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digital archaeology

Autumn Beyer


March 3, 2016

Mapping Morton Village: User Interaction

March 3, 2016 | By | No Comments

We have made some major progress since Nikki’s post last week! Not only have we figured out our toggling layer problem, we have placed the interactive map into our website! While we still have some little things to keep working on and adding to the website, our focus is now on user interaction. How do we want visitors to the site to learn about archaeology? How do we want to highlight certain aspects of archaeology? How much do we want to show on the map without it becoming cluttered?

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Nikki Silva


February 26, 2016

Mapping Morton Village – Figuring Things Out

February 26, 2016 | By | No Comments

The past few weeks have been eventful for the Mapping Morton Village project, since Autumn’s blog post on 2/11, we have completed all of the content for the website, and continued working on the interactive map. Mapbox has been a bit of a struggle for us, as we could not get the data for Morton Village to appear on our map. We wanted multiple layers to show the work done during each year of excavation (1980s, 2008-2014). Within these layers we would have the content that we have been working on (see Autumn’s blog post) available as pop-ups on specific pit features or structures. We were unsure how to pull our shapefile layers from Mapbox into our website’s code to create these ‘year’ layers, anything we tried we could not see our data on the map. We researched extensively to try to find an answer to our problem, and were not having much luck until Autumn posted on the GIS Stack Exchange site with our issues and a few users were able to help us.

Our problem had been that we were trying to pull the tilesets, which are vector data, directly into our code, which will not work. To pull tilesets into the code, we needed to create an editor project in Mapbox Classic for each of our year layers, containing the structure and feature data as geoJSON files. Once we figured this out, I converted our shapefiles into geoJSON, and Autumn was able to adjust the code and add the map-id for each of our editor projects. We can toggle these layers on and off in the map, and we have also put content with each of their corresponding pit features/structures (see photos below). This makes things a little easier, because we have both the pit features and structures in the same layer (which we didn’t before) and we can easily format the data in the Mapbox Editor project for each layer and it automatically updates on our map (styling, descriptions, etc.). We have made a lot of progress in the past few weeks and we are excited about continuing to build the Mapping Morton Village interactive map! Read More

Autumn Beyer


February 11, 2016

Mapping Morton Village: Writing the Content

February 11, 2016 | By | No Comments

In this post, I would like to discuss what will be included within the Mapping Morton Village interactive map. For the past several weeks, Nikki Silva and myself have been working on the written content of Mapping Morton Village. We decided to write the content of the site with the public in mind, focusing on giving general background information. The map will have multiple layers, showing the extent of each year’s excavations. Each layer will highlight a different aspect of archaeological excavation and research, as well as give examples from Morton Village.

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Autumn Beyer


January 26, 2016

Mapping Morton Village: Coding the Website

January 26, 2016 | By | No Comments

Mapping Morton Village — writing the basic code for the website.

For the past two weeks, I have been working on the code for my joint CHI Fellowship project with Nikki SilvaMapping Morton Village. We knew the general structure of what we wanted the site to look like and using a bootstrap theme I created the foundation for our website.

However, I did have some issues at the beginning. I first attempted to combine two different bootstrap themes (a header theme and a footer theme), to get the look that we wanted, which turned out to not be the best approach. There were contrasting CSS styles that caused the footer of the website to not stay in the correct place and or have the size we wanted. After trying, for longer than I would like to admit, I realized that I needed to just start over!

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Autumn Beyer


December 2, 2015

Mapping Morton Village – A Digital Archaeological Experience

December 2, 2015 | By | No Comments

What is the Morton Village Site? Why did we choose to use it for our fellowship project?

Our project will be focused around a single archaeological site, Morton Village. The Morton Village site is a integrated Mississippian and Oneota habitation site, located in the Central Illinois River Valley, dating from around AD 1300 to 1400. Excavations at this site have taken place since the 1980s and current research at the site has been ongoing since 2008 through a joint project between Michigan State University and the Dickson Mounds Museum. We chose Morton Village as the focus for our fellowship because we both will use data from the Morton Village site for our dissertation research and we wanted our fellowship project to benefit the archaeological project.

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Autumn Beyer


November 13, 2015

The New Philadelphia Augmented Reality Tour App

November 13, 2015 | By | No Comments

This past week I attended the Midwest Archaeological Conference in Milwaukee, WI. One of the talks I found very interesting and relevant to our CHI Fellowship was by Christopher Fennel of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne, titled: New Philadelphia, Illinois: From Research Project to National Historic Landmark. He spoke about the significance of the site, and the augmented reality (AR) app that was developed to showcase the virtually reconstructed town through historical documents and archaeological evidence.

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Sylvia Deskaj


January 14, 2013

The Tumulus Mapping Archive: Tumulus

January 14, 2013 | By | 2 Comments


The project that is emerging as a result of my CHI Fellowship is one related to my dissertation research in northern Albania. The tumuli (burial mounds) of northern Albania appeared suddenly on the Shkodër plain around the start of the Bronze Age (ca. 3000 BC). As a result of the ongoing Projekti Arkeologjikë i Shkodrës (PASH), which is co-directed by Drs. Michael Galaty (Millsaps College) and Lorenc Bejko (University of Tirana), we have been able to locate, identify, and map most tumuli throughout the region. However, time is of the essence, particularly since tumuli are mined for soil and are being damaged and destroyed at a very high rate. My project, Tumulus, in its immediate form, will serve as a digital repository through which information collected for each tumulus will be made available to a wider audience.


Like the plethora of “culture types” commonly used to describe the Read More

Charlotte Marie Cable


October 14, 2011

Adventures in Archaeology: Charlotte Marie Cable enters the digital world

October 14, 2011 | By | No Comments

Community archaeology, Mid-East anthropology, Alaska, Adventure, Cycling, and Logophilia

Archaeology is the search for culture through material: intangible ideas about the world are made tangible through the ways we arrange and rearrange our physical worlds to reflect those ideas. These physical remains are what we archaeologists study: and usually, we study these remains by their destruction. We learn by taking things apart – and in such a way that we can’t put them back together again (imagine rebuilding a ziggurat!). This poses a major problem: as our knowledge grows, what we have, physically, to show for it decreases. The challenge in archaeology is trying to make what we’ve learned as easy to see, to touch, and to understand as the earth from which it comes.

I was born and raised in Alaska, where it takes 12 hours to drive to the center of the state. Visiting the “Lower 48” usually involved a Read More

Ethan Watrall


August 19, 2011

Announcing New Book – Archaeology 2.0: New Tools for Communications & Collaboration

August 19, 2011 | By | 2 Comments

I’m very happy to announce the publication of Archaeology 2.0: New Tools for Communication and Collaboration. Co-edited by Eric C. Kansa, Sarah Whitcher Kansa, and myself, the volume explores how the web is transforming archaeology and is the first in the new Cotsen Digital Archaeology series published by UCLA Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press.

The volume’s description reads:

How is the Web transforming the professional practice of archaeology? And as archaeologists accustomed to dealing with “deep time,” how can we best understand the possibilities and limitations of the Web in meeting the specialized needs of professionals in this field? These are among the many questions posed and addressed in Archaeology 2.0: New Approaches to Communication and Collaboration, edited by Eric Kansa, Sarah Whitcher Kansa, and Ethan Watrall. With contributions from a range of experts in archaeology and technology, this volume is organized around four key topics that illuminate how the revolution in Read More