So what form of engagement can people have through these media? The emphasis remains firmly on the visual, but we would suggest that there is still a rich vein of representation to be tapped. Partial though our models might be, they do offer a flexibility in the ways that people can gaze at or `move through' particular places. With that flexibility comes the possibility of following different lines of enquiry and different tangents. One can explore arguments, their attendant assumptions, and different dimensions to the evidence in far more complex ways than have hitherto been possible. There is also the potential for questioning assertions at an intimate material level. For example, one can explore the different interpretive potentials that arise when the banks of a henge monument like Arbor Low switch from being a barrier to vision and access and become the vantage from which proceedings can be observed by many. There may be no substitute for `being there', but this is not an option for everyone, and a physical visit does not, and cannot, reveal everything that might be of interest. In any case, those who climb the hill today are visiting the trace of the past, not the past itself. What these media offer is the potential for close-grained discussion and debate about the significance we attach to the ways in which places and landscapes were inhabited at certain points in the past.

Current media also make it possible to open up other forms of access. In a few months, our work with schools in the field and the classroom will be extended by the addition of further pages to our website. These will contain routines that will allow children to access information and act upon it; following tasks, responding to questions and perhaps running simple models. Here again, we hope to link these elements to other pages and to tasks that operate at a broader geographic scale. Meaningful interactivity will be crucial for this to succeed.

In much of the previous sections we have discussed how we hope to use the Internet for new developments and new forms of access. But what about the role of our website within the context of the excavation site visitor? Nearly 7000 people have visited the (actual) Gardom's Edge excavations thus far, and many have gone on to contact the electronic site. How might these different experiences be linked?


© Internet Archaeology URL:
Last updated: Thu May 27 1999