In thinking about what we wanted to include in our Archaeology 101 website, Autumn and I wanted to touch on many of the key concepts that guide archaeological research. One of those key concepts is preservation, especially the idea that not everything preserves in the archaeological record. While it is a relatively clear concept, it can often be hard to drive home just how important this is to our interpretations of the past or how much it can bias what we are able to learn. Because of this, we wanted to include an interactive element in this section to help reinforce what people were learning from our website.

Luckily, during discussions with Dan, another current CHI Fellow, he showed us a very user-friendly JavaScript tool, JuxtaposeJS, which was ideal for what Autumn and I wanted to demonstrate. Created by Knight Lab, JuxtaposeJS allows you to super-impose one image on top of another and, with the aid of a sliding bar, seamlessly reveal the image that has been placed on bottom.  In this way, users of a website can compare two things easily. For example, you can super-impose two pictures of the same area from two different times in order to display how a landscape or building has changed through time, just by sliding a bar over the images.

Using JuxtaposeJS, Autumn and I were able to take two images of artifacts (thank you MSU Campus Archaeology and the MSU Museum Archaeology Teaching Collection for access to the artifacts), one with complete replica tools and a second with what would be left behind after 500 years. Using the sliding tool, users of the Archaeology 101 website can look at the image of complete replica tools and then reveal what would be left behind for archaeologists to recover (Hint: it is not very much!). This provides a clear interactive demonstration of the effects of preservation and why it is so important for archaeologists to consider.

Below is a quick video showing our preservation demonstration, check back for updates as we complete the finishing touches on the Archaeology 101 website!