Friday 26 March 2010

Portable Antiquities New Website

The Portable Antiquities Scheme’s new website was launched on the 24th March. Dan Pett says it:
brings with it a whole new range of features for analysing archaeological objects found by the public of England and Wales. The new website now holds a substantial number of artefact details which can allow for critical analysis on a large scale.

Over the last year, I have been building this site by myself on opensource technology – php for the programming language (and the awesome Zend Framework to tie it all together) and various packages that I have found on the internet. The site builds on the work that Tyler Bell’s team at Oxford ArchDigital executed for us back in 2003 until they were liquidated in 2006. After they ceased to exist, I took on all responsibility for our IT and looked into how to replace our system with something more on the edge. With no budget available, I decided to build the site! Funding for the site came in the way of a grant from the British Museum Research Board (£10,000) and this paid for 2 new servers. The rest of the site has cost the Scheme my salary and a two year flickr licence, and the lowest level of the getsatisfaction widget.

It has a new blog, a feedback facility ("Submit a complaint about the Scheme"...)
and information that today there are: 383129 records,543830 objects,17044 people involved,1149 accounts. What does it mean "people involved", why not recorders?

It also sets out the "aims of the Scheme", nota bene the OLD ones, pre Clark Report ones. So what happened to them then? Also notable is that after seven years they managed to correct the spelling mistake that had been cut-and-pasted throughiout the life of the national Scheme.

The aims:

1) To advance knowledge of the history and archaeology of England and Wales by systematically recording archaeological objects found by the public.
2) To raise awareness among the public of the educational value of archaeological finds in their context and facilitate research in them.
3) To increase opportunities for active public involvement in archaeology and strengthen links between metal-detector users and archaeologists.
4) To encourage all those who find archaeological objects to make them available for recording and to promote best practice by finders.
5) To define the nature and scope of a Scheme for recording Portable Antiquities in the longer term, to assess the likely costs and to identify resources to enable it to be put into practice.

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