Blogging the PhD

I’ve been thinking for some time that I should start a blog for my archaeology work, but kept putting it off until ‘the next project’ – well I’m six months into my PhD and now seems as good a time as any!

Just to give an idea of why this blog came about I’ll give you the brief run down of what I’m trying to achieve over the next few years.  Through my PhD research I want to investigate how archaeological reconstructions are assembled, and how the act of assembling them and the consequential output functions as an interpretative process. Initially my work comes as a reaction to the common role of visualisation in archaeology simply as a communicative tool which is often tagged onto publications as an afterthought, rather than it forming an integral and active part of the problem solving process when interpreting a site or artefact. Through a handful of case-studies I hope to provide in-depth and critical narratives of the reconstruction process throughout the stages of data collection in the field, creation of the 3D models and consumption of the resulting visualizations by an audience.

Data collection in this case will focus on the collection of laser scan datasets from my Scottish Ten case study sites. In particular I’m interested in the levels of subjectivity involved in this process and mapping where interpretation begins, be that in the field or during the post processing. The process of creating a reconstruction will be considered in the most detail, investigating ways of modelling uncertainty and assessing subjectivity. Leading on from the creation of a reconstruction, consumption of an image will be investigated in terms of presenting the previous stages to an audience.

Of course, the immediate problem with an angle of enquiry which focuses on the creation of a reconstruction is that at present the process itself is only significant to the sole creator. It is all very well to say that the importance of reconstruction lies in its creation, but if we have no way of mapping the interpretive process, how can we share its’ value?

So there you have it, this blog will form one of my avenues of documentation over the coming months! I’ll be posting about everything from my Indiana Jones-like fieldwork adventures to my hours spent slaving over a hot computer with only a packet of hobnobs for company…the journey begins!!

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