AHRC Funding Cuts: update

January 17th, 2008 / No Comments » / by info

In May this year, representatives from Antiquist, Digital Classicist, Digital Medievalist, and the TEI wrote an open letter to the AHRC after their decision to stop funding the AHDS. In this letter we requested information about steps the AHRC would be taking to alleviate some of the problems caused by this decision. (See here for a copy of the letter.)

We have followed this letter up with several emails and telephone calls. During the telephone calls we were told that the AHRC would be sending us a response but, after almost six months, we have yet to receive any.

We find this lack of transparency in a public body disturbing and felt that we should at least inform the relevant organisations’ memberships of the situation as it currently stands. We will of course pass on any
response that we receive in future.

Gabriel Bodard
Leif Isaksen
Daniel O’Donnell

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AHRC Funding Cuts: An Open Letter

June 18th, 2007 / 1 Comment » / by info

The AHRC have recently announced their intention to withdraw funding from the Arts and Humanities Data Service (AHDS).

Members of Antiquist, Digital Classicist, the Text Encoding Initiative, and Digital Medievalist believe that the AHDS’s services play a vital role within the Digital Arts and Humanities. We are concerned that the consequences of this decision could be severe unless part of a larger strategy of support and have issued the following request for information:

Dear Chair and Members of Council,

We are writing on behalf of four leading international Digital Arts and Humanities communities in order to register our concerns at the decision to discontinue funding for the Arts and Humanities Data Service (AHDS) and to inquire as to the future of several important programmes currently provided by it. The research organisations and communities of practice we represent have a combined membership of over one thousand scholars and practitioners; a large number of our members are based in the UK, and the impact of this change on their work is likely to be significant.

The AHDS’s services play a vital role within the Digital Arts and Humanities. They have been a key factor in the development of the UK’s strong world-wide reputation in this field, and are often held up as an example by scholars in other countries. Its education programmes have been extremely important in assisting Arts and Humanities researchers as they explore and take up the new technologies. By encouraging best practice in project development and archiving, the Service has also meant that public ICT research money has been spent more wisely and efficiently.

Due to the impending cuts to the AHDS’s funding, our members have expressed uncertainty about the long-term viability of essential services, especially in data preservation and dissemination of good practice. We would greatly appreciate any information you can provide as to future AHRC support for the services currently provided by the AHDS so that we can continue to improve the application of digital methods in the Arts and Humanities. In particular, our members would appreciate a response to the following questions:

  • What is the future of those digital resources which are currently being hosted by the
    AHDS, or which have been planned on the basis of being hosted by the AHDS?
  • Where will the funding hitherto directed at the application of ICT to the Arts &
    Humanities via the AHDS be diverted?
  • Do you intend to continue support for an independent advisory service on best practice in
    management of Digital Humanities resources?
  • How will you ensure the existence of a visible cross-disciplinary forum through which Humanities and Arts scholars can learn about relevant developments in ICT?

If you could provide us with a statement addressing these issues, we should be happy to pass it on to our respective community forums where the text of this letter is also available.

Yours faithfully,

Dr. Gabriel Bodard, Editor, on behalf of the Digital Classicist
Leif Isaksen, Moderator, on behalf of Antiquist
Dr. Daniel O’Donnell, Chair and CEO, on behalf of the Text Encoding Initiative
and Director, on behalf of the Digital Medievalist Project

Download this letter as a PDF

CAA 2007 Berlin - Day One

April 3rd, 2007 / No Comments » / by Chris Brayne

Only slightly jaded by the after effects of the reception at the Foreign Office, Antiquists were surprisingly well represented at 9am this morning. I sat in on the Shipwreck 3D session and was impressed by Toby Jones’ account of 3D timber recording on the Newport Ship. It seems £30k gets you a Faro arm, a copy of Rhino and a beast of a 40″ monitor. Looked like an ideal setup for this kind of work. The Newport team report accuracies of 0.25mm on individual measurements and can digitise up to 3.5m of timber length per day.

Chris Rowland of Dundee University showed some stunning images of WWI and II battleships created from high resolution, multibeam sonar data collected using the Independent Sonar Head Attitude and Positioning (ISHAP) developed by ADUS . Chris’ background in the entertainment industry was in clear evidence. His HD animation backed with an ambient soundtrack was one of the most engaging renders I’ve ever seen. His team have also written a viewer for rendered point cloud data-sets written in OpenGL which almost certainly has wider applications.

My third highlight for the day was a detailed look at the use of GPR and magnetometry in rescue archaeology in Sweden. Sorry but I can’t be sure if it was Lars-Inge Larson or Immo Trinks from the Swedish National Heritage Board but the presentation showed the value of the iterative use of GPR to provide wider context for excavations limited to areas of direct impact. A surprising figure that was offered was that even in such intensive use, geophysics only accounted for 3% of project budgets - including depreciation on equipment! Made me wonder if the economics of archaeology are a little different in Sweden.

The Box is born

September 22nd, 2006 / No Comments » / by Chris Brayne

The first antiquist article on routers has begun. Encouragingly it is the home of a collaborative development project called The Box who’s goal is to work towards a system to provide simplified data sharing and admin management. If anyone is having trouble finding a way in, try 192.168.l.l and

Antiquist Google Group

September 21st, 2006 / No Comments » / by info

After many months of being characteristically full of good intentions and rather short on action we finally decided to kick-start this thing.

We thought a Google Group might be a good forum to start things off. Two days later and we have twenty odd members and some quite lively conversations going on. Its a good start so thanks to all who are contributing and you lurkers there in the bushes - just stop it! Speak up!

I/We don’t intend to direct this thing much. Actually not at all. I will naturally be abusing my position at WA to force people to contribute but for the rest of you, you are free to start adding articles to the wiki or to post requests for other services. Does anyone see a calendar as useful?

The antiquist site really is a free and open community site. Please invite folk who you think could make a contribution. If anyone misbehaves no doubt the community will set them straight.

I have absolutely no intention of maintaining this blog by myself so if you would like to help, just register on the blog or if you’re shy mail us at antiquist@gmail.com and we’ll have you vetted by the high command.


September 21st, 2006 / No Comments » / by info

An archaeologist’s job is to make, care for and share information. On
Antiquist we work out new ways do these things.

Ha! There! One mission statement. Proud and shiny! Kind of home-spun and maybe a little too cute but the best we could muster after a long day. Hope you all enjoy using the site. It will get better looking (honest guv). Actually, if you are a CSS artist with time on your hands and fancy a shot at skinning it just make yourself known.