I’ve been thinking a lot these last few weeks about my project for my CHI fellowship. As I have mentioned before, I strongly believe in making archaeology accessible to a broad range of people. In my work with the State Archaeologist of Michigan, as well as with various school groups, I’ve noticed that there are several things most folks really want to see: a timeline of Michigan archaeology to help put things into perspective, and lots of artifacts. You can view a basic version of the current available timeline on the State Archaeologist’s website. However, this timeline is very basic and lacks any interactive features. It also highlights very few artifacts.
Being influenced strongly by the Smithsonian Institute’s Human Evolution Timeline, my project is going to focus on creating a deeper, interactive timeline with actual artifact images, videos, or sound clips as appropriate. Much like the Human Evolution timeline, I’d like to show broader trends in prehistory, as well as climate changes, floral and faunal changes, and of course, artifacts. My hope for this project is for it to be accessible to a wide range of people, including school kids, general public, and pretty much anyone who may be interested in learning more about Michigan archaeology.
My ultimate goal is to demonstrate the breadth of Michigan history and the complexity of the human experience through time. Ideally, I’d be able to update the site as new information is discovered. The problem, so far, is figuring out how to do all of this. So, I am taking suggestions! Have you created something like this, and if so, what did you use?