Judith WintersORCID logo *

Cite this as: Winters, J. 2013 Editorial, Internet Archaeology 35.

"I was trying to come up with something for tomorrow's editorial, and I'm as dry as the desert between the Great Salt Lake and Virginia City. I hate writing editorials, do you know that?"
'How Few Remain' by Harry Turtledove

I am an editor so I ought to like writing editorials, right? Hmm, not quite. I see myself more as a 'backstage' kind of editor, who gets things prepared so that others can perform, rather than being on centre stage. I have academic interests and dare I say it, tendencies, but I'm not drawn to the academic limelight. I see my role as a facilitator, helping others to develop, articulate and best present their research, making sure all the published elements work technically, and that they still work in 5, 10, 15 years time. Just that, and most of the other things listed here. I just don't get much writing practice. Editorials only come round twice a year after all. So writing editorials doesn't really come easy. But there's quite a lot to update you with this time, so here goes.

Issue 35 has been a bumper issue for Internet Archaeology: six articles, one review and three contributions in our new series of data papers and, out of these, six contributions are Open Access. What's more, since I started working on the journal (way back in internet prehistory in 1998), I don't think I've had more article proposals come in either. So, the year as a whole has been rather satisfying, with lots of jobs on my 'To Do' list finally crossed off or at least moved forward: assigning DOIs to articles, utilising ORCID (see my * above!), revamping our access stats, to name a few.

Cue Neil (stage right)

Over the last 12 months I have also had the pleasure to work with Neil Gevaux who was on an HLF/IFA Workplace Learning Bursary funded training placement shared between Internet Archaeology and the Archaeology Data Service (ADS). The focus of Neil's placement was to flesh out Internet Archaeology's digital archive held by ADS, and allow content to be better integrated with and managed on ADS's content management system. Neil created a tracking record and a collection level record for every single IA article and then went on to create a separate digital archive for each article, where the constituent parts (text, images, video, data, VR) can be managed, curated and migrated when necessary. That's 348 archives (and counting): 17 years of digital content in 9 months (in other words 200 days or c.1500 hours). Given that makes about 6% of the total number of working hours ever spent on IA at this point in time, it does really bring to the fore the often hidden but very real cost, time and effort that will always be needed to preserve digital content. All of this now resides in what I'm calling our 'dark archive' so nothing is visible to you via the ADS website while IA remains the 'dissemination copy', but should we ever need it to be, it's there.

My workflow is also now more efficiently integrated into this shared content management system, and I am able to trigger, track and receive digital author licences as well as use it to create standardised metadata. I have plans to utilise it further too, so watch this space! Neil has been an immense help in developing these behind-the-scenes systems, and I will be sorry to see him go, but pleased that as a direct result of his year with us, he is moving on to another position in the world of digital archaeology.

Cue Content (stage left)

So back to this issue, you will find a compelling combination of science, archaeology and philology in King Solomon's Silver? Southern Phoenician Hacksilber Hoards and the Location of Tarshish by Christine M. Thompson and Sheldon Skaggs. The authors have collected and analyzed a very important set of archaeo-metallurgical data given the complications of geological factors and ancient human factors like recycling, smelting, and alloying. These data from silver hoards allow for a more robust understanding of inter-regional interactions in the early and late Iron Ages in the southern Levant, a subject that is barely touched on in the ancient textual corpus, and is not well attested in the small corpus of ceramic imports or through other material cultural indicators like imported semi-precious stones. I am pleased to note that this article also marks the start of a new working relationship between Internet Archaeology and Open Context.

Bridging the 'Geospatial Divide' in Archaeology: Community Based Interpretation of LIDAR Data by Gary L. Duckers outlines a very thought-provoking project, and certainly highlights the potential this kind of approach has for broadening access to lidar, and ultimately other data sets. Bryozoans in Archaeology by Matt Law was a revelation to me. A credit to Matt's writing style, he made a scientific and specialist topic very easy and enjoyable to read. He describes the untapped archaeological potential of these tiny colony-forming invertebrates - if only we took more care in the field to see that they are there!

Of particular interest to me is Sarah Scott's Pioneers, publishers and the dissemination of archaeological knowledge: A study of publishing in British archaeology 1816-1851. This article brings new insights and addresses a significant gap in our understanding, namely the extent to which the publication and dissemination of archaeological knowledge was shaped by the publication process and format during the early nineteenth century. Much research on the history of archaeology focuses on the ways in which the intentions of authors were shaped by wider social, intellectual and political concerns. By contrast, the part played by publishers, and access to publishing, has been relatively neglected. Sarah engages in an extensive analysis of publication data based on the London Catalogue of Books and provides insights into the ways in which knowledge was filtered and reproduced in archaeology informing the prevailing concerns and interests of both contemporary and subsequent audiences.

Using Social Media for Research Dissemination: The Digital Research Video Project by Suzanne Pilaar Birch describes the outcomes of the Digital Research Video Project and is part of the growing trend in online public engagement efforts in archaeology. The work was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and as such was eligible to request Article Processing Charge (APC) funding via the newly created RCUK block grant to UK universities and is in fact the first one IA has received.

Surveying Caribbean Cultural Landscapes: Mount Plantation, Barbados, and its global connections by Jonathan Finch, Douglas Armstrong, Edward Blinkhorn and David Barker describes the first systematic archaeological investigation on Barbados since the 1970s on a site that provides an example of shifts in plantation organisation and labour over the 18th and early 19th centuries. This article is also Open Access but the work was not Research Council funded, and so ineligible to apply for APC funds. However on this occasion, the 'APC' was provided by the Departmental Research Committee, from the Department of Archaeology here at University of York. I am not sure if other university departments offer the same sort of publication support to their academic staff and postgraduates (let me know if yours does!), but given that the majority of archaeological research in the UK is not Research Council funded, then maybe this is something more should consider.

Finally, I am pleased to have introduced a very successful first batch of Data Papers, our new series of open access, short, peer-reviewed publications designed to make other researchers aware of a dataset (Wynne-Jones and Fleisher, Richards and Roskams and Claridge and Rendell). I do want to acknowledge the pioneering work developed by other 'data journals' like the Journal of Open Archaeology Data, but I believe IA's approach is slightly different as we can offer real integration of data, based on our experiences from the LEAP project. In addition, since papers are accompanied by a referee statement on the data's re-use potential and significance, the referee is explicitly credited and in doing so, we are taking a small step towards acknowledging the very important role referees play in the publication process.

So that was it, the editorial that stood between me and freedom, well freedom for the next few months at any rate. I'm off back behind those curtains.



Claridge, A. and Rendell, H. (2013) The Evolution of Rome's Maritime Façade: archaeology and geomorphology at Castelporziano (Data Paper). Internet Archaeology, (35).

Duckers, G. L. (2013). Bridging the 'Geospatial Divide' in Archaeology: Community Based Interpretation of LIDAR Data. Internet Archaeology, (35).

Finch, J., Armstrong, D., Blinkhorn, E., and Barker, D. (2013). Surveying Caribbean Cultural Landscapes: Mount Plantation, Barbados, and its global connections. Internet Archaeology, (35).

Law, M. (2013). Bryozoans in Archaeology. Internet Archaeology, (35).

Pilaar Birch, S. (2013). Using Social Media for Research Dissemination: The Digital Research Video Project. Internet Archaeology, (35).

Richards, J., and Roskams, S. (2013). Burdale: An Anglian Settlement in the Yorkshire Wolds (Data Paper). Internet Archaeology, (35).

Scott, S. (2013). Pioneers, publishers and the dissemination of archaeological knowledge: A study of publishing in British archaeology 1816-1851. Internet Archaeology, (35).

Strutt, K. (2013). Review of MAGIS (Mediterranean Archaeology GIS) [data resource]. Internet Archaeology, (35).

Thompson, C., and Skaggs, S. (2013). King Solomon's Silver? Southern Phoenician Hacksilber Hoards and the Location of Tarshish. Internet Archaeology, (35).

Wynne-Jones, S., and Fleisher, J. (2013). Ceramics and Society: Early Tana Tradition and the Swahili Coast (Data Paper). Internet Archaeology, (35).

Back to Issue 35


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