4.4 Conclusions

The data from the questionnaire confirm the overwhelmingly positive response to the content in the application as also observed through the social media feeds linked to the project. What is particularly interesting is the direct impact of the application on users, and the stimulation of a greater interest in the archaeology it represents. This is particularly apparent for those users who were less familiar with the site or had less interest in it to start off with (see section 4.2). The comments associated with this group focus heavily on learning, an interesting use of technology, and importantly enjoyment.

It is clear that there is a public demand for engaging and informative content, and that the use of technology appeals to many. It is also evident that the application has reached a more specialised audience than perhaps it was originally intentionally designed for. In particular, the educational use is an important consideration for the future, and the ability to view and interrogate data in such an interactive way clearly also appeals to archaeology professionals.

While it is clear that Seeing Beneath Stonehenge has been very successful, it could be argued that the uptake could have been higher, given that in excess of one million people visited the monument itself. This may in part be due to a reticence of users to interact with what might be perceived as alternative technology, and also because of the challenges in establishing, and then maintaining, a new web address held on a University server at the top of a list of hits for a Stonehenge web search. Hosting a link to the site on a central point of information about the monument would undoubtedly increase downloads. Download numbers aside, a point to note is that the application can be interrogated multiple times by the user once it is on their computer, but these use statistics are harder to define.

Finally, of considerable interest is that Seeing Beneath Stonehenge has also had a life far beyond the original intentions for the application. It has been extremely popular as an outreach tool for schools where it has been successfully creatively used to teach information technology, and GIS/mapping skills while introducing pupils to archaeology and inspiring them to find out more about the history and heritage of their local areas. Other unprompted uses have included the posting of the application by the specialist tour company Martin Randall as a pre-tour primer for their clients.