Round up on IARSS 2017

Round up on IARSS 2017

Last week was the 20th Iron Age Research Student Symposium, held here in the University of Bradford (see above for the brilliant birthday cake that was made for the event!). I presented a poster that outlines the background to my PhD project, and looking forward to surveying the sites so there’ll be many exciting visualisations to create and display on my next one! VR presentation perhaps?

First poster presentation of the PhD!

We had two full days of very interesting papers, and its so good to see there’s much exciting Iron Age research happening around the world from Masters and PhD researchers! Plus a fun pub quiz (I would be biased since I helped write the questions…) and an excellent curry dinner on Friday.

Delegates at this year’s IARSS

On Saturday I joined the traditional conference fieldtrip. This year to Hull for a guided tour of Hull and East Riding Museum by Dr Peter Halkon, who was directly involved with many of the projects from which many fascinating finds emerged, which are on display there. Many thanks to Peter and the organisers for such a great trip (and sunshine!). I always enjoy IARSS as it has such a welcoming and encouraging atmosphere for early-career researchers. I’m already looking forward to the next one, when I should have some exciting 3D data to present!

A fantastically preserved Iron Age sword, at the Hull and East Riding Museum
Chalk figurine of an Iron Age warrior (a sword scabbard is on his back! – but not seen from the front)

CIfA 2017 Newcastle 21st April

CIfA 2017 Newcastle 21st April

I was kindly invited to present at a CPD session on introducing Structure-from-Motion photogrammetry to beginners at this years CIfA Conference, by the Graphic Archaeology Group. It was a great opportunity to network, catch up with colleagues and hear about exciting new research using the technique, plus all of the advice and tips for using SFM were valuable not just to beginners but to anyone who’s using the method for recording archaeology and heritage! I shared my learning experiences from my time with Historic England, in addition to covering some of the interesting findings we made in my research reports (click here for link) and also gave a brief sneak preview of my PhD plan.

The session on managing World Heritage was also particularly insightful, as the three wonderful brochs I’m researching are all on the UK’s tentative WHS list!

CIfA 2017 1
Sharing research on recording Saxon crosses. Photo: Paul Bryan

Bring on 2017!

Bring on 2017!

Happy New Year! December has been pretty hectic, with TAG Southampton and all of the usual festivities. My favourite present has to be my Lego Iron Age broch, as shown above in seasonal style… though I’m very interested in looking into how VR is being used to present archaeology this year, since I had an excellent demo of viewing 3D models by the Marine Archaeology Trust with the HTC Vive headset and controller.

I’m very excited about starting my PhD. Roll on February!

Geospatial conferences: ESRI UK and Geo Business 2016

May has been a very busy month for me – I’ve been attending and presenting at conferences up and down the country, so I’m catching up with my blogging this week with some of the geospatial industry conferences I attended a couple of weeks ago.

ESRI UK 2016

I went to ESRI UK 2016 on 17th May to find out about the latest developments from the company behind ArcGIS, and how they are bringing SfM photogrammetry and laser scanning into their platforms. It’s interesting to see how many programmes are moving into cloud-based formats, and the process of displaying and editing GIS data is being streamlined in their WebGIS. It will be interesting to trial the capabilities of Drone2Map – ESRI’s own SfM processing software to generate DTMs, currently on beta.

Geo Business 2016

I travelled back down to London two weeks ago to attend Geo Business – a major conference and geomatics expo, showcasing the latest new technologies and innovations for the geospatial sector. The conference was a great insight into how all of the techniques I am being trained in at Historic England can be used in different disciplines and industries other than in heritage.

I saw some very exciting demonstrations of new handheld mobile mapping solutions, and new software for the processing of laser scan data to a very high resolution (I must state I do not endorse any particular manufacturer of such equipment!). All in all, it was fascinating to find out the latest developments in these industries, and I’ll definitely be attending next year to see what new technologies are going to appear…

(photos will be uploaded soon!)

Iron Age Research Student Symposium 2016 – University of Leicester

Iron Age Research Student Symposium 2016 – University of Leicester

Last week I made my third trip to the Universiry of Leicester in less than two months(!) to attend and present at the 19th IARSS conference. I had a great time at the 2015 symposium at the University of Liverpool, and postgraduate Later Prehistorians and researchers are a great bunch, so I was looking forward (and slightly nervous) to be presenting the results of my MA dissertation this year.

Safe to say that it was a great success, and I’d just like to say here a special thanks to the conference organisers for inviting me to speak, and for doing such a fantastic job of running the entire event over three days, not in the least including the impressive IARSS-branded cake (unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to take a picture, but it was delicious!).

I received some very positive feedback about my research, on the theme of Historic Environments’ perceptions and understandings of Late Iron Age monuments known as oppida, and how previous studies have shaped our understanding of these enigmatic sites. With feedback in mind, I hope to get this written into an article soon, and published in an archaeological journal in the near future.

On a last note, a belated congratulations to Leicester City FC on winning the Premier League – I was very impressed by the bold support and decorations that are all over the city!


CIfA conference 2016 – Archaeology in Context

CIfA conference 2016 – Archaeology in Context

The annual CIfA conference, this year held at the University of Leicester, was a great opportunity to meet many engaged in commercial archaeology and in heritage associations throughout Britain and beyond. It was excellent to hear that many in the sector are advocating a greater need for training those at the start of their archaeological careers in specialist technical skills. The suggestion at the end of the Landscape Archaeology session that perhaps heritage bodies like Historic England and commerical units could engage actively with university modules in particular sounds like an excellent idea, or to offer training courses to suit a wide range of experience.

Statue of Richard III outside the visitor centre – it was a very sunny day for an excursion!

It was fascinating to see how geospatial imaging has been taken on board in forensic archaeology, and the popularity of UAVs (drones) is so much so that a session was dedicated to focussing on the use of these platforms as a means of acquiring archaeological data.

I particularly enjoyed the excursion to the Greyfriars area of Leicester city centre, and it was good to see how much ongoing conservation is happening. The Richard III exhibition was impressive too – housed in a well designed and modern visitor centre (though I must admit, as a Lancastrian, all bias had to be temporarily put aside!).

Many thanks to CIfA for funding my attendance and travel costs.

CAA-UK 2016 conference

CAA-UK 2016 conference

Last weekend I attended the annual UK-chapter Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology Conference ( , held and organised by the University of Leicester Archaeology Department, who did an amazing job – thanks to the organizing committee for the great gourmet burger social too!


Heritage gaming? The conference reception included a fun hands-on display of retro video game consoles. Here’s me playing the original Donkey Kong on NES…!

Over the weekend it was great to hear of the new and innovative ways computer applications and technologies are being used in archaeology. The phrase “reinventing the wheel” was mentioned very frequently, with much awareness that researchers want to avoid this as much as possible. Certainly,  a strong theme of combined and shared approaches ran throughout, especially in ideas of sharing methodologies and data outputs.

I’m looking forward to next year’s conference – to be held in Winchester!