Archaeologists Modernize Excavation Research With The iPad

University of Cincinnati researchers have discovered a new way to collect data and record archaeological discoveries. 

Teams of archaeologists from the University have spent more than a decade excavating one of the busiest gates at Pompeii, the Port of Stabia. The project is compiling archaeological analysis of homes, shops, and businesses at the forgotten area inside the gate.  

They are exploring the social and cultural scene of the lost city and how the middleclass neighborhood influenced Pompeian and Roman culture, through the painstaking recording of the excavation process. 

The standard approach to recording this history involves precise measurements, drawings, and notes, usually recorded with pen and paper.  Last summer, however, they discoveed that with hand held computers and the ability to digitally record and communicate instantly held many advantages over centuries old methods. 

Dr Steven Ellis, director of the Pompeii excavation, explains, “There’s a common, archival nature to what we're doing. There's a precious timelessness, a priceless sort of quality to the data that we're gathering, so we have made an industry of being very, very careful about how we record things. Once we've excavated through it, it's gone, so ever since our undergraduate years, we've become very, very good and consistent at recording. We're excited about discovering there's another way.”

"Because the trench supervisor is so busy, it can take days to share handwritten notes between trenches," explains John Wallrodt, senior research associate for the Department of the Classics. "Now, we can give them an (electronic) notebook every day if they want it."

Wallrodt says one of the biggest concerns was switching from a large sheet of paper to sticking a finger on the glass of the iPad. “With the iPad, there’s also a lot less to carry. There’s no big board for drawing, no ruler and no calculator.”&

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