Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sustainable Archaeology at the OAS Symposium

This past weekend staff from both Sustainable Archaeology Western and McMaster attended the annual Ontario Archaeology Society Symposium in Niagara Falls.

View of both the American and Canadian falls from the conference venue

In addition to our workshop at the end of the day, we were in the book room for the day Saturday, and were able to have some great conversations with a number of professional archaeologists, students, and representatives of other organizations such as the Canadian Conservation Institute and the Canadian Museum of Civilization. 

Book room table setup

We received some great feedback on our use of digital tools and inventory management logic  for labeling and cataloguing of artifacts at Sustainable Archaeology, and enjoyed introducing people to the "immersive archaeological experience" using the Oculus Rift - a virtual reality headset that is designed for the gaming industry. The Oculus at  SA is used to immerse users in a reconstruction of the Lawson village site (located next door to SA: Western at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology) created in summer 2012 by the Sustainable Archaeology Animation Unit internship, using the Unreal game engine. 

Trying out the Oculus

We look forward to continuing conversations from the weekend, and continue to welcome feedback on our draft Procedures and Practices document, available on our website. Thanks to the OAS for a great weekend!

Friday, October 18, 2013

"As it Happens": database development using Neo4J

Database development at Sustainable Archaeology "as it happens": the database team works with Neo4J .

Neo4j is used to power metadata queries, such as searches across attributes recorded for each artifact entered into the database.

Screenshot of Neo4J

This visualization of related nodes will be integrated into each element's record in the database, allowing a user to explore connections between different elements. For example, if the element of interest is an artifact, the user is able to explore the connections between that artifact and other related elements, such as the artifact's unit, and site of origin.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

October at Sustainable Archaeology

Work study student Branwen applying labels
October has arrived with a flurry of activity, the shipment of several skids of our green artifact storage boxes, and some beautiful colours out back of the facility in the Medway Valley. This month we welcomed two new faces to the facility: Western work study students Ilsa and Branwen. Together they have been helping us to advance over one of the bigger hurdles we have here at the facility - the application of over 27,000 labels to the shelves of the mobile shelving units. Each individual box in the facility will be stored at a unique shelf address, which will be recorded in the database via the DM code barcoding system. Each label stores the information for two shelf locations, the "front" box, and the "back" box behind it.

Throughout the remainder of the month we will be preparing to host a workshop at the Ontario Archaeological Society Symposium in Niagara Falls on Saturday October 26th. Hope to see you there!