Digital Building Heritage: Phase III


Principal Investigator: Dr Douglas Cawthorne
Co-investigators: Dr Chris King, University of Nottingham; Dr David Petts, University of Durham
Collaborators: The Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland; Southwell Community Archaeology Group
Duration: From 2014 to 2015

Community heritage and archaeology projects are often focused on ‘doing’, on the processes of archaeology and the collection of data, but often with limited attention paid to the wider interpretation and then dissemination of their results to varied audiences within their communities and beyond. The aim of the research is to understand how the explanatory and interrogatory potential of mobile device technology (software apps) can be used to build community-led analysis and interpretations, presentation and education within community archaeology projects. Mobile apps can be used to present sophisticated visual and textual interpretations to help understand the history of a particular place or the results of an archaeological project; but they can also be used to acquire a range of data on user preferences, activities, and interests and identify real user needs and unexploited affordances in established mobile technologies. This project explores the potential of carefully designed mobile device apps not just to allow but to positively encourage feedback and input from community users in a three part coproduction process of visualising archaeological material, assisting communities to develop their own ways of interpreting that material, and examining the interpretation choices these communities make to map preferred methods of community archaeological interpretation.