential micro-funders. By taking part, individuals and communities will also strengthen their own analytical, digital and photographic skills.

Second, above and beyond the impact on people and groups who contribute directly, the project's outcomes will be beneficial to archaeological practitioners working in resource management and the commercial archaeological sector as new open data will support enhanced resource impact statements and desk-based archaeological assessments. We will reach this group both directly through the project forum and social media, and via representative bodies such as the Council for British Archaeology and the Institute of Field Archaeologists. In the eastern Mediterranean, our project is also very relevant to the work of heritage NGOs in Gaza and the West Bank, and we will build on the team's extensive contacts to raise awareness.

Third, we will connect with two types of digital practitioner outside of traditional academic circles. Programmers and modellers will be able to use the open data produced by this project to develop a rich range of online resources, for example incorporating 3D artefact representations into multimedia applications or immersive virtual environments and we will engage with this sector thanks to the advisory group's professional links and via UCL's centre for entrepreneurship and business interaction. We will also support the group of digital professionals working in higher education and in the Galleries, Library, Archives and Museum (GLAM) sector, by producing technical guidelines detailing how crowd-sourcing can be used as tool for low-cost community engagement and for diversifying funding possibilities. These guidelines will be made available via the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement and GLAM-related representative bodies and organisations such as the Museum Association and The Audience Agency. In addition, the project team will make efforts to expand our recent links with the Open Knowledge Foundation and the Citizen Cyberscience Centre in order to demonstrate the potential for greater involvement by these 'open society' movements in archaeology.

The fourth and final group that will benefit from this research comprises those who provide professional training and those who shape policy in the cultural sector. The former will be made aware of our conclusions about how to support the participation of people with only basic digital skills and will be able to repurpose our own digital training resources. Targeted executive summaries will allow bodies such as the Department for Culture Media and Sport, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and English Heritage to invoke the project's results as case studies as part of their own white papers and policy-making.

Publications

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Bevan A (2015) The data deluge in Antiquity

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Bonacchi C (2014) Crowd-sourced Archaeological Research: The MicroPasts Project in Archaeology International

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Bonacchi C (2017) Digital Co-production in Archaeology. An editorial in Internet Archaeology

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Bonacchi C (2015) Experiments in Crowd-funding Community Archaeology in Journal of Community Archaeology & Heritage

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Bonacchi C (2019) Participation in heritage crowdsourcing in Museum Management and Curatorship

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Chiara Bonacchi (2018) Co-producing Knowledge Online in AHRC Connected Community Review Series

 
Description We have successfully demonstrated that a website devoted to fostering multiple different kinds of crowd-sourcing initiative associated with historical, archaeological and heritage research can both be very popular and produce high quality re-usable data. Our ongoing study of the nature of public engagement via the site also offers insights into citizen humanities and citizen science more generally.
Exploitation Route The raw data is published in open formats and is therefore available for re-use.
Sectors Environment,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL http://crowdsourced.micropasts.org/
 
Description Over 3500 members of the public have participated from over 20 other countries, completing some 150,000 tasks for some 20 different projects, co-developed by MicroPasts and more than 25 other research projects, museums, libraries and archives worldwide. We have created over 100 3D models of museum artefacts that have been viewed over 50,000 times online at https://sketchfab.com/micropasts where they are freely available. They have also been downloaded and printed by members of the public and used a Bronze Age virtual reality experience at the British Museum Samsung Digital Discovery Centre. The project has also transcribed transcribed 30,000 catalogue cards of Bronze Age weapons, tools and ornaments and the resulting dataset is in use by multiple Bronze Age researchers. The project has published 5 tutorials on 3D photogrammetry and crowd-sourcing, which have been used for academic teaching in a wide variety of settings. We have received widespread publicity since the project's launch including thousands of registered and anonymous contributors and publicity in major newspapers, magazines and online forums, such as the following: AHRC notice of project launch: http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/News-and-Events/News/Pages/Crowd-sourcing-Britain%E2%80%99s-Bronze-Age.aspx UCL News: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/0414/160414-crowdsourcing-bronze-age British Museum blog: http://blog.britishmuseum.org/2014/08/04/citizen-archaeologists-wanted-to-help-rediscover-the-british-bronze-age/ Discover Magazine: http://discovermagazine.com/2014/oct/19-the-hot-half-dozen The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/aug/18/volunteers-british-museum-crowdsourcing-archeology To Vima (Greek national newspaper): http://www.tovima.gr/world/article/?aid=624036 Hyperallergic: http://hyperallergic.com/122740/crowdsourcing-the-bronze-age-in-a-new-platform-for-archaeology/ Heritage Daily: http://www.heritagedaily.com/2014/04/crowd-sourcing-britains-bronze-age/102823 IO9: http://io9.com/the-british-museum-is-crowdsourcing-the-bronze-age-1570362930 The Archaeology New Network: http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/crowd-sourcing-britains-bronze-age.html The New Historian: http://www.newhistorian.com/new-ways-fund-looking-ancients/1007/ Inheritage: http://www.inheritage.eu/news/crowdsourcing-and-crowdfunding-archaeology/ Crowdsourcing Portal: http://www.crowdsourcing.org/article/crowdsourcing-the-bronze-age-in-a-new-platform-for-archaeology/31583 Culture24: http://www.culture24.org.uk/history-and-heritage/archaeology/art511312-crowd-sourcing-web-project-micropasts-brings-amateur-and-professional-archaeologists http://www.culture24.org.uk/history-and-heritage/archaeology/art513504-bronze-age-finds-from-barrow-cemeteries-in-stonehenge-country-to-be-recreated-in-3d News360: http://news360.com/article/274913080 La Repubblica (Italy) http://ricerca.repubblica.it/repubblica/archivio/repubblica/2015/12/13/smartmuseum38.html?ref=search 13 December 2015. One of the projects associated with this grant recently one the Archaeology Data Service Data Re-Use Award (http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/blog/2015/10/we-have-a-winner-digital-data-reuse-award-2015/).
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

 
Description Dr Chiara Bonacchi participated in the expert workshop organized by the AHRC, Heritage Futures, the Alan Turing Institute and the British Library on 'Heritage Data', British Library, UK.Participation on the potential of big data for research in the GLAM sector.
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact A number of points relating to crowdsourcing and social media data mining were raised and informed the conversation and report - these points derived from research undertaken as part of the MicroPasts and Ancient Identities Today projects.
 
Description Follow-on Funding for Impact and Engagement
Amount £79,000 (GBP)
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2015 
End 10/2015
 
Title 3D models of Roman transport amphoras 
Description This is a database of hundreds of different types of Roman amphora modelled in 3 dimensions and query-able for properties such as volumetric capacity, centre of gravity, tare weight etc. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This one the UK Archaeology Data Service Digital Data ReUse Award (http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/blog/2015/10/we-have-a-winner-digital-data-reuse-award-2015/). 
URL https://sketchfab.com/micropasts/folders/amphoras
 
Title 3D models of archaeological artefacts via crowd-sourcing and structure-from-motion 
Description We have crowd-sourced a series of 3D mesh and point cloud models for archaeological artefacts (predominantly from the British Museum) using structure-from-motion and with online public contributions to an intermediate photo-masking step in the modelling workflow. This working is ongoing (October 2014), but already available. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2014 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Coverage of the transcription effort itself in national newspapers and magazines. Involvement of at least 700 different authenticated users in online transcription between April and October 2014. These models have already been 3D printed by members of the public. 
URL http://micropasts.org/data-centre/
 
Title Image tagging of historical archaeological photographs taken by Agnes Horsfield. 
Description This is a series of keywords and localised image annotations of historical photographs taken in Jordan and neighbouring countries by Agnes Horsfield as part of archaeological fieldwork in the 1920s and 1930s. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2014 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact None as yet. 
URL http://micropasts.org/data-centre/
 
Title Object records for Egypt Exploration Society 
Description A series of transcriptions of thousand of object card catalogues from the Egypt Exploration Society's excavations at sites such as Amarna, Sedment, Sesebi, Buhen and Armant. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Development of an internship programme at the EES (http://www.ees.ac.uk/news/index/307.html). 
URL http://research.micropasts.org/2016/01/13/ees/
 
Title Transcription of National Bronze Age Implement Index 
Description We have been transcribing some 30,000 index cards constituting a full catalogue of the Bronze Age metal finds from the UK up to 1983 (held in the British Museum). This effort is now complete but requires final consolidation and checking. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2014 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Coverage of the transcription effort itself in national newspapers and magazines. Involvement of at least 700 different authenticated users in online transcription between April and October 2014. 
URL http://micropasts.org/data-centre/
 
Description Digital Data Curation 
Organisation British Museum
Department Department of Britain, Europe and Prehistory
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution The team, led by Dr Bonacchi for this collaboration, has started to organise a workshop on the public curation of big data that fuels research in the heritage sector. The workshop will be held in May 2017
Collaborator Contribution NA The workshop has not taken place yet.
Impact NA
Start Year 2016
 
Description Digital Data Curation 
Organisation Carleton University
Country Canada 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The team, led by Dr Bonacchi for this collaboration, has started to organise a workshop on the public curation of big data that fuels research in the heritage sector. The workshop will be held in May 2017
Collaborator Contribution NA The workshop has not taken place yet.
Impact NA
Start Year 2016
 
Description Digital Data Curation 
Organisation Harvard University
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The team, led by Dr Bonacchi for this collaboration, has started to organise a workshop on the public curation of big data that fuels research in the heritage sector. The workshop will be held in May 2017
Collaborator Contribution NA The workshop has not taken place yet.
Impact NA
Start Year 2016
 
Description Digital Data Curation 
Organisation Michigan State University
Department Department of Plant Biology
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The team, led by Dr Bonacchi for this collaboration, has started to organise a workshop on the public curation of big data that fuels research in the heritage sector. The workshop will be held in May 2017
Collaborator Contribution NA The workshop has not taken place yet.
Impact NA
Start Year 2016
 
Description Digital Data Curation 
Organisation University College London
Department Division of Medicine
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The team, led by Dr Bonacchi for this collaboration, has started to organise a workshop on the public curation of big data that fuels research in the heritage sector. The workshop will be held in May 2017
Collaborator Contribution NA The workshop has not taken place yet.
Impact NA
Start Year 2016
 
Description Digitisation and enhancement of British Museum collections 
Organisation British Museum
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution The MicroPasts team has developed relationships with several departments at the British Museum including. The team developed applications for the 3D modelling, transcription and geo-referencing of collections housed in these different departments, ranging from Byzantine and Roman artefacts to the Worthington George Smith catalogue. The team also supported MicroPasts volunteers' engagement with these collections via crowdsourcing.
Collaborator Contribution The department made available their collections and spent time helping with their initial digitisation, i.e. the creation of raw data to be then used for the crowdsourcing activities (e.g. photographing of objects, scanning of object cards, etc.)
Impact Crowdsourcing applications of two main kinds (3D photomasking and transcription), 3D models of artefacts, digitised and transcribed archival material. The collaboration was multi-disciplinary with British Museum departments providing expertise relevant to the collection and the MicroPasts team offering know-how on aspects related to the crowdsourcing as well as public engagement.
Start Year 2014
 
Description Fitzwilliam Museum Citizen Science 
Organisation University of Cambridge
Department The Fitzwilliam Museum
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Our research team provided the expertise to set up the citizen science project with the museum, provided a platform for dissemination of the project, post project analysis and data cleaning.
Collaborator Contribution A new citizen science partnership was started with the public engagement section of the Fitzwilliam Museum as a coproduction response to Covid 19 close down of the museum facilities. This project aimed to transcribe audio archives of podcasts. The museum provided access to the archive, a model of how they wanted data to be created and manipulated and a platform on which to publish the results, mention in the Vice-Chancellor's newsletter and social media coverage.
Impact This project resulted in: 50 participants transcribing audio data 50 podcast episodes and audio guide entries being made accessible for audiences A new section on the beta website for holding the audio guide content for the museum - https://beta.fitz.ms/objects-and-artworks/audio-guide R stats code specifically for the MicroPasts project to enable replication of the results Python scripts for splitting audio into segments Application code for the MicroPasts community (and pybossa) to reuse
Start Year 2020
 
Description Heritage Crowdsourcing 
Organisation British Museum
Department Digital and Publishing
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Dr Chiara Bonacchi has been working with other members of the MicroPasts team (Daniel Pett, British Museum; Andy Bevan UCL Institute of Archaeology) and the crowdsourcing development company SciFabric on the creation of new crowdsourcing templates that will be used as part of the Ancient Identities Today project. MicroPasts is an AHRC-funded project that is still ongoing as a collaboration between the British Museum and the UCL Institute of Archaeology. Dr Bonacchi enriched the MicroPasts crowdsourcing website with new kinds of heritage crowdsourcing.
Collaborator Contribution Daniel Pett, Andy Bevan and SciFabric supported Chiara Bonacchi in the technical development and review of the new heritage crowdsourcing templates.
Impact As a result of this collaboration a number of new templates for heritage crowdsourcing were developed. These templates will be used for the Ancient Identities Today project. However, they have also been shared and made available for download and re-use via the project GitHub account: https://github.com/IARHeritages.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Heritage Crowdsourcing 
Organisation SciFabric
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Dr Chiara Bonacchi has been working with other members of the MicroPasts team (Daniel Pett, British Museum; Andy Bevan UCL Institute of Archaeology) and the crowdsourcing development company SciFabric on the creation of new crowdsourcing templates that will be used as part of the Ancient Identities Today project. MicroPasts is an AHRC-funded project that is still ongoing as a collaboration between the British Museum and the UCL Institute of Archaeology. Dr Bonacchi enriched the MicroPasts crowdsourcing website with new kinds of heritage crowdsourcing.
Collaborator Contribution Daniel Pett, Andy Bevan and SciFabric supported Chiara Bonacchi in the technical development and review of the new heritage crowdsourcing templates.
Impact As a result of this collaboration a number of new templates for heritage crowdsourcing were developed. These templates will be used for the Ancient Identities Today project. However, they have also been shared and made available for download and re-use via the project GitHub account: https://github.com/IARHeritages.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Heritage Crowdsourcing 
Organisation University College London
Department Institute of Archaeology
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Dr Chiara Bonacchi has been working with other members of the MicroPasts team (Daniel Pett, British Museum; Andy Bevan UCL Institute of Archaeology) and the crowdsourcing development company SciFabric on the creation of new crowdsourcing templates that will be used as part of the Ancient Identities Today project. MicroPasts is an AHRC-funded project that is still ongoing as a collaboration between the British Museum and the UCL Institute of Archaeology. Dr Bonacchi enriched the MicroPasts crowdsourcing website with new kinds of heritage crowdsourcing.
Collaborator Contribution Daniel Pett, Andy Bevan and SciFabric supported Chiara Bonacchi in the technical development and review of the new heritage crowdsourcing templates.
Impact As a result of this collaboration a number of new templates for heritage crowdsourcing were developed. These templates will be used for the Ancient Identities Today project. However, they have also been shared and made available for download and re-use via the project GitHub account: https://github.com/IARHeritages.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Partnership with Archaeology Data Service: Radiocarbon Hunt 
Organisation University of York
Department Archaeology Data Service (ADS)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are crowd-sourcing the search for and collection of radiocarbon dates otherwise buried in a 'grey literature' library of some 40,000+ commercial archaeological fieldwork reports held by the Archaeology Data Service.
Collaborator Contribution Provision of access to the entire grey literature library, social media support, preparation for launch.
Impact None as yet.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Partnership with Egypt Exploration Society 
Organisation Egypt Exploration Society
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Learned Society 
PI Contribution The MicroPasts team developed crowdsourcing applications for the transcription and georeferencing of archival collections owned by the Egypt Exploration Society (EES) including object card collections from a number of 20th century archaeological missions (e.g. Armant seasons, Buhen seasons, Sesebi and Amarna seasons, etc.). They also gave gave lecture on heritage crowdsourcing for scholars hosted by EES in summer 2015.
Collaborator Contribution The EES provided their archival collections for crowdsourcing.
Impact Crowdsourcing applications, scanned and transcribed cards, lectures. The collaboration was multidisciplinary with EES providing expertise related to the collection and the MicroPasts team about crowdsourcing and public engagement.
Start Year 2014
 
Description Partnership with Mary Rose Trust 
Organisation Mary Rose Trust
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution The MicroPasts team developed 3D photo-masking applications to mask photos of Mary Rose artefacts. The team also supported MicroPasts volunteers with the creation of models of Mary Rose objects using the masks that had been crowdsourced. This process helped the Mary Rose Museum to engage existing and new audiences in new ways and to create a number of outputs (3D models, 3D prints, and blog posts) that were used in a number of educational activities online and offline, in the museum spaces.
Collaborator Contribution The Mary Rose curators, photographer and outreach officers chose and photographed 5 objects that were then modelled by MicroPasts volunteers. The photo-taking was guided by the MicroPasts team via face-to-face training and tutorials. Mary Rose staff also publicised MicroPasts crowdsourcing applications related to their collections and were involved in interactions with the public to answer questions about the artefacts used in the activities.
Impact 2 crowdsourcing applications, 4 modelled objects of which 3D prints were also made. Educational activities undertaken at the Mary Rose museum using MicroPasts 3D models and prints. The collaboration was multidisciplinary with the Mary Rose Trust providing expertise related to the collection and the MicroPasts team about crowdsourcing and public engagement.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Partnership with Museo Egizio 
Organisation Egyptian Museum of Turin
Country Italy 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We have been crowdsourcing the 3D photo-masking and modelling of objects housed at the Egyptian Museum of Turin, Italy.
Collaborator Contribution The Museum helped to make MicroPasts known in Italy, through nation-wide publicity via articles in major Italian newspapers such as La Repubblica and La Stampa.
Impact 3D models, shared via the 3D modelling platform Sketchfab; blog posts; engagement of members of the public living in Italy (further internationalisation of the research and crowdsourcing activity); formal inclusion of a 'public archaeology' and open data agenda in the policy of Museo Egizio.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Partnership with the Minnesota Historical Society 
Organisation Minnesota Historical Society
Country United States 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution The project team created source code and scripts for the manipulation of data from excavations by the Minnesota Historical Society at Fort Snelling.
Collaborator Contribution Provision of data for crowdsourcing, expert advice on these data.
Impact Development of ongoing relationship, framework for creation of other projects.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Partnership with the New Forest Park Authority 
Organisation New Forest Park Authority
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Crowd-sourced translation of WW2 newsletters from a German Prisoner-of-War camp in the New Forest.
Collaborator Contribution Provision of scans of newsletters, public outreach, long-term archiving of the results.
Impact Only the first newsletter is translated and a second newsletter's translation is currently ongoing.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Partnership with the Palestine Exploration Fund 
Organisation Palestine Exploration Fund
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution The MicroPasts team developed crowdsourcing applications for the 3D photomasking and modelling of objects owned by the Palestine Exploration Fund. The team also helped to support engagement with these crowdsourcing applications. This also offered PEF new avenues for engaging current and new audiences.
Collaborator Contribution The Palestine Exploration Fund provided the artefact collections that were used in crowdsourcing and modelling activities by MicroPasts volunteers.
Impact Crowdsourcing applications, 4 3D models of objects. The collaboration was multidisciplinary with PEF providing expertise related to the collection and the MicroPasts team about crowdsourcing and public engagement.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Partnership with the Petrie Museum 
Organisation Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Learned Society 
PI Contribution The MicroPasts team developed crowdsourcing applications for the transcription of a collection of diaries of the archaeologist Flinders Petrie, housed at the Petrie Museum.
Collaborator Contribution The Petrie Museum made available scans of the diary pages to be transcribed and helped with the promotion of the application as well as answering questions from the public that related to the collections that were crowdsourced.
Impact Crowdsourcing applications, transcribed diaries of Flinders Petrie. The collaboration was multidisciplinary with the Petrie Museum providing expertise related to the collection and the MicroPasts team about crowdsourcing and public engagement.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Project Andvari 
Organisation Catholic University of America
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The MicroPasts crowdsourcing website helped the classification of medieval stone artefacts housed in Northern European museums. A new method of linking open data was tested.
Collaborator Contribution They offered their collections of medieval stone artefacts.
Impact One crowdsourcing applications and TOT Objects classified as a result. Public engagement with collections housed in different and geographically spread museum organisations.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Project Andvari 
Organisation University of Mississippi
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The MicroPasts crowdsourcing website helped the classification of medieval stone artefacts housed in Northern European museums. A new method of linking open data was tested.
Collaborator Contribution They offered their collections of medieval stone artefacts.
Impact One crowdsourcing applications and TOT Objects classified as a result. Public engagement with collections housed in different and geographically spread museum organisations.
Start Year 2015
 
Title Crowd-funding platform (Neighbor.ly fork) 
Description Crowd-funding platform using a PayPal Express payment gateway and forked from the popular Catarse/Neighbor.ly initiative. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2014 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact None as yet. 
URL https://github.com/MicroPasts/neighborly
 
Title Crowd-sourcing application for 3D model photo-masking 
Description This application works within the Pybossa citizen science framework and has been implement as part of the MicroPasts project (micropasts.org). It allows online contributors to mask individual photographs of archaeological artefacts so that these mask can then be used to improve 3D model construction via Structure-from-Motion. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2014 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact Used by at least 700 different authenticated users between April and October 2014. 
URL https://github.com/MicroPasts
 
Title Crowd-sourcing application for index card transcription 
Description This application works within the Pybossa citizen science framework and has been implement as part of the MicroPasts project (micropasts.org). It allows online contributors to transcribe images of handwritten index cards into a series of pre-determined fields. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2014 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact Used by at least 700 different authenticated users between April and October 2014. 
URL https://github.com/MicroPasts
 
Title Crowd-sourcing application for tagging historical photographs 
Description This application works within the Pybossa citizen science framework and has been implemented as part of the MicroPasts project (micropasts.org). It allows online contributors to tag scanned historical photographs with keywords and spatial annotations on the image. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2014 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact Used by at least 700 different authenticated users between April and October 2014. 
URL https://github.com/MicroPasts
 
Title Crowd-sourcing platform (Pybossa fork) 
Description This is a fork of the Pybossa citizen science platform (http://pybossa.com/), with a series of modifications, including a new theme. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2014 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact None as yet 
URL https://github.com/MicroPasts
 
Title Crowdsourcing applications for photo-tagging and transcribing the Scottish Political Archive 
Description Crowdsourcing applications for photo-tagging and transcribing the Scottish Political Archive on the MicroPasts website. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2020 
Impact Engagement of members of the public with the digitisation of leaflets and photographs the are part of the of the Scottish Political Archive. 
 
Title Crowdsourcing software for assignation of Roman Imperial Coinage Identifiers to Portable Antiquities Scheme coins 
Description This javascript and HTML5 application allowed the Portable Antiquities Scheme and the American Numismatic Society to collaborate with the public to crowdsource Roman Imperial Coinage numbers for coins discovered by the public in England and Wales. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2015 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact Enhancement of PAS database (https://finds.org.uk) and incorporation of data into NEH funded Online Coins of the Roman Empire (http://numismatics.org/ocre). 
URL https://github.com/MicroPasts/romanImperialCoins
 
Title Forum software (Discourse fork) 
Description This is a fork, only slightly modified from the master, of the Discourse forum software (http://www.discourse.org/) 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2014 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact None as yet. 
URL https://github.com/MicroPasts
 
Title Python scripts for image manipulation 
Description Python scripts for image tiling, bulk image download from S3, image masking based on geoJSON polygons, etc. All tasks associated with the manipulation of crowd-sourcing outputs. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2014 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact None as yet 
URL https://github.com/MicroPasts/MicroPasts-Scripts
 
Title R scripts for crowd-sourcing data consolidation 
Description These are a series of scripts for consolidating crowd-sourcing data from the MicroPasts platform. They are largely associated withe manipulation of JSON output and various cleaning and re-arrangement task to enable expert review. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2014 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact None as yet 
URL https://github.com/MicroPasts/MicroPasts-Scripts
 
Title WebGL viewer 
Description This viewer for 3D models is built with WebGL and three.js. it inlcudes tools for handling metadata via Markdown files, facility for loading .obj models and multiple textures from any publicly accessible URL, as well as measurement tools. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2014 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact None as yet. 
URL https://github.com/MicroPasts/MicroPasts-3Dview
 
Description 'After the crowds disperse: Crowdsourced data rediscovered and researched' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact An AHRC funded Towards a National Collection Foundation project workshop focused on Citizen Science and insights drawn from projects engaged in this field. Pett and Bonnachi presented on the work of the MicroPasts project to an audience of professional colleagues and then answered questions for the organisers. This was intended as a knowledge transfer activity.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://blog.nationalarchives.gov.uk/after-the-crowds-disperse-crowdsourced-data-rediscovered-and-re...
 
Description 'Archeologia e comunicazione' (Archaeology and Communication). Keynote given by Dr Chiara Bonacchi for the Workshop 'Archeologia e comunita': una stratigrafia di relezioni' (Archaeology and communities: a statigraphy of relations', given on 19/12/17 at IULM University, Milan, Italy. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A lecture where both MicroPasts and the Ancient Identities Today projects featured prominently.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description 12-16/09/18 talk: 'Crowdsourcing Arts and Heritage', for the 5th International Symposium on Cultural Heritage Conservation and Digitisation (Tsinghua University, Beijing, China).  
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact 12-16/09/18'Crowdsourcing Arts and Heritage', for the 5th International Symposium on Cultural Heritage Conservation and Digitisation (Tsinghua University, Beijing, China). 
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description 12/02/19 talk: Cultural Citizenship and participation in heritage crowdsourcing', Centre for the Environment, Heritage and Policy, University of Stirling (Stirling, UK). 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact 12/02/19 Cultural Citizenship and participation in heritage crowdsourcing', Centre for the Environment, Heritage and Policy, University of Stirling (Stirling, UK).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description 2017, 'Digital Heritage 'Big' Data Hacking and Visualisation', International Workshop organised at the UCL Institute of Archaeology by Dr Chiara Bonacchi and Dan Pett (British Museum, UK). 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This workshop will discuss expressive uses of 'big data' visualisations to engage citizens with the results of research into the human past and its contemporary legacies. It will bring together perspectives coming from the creative arts, design, software development, cultural heritage and museum studies.
Speakers and discussants will reflect over the principles that could and should be driving the development of digital applications for the public interpretation and communication of heritage research that is based on the analysis of relatively large, varied and rapidly changing quantities of data extracted from web infrastructures.
The workshop is linked to the Ancient Identities Today project, which is experimenting with approaches that combine the use of 'smaller' and 'bigger' data online and offline, to study and communicate the meanings and uses of ideas and materials from the Iron Age, Roman and Early Medieval pasts in contemporary Britain.
Organisers: Chiara Bonacchi (UCL Institute of Archaeology) and Daniel Pett (British Museum)
The event is funded by the UCL Global Engagement Fund, with additional sponsorship from the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities, and the UCL Institute of Archaeology Heritage Studies Section.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://ancientidentities.org/digital-heritage-workshop/
 
Description Community-Based Research During Covid-19 Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A workshop was held by the Society of Museum Archaeologists entitled Community-Based Research During Covid-19 Workshop, with Pett as one of the panelists to present on his experiences with citizen science. This was meant to impart insights to the participants, with small breakout groups. This collaborative working event led to the production of a new crowdsourcing project with English Heritage - identification of people related to the Roman Excavations at Corbridge.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Courtauld research panel discussion 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A panel was held to mark the launch of Jack Hartnell's 'Continuous Page' research project with international participants being live broadcast on Zoom for a global ticketed audience. Panelists presented on digital documentation methods and anecdotes from their academic practise. Post presentation, panelists discussed concepts amongst themselves before being turned over to online Q&A.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://youtu.be/7BmPeFTeX1Q
 
Description Engagement with archaeology, history and heritage via online crowdsourcing 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact over 2000 people worldwide helped creating or enhancing archaeological and historical data via the MicroPasts crowdsourcing website. In this way they engage with an array of collection types, historical periods, themes and research methods. The following was reported and observed: acquisition/consolidation of knowledge and skills (collection specific or technical, etc.), change of behaviour (e.g. increased team-work, change of occupation status, etc.), enjoyment and development of creativity particularly in relation to the manipulation of data for the creation of 3D models.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016
URL http://crowdsourced.micropasts.org
 
Description Lecture on Crowdsourcing and Crowdfunding in Archaeology, given on 19 Feb 2018 at the UCL Institute of Archaeology by CB 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Lecture on Crowdsourcing and Crowdfunding in Archaeology, delivered using MicroPasts as a case study.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Lecture on Heritage Crowdsourcing delivered as part of the PG course on Archaeological Data Science, at the UCL Institute of Archaeology, in December 2018. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The class introduced heritage crowdsourcing from both a theoretical and a practical point of view, using the MicroPasts case study as a platform. About 10 PG students participated and required further information about the topic presented.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description London Museums Group - Agile 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact An online panel discussion moderated by the director of the Cartoon Museum, with Daniel Pett from the Fitzwilliam Museum and the director of the Shuttleworth Collection (Bedfordshire) discussing the impacts of Covid19 on working practise in museums - focus points were on digital and the methods that this could implement/learn from. Over 90 people attended with robust questioning following the panel discussion.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://youtu.be/mbbwfbRq0sc
 
Description Michigan State University: Institute of Digital Archaeology Method and Practice 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Co-Investigator Daniel Pett participated for 2 years in the MSUDAI workshops funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. These two years of workshops, talks and practical activities culminated in participants using the MicroPasts platform to deploy their own crowdsourcing projects (institutions included Denver Museum of Nature and Science and Minnesota Historical Society) and gain benefits from international co-operation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016
URL http://digitalarchaeology.msu.edu/final-thoughts-on-msudai-crowdsourcing-and-the-world-of-digital-ar...
 
Description MicroPasts Learning Resources 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact These resources include technical notes on transcription, 3d modelling strategies, etc.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016
URL http://micropasts.org/learning/
 
Description MicroPasts Research Blog 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact On this blog, we or collaborators have offered short discussion of research results, research rationale or other interesting news associated with the MIcroPasts project of the research topics it has become involved with.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016
URL http://research.micropasts.org/
 
Description MicroPasts crowdsourcing conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A conference drawing together insights into crowdsourcing history and archaeology, held at the Royal Geographic Society in March 2015.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHoSalhpL825RuHkQh2tbjg
 
Description Podcast Interview: Shawn Graham 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Professor Shawn Graham, Carleton University interviewed Daniel Pett for a podcast episode and for his teaching course for Canadian students. This wide ranging discussion touched on topics related to all of Pett's AHRC funded research activities
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://digiarch.netlify.app/
 
Description Public talk for RESCUE-The British Archaeological Trust's 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk: 'Co-producing knowledge and collections online',; public talk for RESCUE-The British Archaeological Trust's AGM and Public Lecture/Panel Discussion on Digging into the future of digitisation: what does this mean for archaeology?
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Pushkin Museum, Moscow Digital Round Table 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact An online (Zoom) international round table was organised as part of the Pushkin Museum's "Inter-Museum" Digital Technologies conference that was simulcast in Russian and English. This roundtable had presentations from each of 4 delegates talking about their research foci, the Fitzwilliam contribution was on 3D technologies, citizen science and linked data. The roundtable moved on to discuss between panelists and then was opened to the international audience . This conference was meant to be a physical, in person event, but due to Covid 19 went online completely with over 500 delegates registered.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://imuseum.ru/en/
 
Description Talk given on 22/06/2017 by Dr Chiara Bonacchi, for the workshop 'Digital and Analogue tools in heritage management - Contemporary and future perspectives', Newcastle University, UK. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk on crowdsourcing in heritage - raised awareness of the processes and methods that support this activity. About 30 participants gained awareness of this.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Talk on participation in heritage crowdsourcing 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk on participation in heritage crowdsourcing for the workshop: 'After the crowds disperse: crowdsourced data rediscovered and researched'. This workshop was a collaboration between the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, The National Archives, Royal Museums Greenwich and Zooniverse. The workshop formed part of the AHRC-funded Engaging Crowds project that sits within the AHRC programme: Towards a National Collection: Opening UK Heritage to the World. Specifically the event wanted to identify and address the significant hurdles to overcome in order to achieve seamless movement of data between institutional collection management systems (CMS) and crowdsourcing platforms and back again.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Teaching of Crowdsourcing in Archaeology and Heritage 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The MicroPasts websites (and methods) were used for hands-on teaching at PG level. The session was taught at the UCL Institute of Archaeology, as part of the Archaeological Data Science module, and focussed on crowdsourcing as a method for research and public engagement in archaeology and heritage.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017
 
Description • 2018, 'The pop-up museum', Exhibition session at Mozilla Festival (Mozfest), London. Co-organised with Dan Pett (Fitzwilliam Museum), Jennifer Wexler (British Museum), 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact • 2018, 'The pop-up museum', Exhibition session at Mozilla Festival (Mozfest), London. Co-organised with Dan Pett (Fitzwilliam Museum), Jennifer Wexler (British Museum),
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description • 2018, Social Heritages: Addressing Global Challenges in Contemporary Society. Culture and Heritage Session, delivered for Research Week, at University of Stirling, UK. Highlighting innovative research directions for the field. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact 2018, Social Heritages: Addressing Global Challenges in Contemporary Society. Culture and Heritage Session, delivered for Research Week, at University of Stirling, UK. Highlighting innovative research directions for the field.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018