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The University of Southampton
Archaeology Part of Humanities

Employing social media to bring a new buzz to archaeological computing

Published: 12 March 2012
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International delegates at this month’s Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA2012) conference at Southampton (26-29 March) will be encouraged to use a wide range of social media applications to make the most of the event.

Up to 500 people involved in archaeology from academics across the disciplines including computer science and engineering to museum staff and commercial partners will be heading to the University of Southampton to discover and discuss the latest technological techniques to bring the past to life.

Southampton’s Archaeological Computing Research Group is at the forefront of these developments; many projects are underway on everything from Roman landscapes and artefacts to Winchester Cathedral.

As well as attending sessions, displaying posters and visiting some of the south’s ancient sites, conference delegates will be encouraged to share their thoughts and opinions through dedicated Facebook sites and Twitter feeds. QR tags on badges, scannable by smartphones, will enable people to find out more about colleagues’ research. New tools such as the digital pinboard Pinterest will also be trialled.
“Of course, people go to conferences to learn about the latest developments in research but we see CAA2012 as a whole series of watercooler moments. People need to connect so they can establish collaborations which are so valuable in archaeology,” explains conference organiser Graeme Earl.

Lisa Harris, specialist in social media research at the Southampton Management School is working with Graeme, Nicole Beale and Chris Phethean (PhD students in the Web Science Doctoral Training Centre) and the archaeologists and has recruited a team of students to help delegates benefit from the technology. Lisa says: "In the build-up to the event, they can use various social media tools to gather relevant information and make connections, and during the conference they can network, share ideas and record their ‘takeaways'. We will be collecting everything from tweets to personal videos as a record of the experience and to evaluate how the ‘real' and ‘virtual' worlds interact and networks develop beyond the event."

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