Tag Archives: heritage

Connecting Heritage with the web

This came into me from a friend who runs the fabulous Voices of the Past  site


Throughout the world, people are connecting about heritage preservation issues on an unprecedented level. One of the ways they are doing this is through “social media,” the term applied to online tools that inspire conversation and interaction. These tools are generally both easy to use and free.

The web address below will take you to ten questions regarding how you use the web and your perceptions of how social media may be used to improve the work of those involved in heritage professions. This anonymous questionnaire is one part of an ongoing study on the topic. This is an open link, so please feel free to forward copies to your colleagues.

Thank you in advance for taking 5-10 minutes out of your day to participate. We will use your feedback to evaluate information and training needs for these topics in the context of heritage preservation. Results will be shared through a Creative Commons license.

Thanks again,

Jeff Guin, National Center for Preservation Technology and Training


I have already done it….  took me 3 minutes top!


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OPEN ARCHIVE – a new web based system for accessing our past

OPEN ARCHIVE – a new web based system for accessing our past

The wealth of information gathered by local archaeological groups and societies on excavations, surveys and documentary research is one of the important sources of data for the study of archaeology in the UK.  Currently, this archive of British archaeology is stored locally, within libraries and local history centres as well as with the originating group themselves.  In addition, PhDs and other research can be found in locations often scattered throughout the country.  The premise of Open Archive is to collect the records of the past and present and share them with everybody.

Open Archive is an accessible library of user generated reports and publications where archaeology societies, PhD research students, graveyard recording and community groups can share their discoveries with a wide audience.

The easy to use interface combines intuitive searches by period, type of project and location with a map based view showing the location of the selected documents.  Each item can then be viewed as either a short description or as the complete publication.  This resource creates a public portal to the records of our shared heritage that were previously only available on a few local archaeology group websites OR as paper copies in the local library.  The idea is to allow this to be both interactive and open to sharing via feeds and direct data transfer.

The data entry form is modelled exactly on the Discovery and Excavation Scotland (DES) fields, and has the potential to allow direct transfer of this data to the record.  (For future projects this would mean every record sent to Open Archive that is located in Scotland could be automatically be sent to the DES along with a copy of the report.)  In addition, we are working on automatically sending Treasure Trove reporting, Open Archive is developing for the future and your comments are welcome.

Loading the pdf versions of the document onto Open Archive is a quick step by step process, maintaining ease of use without compromising the value of the information gathered.  The more users that utilise this secure public archive, the more useful it becomes, building a written record of the past in Britain by those that know it best.

Free to register and use, we are currently in consultation to help take paper records and transform them into searchable digital formats, where the rediscovery of these publications may even re-ignite interest in the area.

Open Archive is exactly that – a public resource, created for everyone.

You can view the current Version here http://www.openarchive.co.uk

and we welcome comment info@digitalpast.co.uk

David Connolly and Steve White (Digital Past)

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UK Heritage Bill dropped AGAIN!

In December the Architects website reported the dropping of the Heritage Bill


Cross party condemnation as Heritage Protection Bill dropped

3 December, 2008         By Will Henley

MPs from all three main parties have criticised the government’s axing of the Heritage Protection Bill from next year’s parliamentary programme, amid claims historic buildings are being put at risk.

The dropping of the bill from today’s Queen’s Speech – ostensibly due to the prioritising of legislation to tackle the credit crunch and first predicted in BD last month – is a huge blow for English Heritage, which had hoped to take over responsibility for listing designations from the department of culture, media and sport.

The news also comes as leading policy thinktank Demos released a report warning that Britain would become a “cultural desert” if cuts to the conservation sector continued.

English Heritage described the axing of the bill as “disappointing, but understandable” in the economic climate but observers predicted the legislation could now take years to be realised – if at all.

EH chief executive Simon Thurley is expected to attend a summit with heritage groups next week to discuss what can be salvaged from the draft bill.

Key measures which require legislative approval include protection for buildings being considered for listing and the creation of a single register of listed assets.

“English Heritage is putting on a brave face,” said Victorian Society director Ian Dungavell. “They have been working so hard on it for years and years but have had the rug pulled from under their feet.”…….  read more http://www.bdonline.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=3129091

Now it is July (the bill was supposed to be ready for June!) and this is the news.  from teh CBA website

There is deep disappointment again that the Heritage Protection Bill for England and Wales does not appear in the Draft Legislative Programme for 2009/10 announced by the Government this week.

The Programme indicates the legislation likely to be included in the Queen’s Speech for the next parliamentary session. Clearly there is now little expectation of the legislative reforms which the 2007 White Paper promised would place the historic environment at the heart of the planning system. The Bill aimed to simplify and strengthen existing legislation and introduce opportunities for people to be more involved in protecting and enhancing their local heritage. It also paved the way for the signing and ratification of the Hague Convention, the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. Without the Bill, the UK will soon be the only international power not to have signed the convention.

Mike Heyworth, CBA’s Director said:

The lack of Government commitment to these uncontroversial and widely supported reforms is deplorable. The Council for British Archaeology will be responding to the publication of the Draft Legislative Programme in the strongest terms. We will be working with the All Party Parliamentary Archaeology Group to progress the most badly needed reforms, some of which are possible through secondary legislation, and to press Government to deliver on other objectives for the heritage. Our historic environment fundamentally shapes the quality of our surroundings and is integral to policies for sustainability. It must be at the heart of new policies for the way places are designed and planned, not side-lined as a low priority.

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Past Horizons – Issue 8 online Now

Full version  http://publications.pasthorizons.tv/?id=pasthorizonsmay09

PDF Version http://www.scribd.com/doc/15572373/Past-Horizons-May-2009-Issue-8

Issue 8 - Past Horizons Online Magazine

Issue 8 - Past Horizons Online Magazine

Challenge yourself.

News stories from around the world.

The Great Arab Revolt Project
Archaeology in the Jordanian desert through the eyes of volunteer Susan Daniels.

Bamburgh Research Project
Archaeology is in itself a destructive process and as a result needs to be fully recorded. The media department at the Bamburgh Research Project was created to experiment with video recording as a means to deal more fully with this issue. Gerard Twomey, the media director, explains the ideas behind this successful project.

Where the Camel meets the Canoe
A team of Yale University academics have set up the Timbuktu Research Project in response to the worsening environmental conditions in this remote region. Their research has led them to conclude this is not the first time Timbuktu has faced this particular dilemma.

Gloucester’s Itinerant Diggers
Archaeologist Austin Ainsworth on the launch of an exciting heritage project for Gloucester’s homeless community.

Dig In
Archaeological volunteer digs and field schools for 2009.

Beneath the Bricks
A local group turns potential conflict into a positive outcome for the community in a historic Louisiana town.

Archaeologist Douglas Post Park.

Dig Cook
Culinary escapades from Annie

Interested In…
Distance learning.

David Connolly discusses what archaeology means to him.

Back Pages
Alternative Diggers’ Photo Archive.  (are you in there??)

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World Heritage and Science workshop in London


Many Scientific achievements such as agriculture and industrialisation have been recognised on the World Heritage List, while other areas relating to scientific knowledge are under-represented,  particularly the natural sciences (physical sciences including astronomy,  chemistry, and geology, and biological sciences).  A distinguished panel
of speakers will explore these issues and highlight the wealth of  associations between milestones in scientific thought and World Heritage  and Tentative list sites int the UK. 

For futher information and a booking form see below

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Past Horizons Magazine issue 7

Past Horizons Magazine
Issue 7 – March 2009
David and Maggie (editors: Past Horizons) would like to welcome you back (has it really been 2 months!) This is a packed edition and I think with every issue, we actually enjoy it more, and hope you do too!
for the super dooper version!

for the online Pdf version

An ongoing excavation of the fortified township of Artezian in the Crimean peninsula. Focusing mainly on the era of the Bosporan Kingdom, particularly the time of the war with the Romans of 44-45 AD where a wealth of finds has enabled the archaeologists to build up a strong narrative for that time.

Slievemore – Excavating a Bronze Age Platform
Achill Archaeological Field School began excavating what looked like a roundhouse platform on the slopes of Slievemore mountain. Stuart Rathbone discusses why he now thinks the structure is not domestic and may have a more ritual purpose.

Accessible, Inclusive Archaeology
How to make the study of archaeology accessible to everyone. Reading University leads the way in facing that challenge.

Low Level Aerial Photography
Adam Stanford discusses the benefits to the archaeologist that this particular method of photography can bring.

The Scottish Episcopal Palaces Project has been excavating at Fetternear, the summer palace of the mediaeval Bishops of Aberdeen.

Rock-Art Field School
Malaysia is the focus of this rock-art field school which brings together experts from around the world at the forefront of research.

Dig Cook
Annie Evans on culinary escapades, with a delicious recipe each issue.

and much much more…

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Nighthawking Report

New Survey Reveals Low Levels of Prosecution and Crime Reporting

A survey commissioned by English Heritage and supported by its counterparts across the UK and Crown Dependencies has revealed that the threat to heritage posed by illegal metal detecting, or nighthawking, is high but arrest or prosecution remains at an all time low and penalties are woefully insufficient.

The Nighthawking Survey, published today (16th February 2009), found out that over a third of sites attacked by illegal metal detectorists between 1995 and 2008 are Scheduled Monuments and another 152 undesignated sites are also known to have been raided, but secrecy surrounding the crime means that it is significantly under-reported. Only 26 cases have resulted in formal legal action, with the punishment usually being a small fine from as little as £38. (Illegally parking a car carries a £120 fine.)

The crime is most prevalent in the central and eastern counties but rare in the west and south-west and almost unheard of in Northern Ireland and the Crown Dependencies. Counties where the highest incidences of nighthawking have been reported are (in descending order): Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Kent, Oxfordshire, and the Yorkshire region. ‘Honey pot’ sites such as Roman sites are often targeted repeatedly and the period after ploughing is the most common time, with considerable damage caused to crops and fields.

Illegal metal detecting is the search and removal of antiquities from the ground using metal detectors without the permission of the landowners or on prohibited land such as Scheduled Monuments. It is a form of theft and can be prosecuted under the Theft Act.

The heart of the problem lies in the vicious circle of under-reporting of the crime, which in turn creates a false picture of the seriousness of the situation, making this a low priority crime for the police. It is also compounded by the difficulty in collecting evidence.

Over time, the lack of successful prosecution has led to the lack of confidence of the victims in the legal process. The survey found out that only 14% of landowners, when afflicted by nighthawking, have reported it to the police. Most of them responded by tackling the culprits themselves or imposing a complete ban on metal detecting on their land.

The survey also calls for the setting up of a central database of reported nighthawking incidents and a tightening of the Treasure Act requiring all who come into contact with treasure finds, not just the finder, to report them. Full details of the survey including its recommendations are downloadable from http://www.helm.org.uk/nighthawking

Professor Sir Barry Cunliffe, Interim Chairman of English Heritage, said: “Responsible metal detecting provides a valuable record of history, but illegal activities bring responsible ones into disrepute.

“Nighthawkers, by hoarding the finds or selling them on without recording or provenance, are thieves of valuable archaeological knowledge that belongs to us all. Even in the case when the finds are retrieved, the context of how and where exactly the finds were found has been lost, significantly diminishing their historical value. In the cases of internationally important material the loss of the unique evidence that these objects provide on our common history and origins is especially poignant. By establishing a clearer picture of the crime, this survey will help us to combat it more effectively.”

Read more here from teh Guardian:


The suvey:


The report should be here:



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