Like Autumn (read her recent blog here), I have also been researching JavaScript libraries that can be used to build interactive elements into websites. As archaeologists, we are always looking for new ways to reach a wider audience with our research and communicate about what we do. While websites are a great way to achieve these goals, it can be hard to translate some aspects of our hands-on field into a static website. Interactive elements, even simple ones, can help us to bridge this gap and create new ways for people to engage with our discipline. 

One solution that I found intriguing is EaselJS, a part of the larger CreateJS suite of JavaScript libraries, created by Grant Skinner and accessible on Github. EaselJS is a JavaScript library built to help people use the HTML 5 Canvas element, allowing developers to create simple games and interactive elements on their webpages. While this library can be used for creating any number of interactive experiences, many of their demos are intriguing and would be useful for building activities used to teach individuals about archaeology.  

Through EaselJS, developers can create drag-and-drop activities; simple scrolling or manipulation games; draw or paint sketches in a bounded box using your mouse; or create a mask over images that is erased through mouse actions, revealing a different image below. These options could be used to build a number of activities to teach people about archaeology and the techniques that we use in the field or the lab to learn about the past, such as digitally refitting artifacts, unmasking objects to see how perishable items would preserve after 1,000 years, sketching interpretations about what happened at a location based on what objects were left behind, what we can learn from trash, and many more.

I am excited to continue brainstorming about the types of archaeological activities that could be built into a website using libraries like EaselJS. Keep posted for updates!