May 23, 2016

Okay. I don’t really get this at all.

Filed under: Media, Pop culture — acagle @ 7:13 pm

The future of archaeology starts with No Man’s Sky

Archaeogaming, as defined by scholar Meghan Dennis, is “the utilization and treatment of immaterial space to study created culture, specifically through videogames.” It’s a new field of study that is only now starting to dig its way into academia. Three books on the topic are scheduled to arrive in 2017 alone, the latest of these being The Interactive Past, which was successfully crowdfunded by the VALUE project on Kickstarter.

I just don’t know about this. I did always think that the sort of video games like Civilization might be a good way to study how people go about making decisions based on a number of factors in simplified-but-real-world(ish) scenarios, but I kinda don’t get this.

May 16, 2016

Action! Romance! SEX!!!

Filed under: Media, Pop culture — acagle @ 7:04 pm

In other words, fictional archaeology: ‘The Dig’: a timeless tale of ancient English treasure

Edith Pretty is an English widow who owns the land where the treasure is buried. Basil Brown is a local self-taught archaeologist, hired by Edith, who makes the initial discovery. Edith’s young son Robert follows the hunt with mounting excitement, and several competing archaeologists and museum bureaucrats converge on the site once they realize what is at stake.

“The Dig” has a feeling of hush about it, in part because the reader knows the turmoil of war that the country and these characters are about to be plunged into. There’s the restraint with which the English express themselves, even when some cutthroat museum politics are involved. And there’s the sense of awe and wonder that unfolds as the ground gives up its secrets. Archaeologist Peggy Piggott recalls watching three exquisite pieces of gold being gently extracted from the earth.

I probably shouldn’t include the sex part; people tend to hump like bunnies when out in the field.

October 27, 2015

“There was far less spins and flips involved, and a lot more desperate attempts to stab somebody however and wherever possible”

Filed under: Media — acagle @ 2:03 pm


Although Hollywood sword fighting is almost an art in itself because you have to make it look good but not get anyone hurt. Kind of the opposite.

Full length video of the film at the link.

July 22, 2015

The controversy maybe doesn’t continue?

Filed under: Amateur, Media — acagle @ 7:09 pm

‘Diggers’ Returns For A New Season With Better Collaboration With Archaeologists

“Before encouraging archaeologists to work with the show,” Brock told me when I asked whether he thought others should get involved with Diggers, “I would encourage them to consider collaborating with metal detectorists in the first place. It’s a great tool for historical archaeology.” Montpelier runs regular metal detecting programs, for both hobbyist detectors and archaeologists who want to incorporate metal detecting into their survey and excavation, and people can learn more on their website or by contacting Reeves.

Gifford-Gonzalez comments that the episodes this season that include close involvement between archaeologists and metal detectorists from the outset, such as tonight’s Montpelier episode, “are excellent examples of how collaborative work can use the complementary skills of the two communities to enhance understanding of events at a locality.”

I didn’t really give a rip about the controversy. Hopefully we’ll eventually get something resembling the UK’s Treasure Act that should provide a workable framework for both camps.

Also see Kilgroves’ blurb on the great Alexander the. . .err Great’s father’s tomb controversy.

July 2, 2015

The beginning of the end. . . .

Filed under: Media, Rome — acagle @ 7:21 pm

of excavation? Like being there: Walking through an ancient Roman town

But unlike Pompeii, this Roman town, known as Ammaia, has been the subject of an intense, comprehensive focus through the remarkable new advances of what is being penned ‘non-invasive archaeology’—the application of state-of-the-art remote sensing, mapping and visualization technologies to uncover what an otherwise prohibitively expensive and lengthy archaeological investigation might reveal. Efforts began in 2009 with the launch of the Radio-Past (an acronym for Radiography of the Past) under the coordinative co-direction of Cristina Corsi of the Universita degli Studi di Cassino, Italy, and Frank Vermeulen of the Universiteit Gent in Belgium. Through the collective efforts of a consortium of European institutions spearheaded by the University of Evora in Portugal, as well as a broad array of experts, Radio-Past approached the site with a non-invasive research strategy, collecting data not as much through traditional excavation as through the application of technology and a multi-disciplinary plan to, in essence, ‘see’ what was hidden beneath the surface without digging it up. In the end, the results were both abundantly informative and visually stunning.

Neat little video at the link. I like the music but it’s mostly unnecessary. Much of it is reconstruction though; for example, when they have the base of a ruined temple, they make a guess as to what it looked like. As I’ve said before, that can be dangerous because it can set in people’s minds that what they’re seeing is what it looked like. But still, getting that much information without excavating is awesome.

Here’s the video:

June 29, 2015

A couple of media items

Filed under: Biblical archaeology, Media — acagle @ 7:38 pm

I might have mentioned it before, but I finished with Dig the other night (well, last night, to be honest). Not too bad. The archaeological bit was kind of. . . .well, no sillier than anything else you’ve seen. TV archaeologists always seem to be these arrogant smarter-than-thou creeps when in reality most of them are dorkwad arrogant smarter-than-thou dweebs, albeit usually fairly affable ones. Usually.

The other thing I kind of got hooked on was A.D. The Bible Continues. I wasn’t expecting much — the usual Christian stuff, with too-good-to-be-human characters just walking around reciting phrases from the Bible — but it turned out to be very watchable. It’s based on Acts of the Apostles, but it goes much further afield and really gives some “backstories” if you will to the other people around then. They give Pilate a lot of air time, as well as Caiaphas, the point of which is to give context to the basic Biblical story. I think it’s quite effective. They do a good job of showing how brutal and political the Romans were as well as how they interacted with their subject populations. I can’t say much about the historical accuracy of those events; one would assume they’re “based on a true story” in whatever way. Cast is great, most of them from the UK, but they give quite a few parts to Africans, which makes some sense given the milieu of the Middle East at the time.

April 28, 2015

Gaming archaeology?

Filed under: Media, Pop culture — acagle @ 7:02 pm

As MMOs Continue to Grow Leaving Old Areas Behind, Gaming Archaeology has Risen Up to Explore and Remember their Past

MMOs such as World of Warcraft and Guild Wars have been going strong for years now continually growing their player base and the areas open to them. They’ve become so large that the games have taken on the same traits as real world cultures. As they continue to grow the community moves to new areas, new hub cities, leaving the old ones behind. Just as real world cities are abandoned and forgotten old hub cities in MMOs are quickly forgotten. Yet those old cities and areas don’t completely disappear.
Players have discovered that those old areas are still holding on waiting for someone to come back to them. That’s inspired a whole new in game hobby of gaming archaeology, where players hunt down forgotten places to see what’s still there. Players who have jumped into this new hobby are quickly discovering how much old content in games like World of Warcraft is still there. Unlike ancient cities in the real world, those old digital spaces are perfectly preserved. They don’t suffer the same decay which means all those old AI characters are also still buzzing about.

I was going to suggest that maybe this has some analogy for abandonment scenarios, but there doesn’t appear to be much in the way of secondary uses for such things. Be kind of interesting to set up something similar that doesn’t have all the quests and wars and junk and see what people do with it.

March 5, 2015

And speaking of action/adventure. . . .

Filed under: Media — acagle @ 8:29 pm

Have you seen the adverts for the series ‘Dig’? I’ll probably catch it on Demand later on. Looks kind of fun though.

December 29, 2014

Egypt at the cinemaaaaaaaa

Filed under: Egypt, Media, Pop culture — acagle @ 8:17 pm

‘Exodus’ Director Ridley Scott and his Egyptologist expert mined the ancient details.

Dr. Lloyd says the production went to great lengths to get costumes, make-up and the physical environment right. But he didn’t begrudge Scott a little artistic license. “There are things which aren’t entirely accurate,” he says. “The prominence given to cavalry in the battle context (for example). The ancient Egyptians at the relevant period did not use cavalry, though horsemen certainly occur in our documentation. However, this is a case where the cinematic needed to take precedence over historicity.”

Lloyd’s involvement mostly took place through email with department heads such as production designer Arthur Max and costume designer Janty Yates. “I’d respond quickly to their requests for text, images and sources of information,” he says.

They certainly had chariots in the New Kingdom. . . .maybe not strictly cavalry though?

I haven’t seen it yet. Probably will wait until it’s out on DVD. I think the photo given on the linked page is probably way less colorful than it really was. Nearly everything would have been painted.

November 19, 2014

Oooo. . .real game archaeology!

Filed under: Media, Modern artifacts — acagle @ 8:12 pm

Bangor native plays key role in designing children’s archaeology game

“Dig Quest: Israel” is a free educational app for iPhone and iPad users ages 7 to 11 that allows children to learn about the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Lod Mosaic. During the game, users piece together the scrolls to discover their meaning, and “dig” for the mosaic.

“We wanted this to be something where kids feel like they were the expert … that’s empowering,” Rosenblatt said.

Must not be out yet because it’s not in the App Store yet.

UPDATE: See comments. I got a copy and started playing it. Kinda fun. I did the first level of putting together pieces of scrolls. They were not that difficult, but hard enough to have to think about some. And they added in a bit of high tech, as you had to scan the scroll to “read” it; I would have liked a bit more explanation of that process, but whatever. So go for it and come back and tell us what you think.

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