The first session of the day I decided to attend the round table on open source. It was interesting to get the perspective of the IT professional, the commercial unit and the academic on open source, and it was also interesting to take part in the ‘robust’ discussion we had about the evangelical (according to some) nature of the open source advocates. My conclusion is that sometimes, open source is best, and as an ideal, it’s great, but there are times when for a whole host of reasons (interoperability, who holds the money, functionality) it isn’t the best choice. I’m particularly interested in the open source movement and its growing place in archaeology as I think open source software is going to be quite important to my PhD research.
I spent the rest of the day in the first geophysics session, which was about new field methods. The papers were all well put together and presented, and certainly showed some interesting sites and results, but I didn’t feel there was any ‘big revelation’. The work being done by the SEMAP 3D team sounds quite new and exciting, but it is a marine application and not really my field. It did make me think again about the possible resolution of seismic data though, and has made me think twice about exploring it as an option for my work. The other interesting thing was reports from a Swedish team about geophysics in rescue archaeology (I got the impression that geophysics is not really part of the ‘mainstream’ in Sweden as yet). They had been able to get results from drift geology (sands) through 2m think layers of Viking occupation using caesium magnetometers and georadar, with good results confirmed by excavation. There was also a paper about resistivity work undertaken in Meroe, Sudan, that used ground watering to help with making good ground contact. Controlling moisture levels at this scale is also of potential relevance to my work.
All in all, I got the impression that to see really new geophysics papers and techniques I need to go to ISAP in September, so watch this space!
ArchCamp was postponed until Thursday so after drooling over and amazing 3D printer at the ‘booths’ from the companies, we headed into the city again. This time Leif took us to an amazing little pub / café. Some of the guys from L&P joined us. The schnitzel people ordered at Leif’s urging were bigger than the plates they came on! We left quite late and in some cases considerably rounder than when we had arrived.