Inspired by DH: The Day of Archaeology


Inspired by DH: The Day of Archaeology

The Day of Digital Humanities has become part of the Digital Humanities landscape: Inspired by the success of the Day of Digital Humanities project, the Day of Archaeology (DoA) was established as a voluntary project by a group of professional digital archaeologists and PhD students in 2011. The project is organised and run for free, and server space and staff time is donated and voluntary. The aim of the DoA was to utilise digital and participatory technologies, using a simple Wordpress-based platform, that would enable even the least digitally-minded archaeologist to share their work within the archaeology community and with the wider public. The web project aims to collate archaeological experiences and connect archaeologists across the world, using a variety of digital technologies. The participants record and share their Day on the Wordpress-based DoA website: www.dayofarchaeology.com, alongside photo-sharing sites, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

The Day of Archaeology www.dayofarchaeology.com has subsequently developed into an annual Public Archaeology event, which offers a unique insight into the working day of archaeologists worldwide. Participant-archaeologists have come from Asia, North and South America, Europe, Australia and Africa. They have written about their day from excavations, offices, museums, community projects, the tourist industry, local government and voluntary groups. The project participants aim to answer a simple question in their contribution; “what do archaeologists do?”. Participants have contributed blog posts, films, photos, Tweets, Facebook pages, archive 'bingo' and 'ask an archaeologist'. The first event was held on the July 29th 2011, where some 500 people working, studying or volunteering in archaeology projects around the world contributed blog posts describing their day. The published posts and text are not scripted by the organisers, and only minimally edited to avoid defamation or incorrect information being shared.

The resulting website presents a behind-the-scenes view of archaeology that incorporates not only the exciting discoveries often showcased in Public Archaeology, but also everyday details of archaeological work in the real world. This project aims to move the public understanding of archaeology away from the 'Indiana Jones' model of excitement and object-oriented discovery, to one that can appreciate the painstaking and vital work undertaken by professionals and volunteers to protect, preserve and interpret our shared pasts.

This paper will explore how the Day of Digital Humanities model has translated into a more defined discipline; what the DoA has learned from Day of Digital Humanities; it will presents details of the project, how it was organised and who participated; the difficulties and benefits of the web-based model when applied to archaeology; how social media has been used; critical reflections on how the project has engaged with different audiences and what impact the DoA has had, and will have as it develops, for participants, the archaeology community and the wider public.