I’ve been very busy since my last post, as I’ve been getting to grips with learning software, including different Structure-from-Motion photogrammetry programmes, processing and studying old data of the sites for my PhD. I also returned to Shetland in early September for a very brief visit to give a paper on my research at the launch of volume 3 of Excavations at Old Scatness, Shetland. Now I have two more conferences which I’m speaking at this month, that I’m very much looking forward to (keep an eye out on Twitter, I’m more up to date on that platform!), before squirreling away behind toasty-warm processing PCs with copious amounts of tea for the rest of autumn/winter to continue with my PhD data analysis…! But before all of that here’s a quick summary of what I’ve done since returning from Shetland in July:
This was certainly an experience. As someone who works with digital data, moving on to working with physical film slides of the Old Scatness excavations was completely different (with the aim of digitising all of those with relevant structural detail). With some handy tips from a conservator currently working in the School at Bradford, I got to work carefully dusting each of the many many slides and gently placing them into the pretty sophisticated scanner Visualising Heritage has acquired for this specific task. (It also encouraged me to keep my workspace meticulously tidy and dust-free – a good side effect I suppose…). It was quite calm, rhythmic work and fun to see a really different side to the excavations with pictures of the Viking re-enactments that took place on site for visitors (see below pic!).
3D modelling of images not meant for photogrammetry
I’ve been working with Tom Sparrow from the Visualising Heritage team at Bradford to test photogrammetry on different groups of old photos from Old Scatness. To do this I’ve been looking beyond Agisoft Photoscan to learn other SFM software packages. It’s interesting finding out all the pros and cons of these different software. Makes me wish I could select different features of them all to make my ideal one for processing data! We’ve had some interesting results so far which I’m still working on, that I’ll be mentioning in my upcoming talks.
A short trip back to Shetland (3 days!)
I was kindly invited by Shetland Amenity Trust to give a paper at the book launch of volume 3 of Excavations at Old Scatness, Shetland on 8th September. It was great to present to such an enthusiastic audience of local Shetlanders and visitors and tell them all about the work I’m doing with this PhD! It really was a flying visit, and the first time I’ve travelled to the islands by plane as opposed to ferry. Quite different getting into Sumburgh in an hour from Edinburgh compared to the overnight ferry – I was impressed the Loganair cabin crew has time to dish out complimentary drinks and caramel wafers before we landed, it was so quick. I was glad the check-in staff made sure I was in a window seat that faced Old Scatness on the run-way, so I could take some photos of the site as we came in to land! It was so nice to network with the museum and Amenity Trust staff and other presenters too. Thanks to the Trust for funding my trip!
DigiDoc Research and Innovation day preparations
At the moment I’m finishing off my presentation for next week’s DigiDoc conference (I am SO excited that there is a ceilidh happening…!). I’ve been digitising and studying old (pre-1900) survey illustrations of Mousa and some of my initial finds from this will be discussed, though there’s much more to do! Glad I’ll be talking at the Research and Innovation day on Wednesday so I can get the public-speaking nerves out of the way (which I always get despite having done a fair bit of presenting before – sometimes in period costume*!) and enjoy the main conference on Thursday and Friday.
*I used to work in a spin-off Roman exhibition from Jorvik (York Archaeological Trust)! I have ensured few, if any, photos of this time exist 😉