5. Conclusions

Digital research and digital engagement offer a number of opportunities and challenges for archaeological projects. We suggest that there are a number of themes that may be of specific relevance for digital archaeological crowd-sourced projects. We suggest firstly that a useful distinction may be drawn between generative and classificatory archaeological digital public research. While co-produced citizen science projects can create vast volumes of analysis, the generation of citizen science data may be more challenging. We received more data submissions after open days or events on site where authoritative archaeological voices were present. When citizen scientists are asked to generate data there is more potential for things to 'go wrong' and people might be more subject to self-doubt; when people are asked to analyse data within a relatively prescriptive framework they may have more confidence in their work. We suggest that in projects which emphasise the production of archaeological data through a digital collection medium, or that use predominantly digital data, tensions may be encountered in the motivation of citizen scientists. For many archaeologists, whether they receive paid remuneration or not, the tangible material aspects of the discipline are important; the immateriality of digital projects may have implications in terms of recruiting citizen scientists. People who want to engage with digital recording may not be especially interested in archaeological sites or vice versa. If we want to recruit people to digital archaeology projects, it may be that the citizen scientists who produce most data will be those who are most interested in the methodology; for digital public archaeology projects more contributors (and data) may be achieved by targeting, for example, local digital photography or computer science groups rather than archaeological local societies.

While digital public archaeology may be a means to engage with large numbers of cyber-local individuals, it might make undertaking hyper-local research more challenging because the methods and the study sites may appeal to quite distinct interests in members of the public. In these instances, events and activities that draw together a self-selecting, geographically dispersed community can be invaluable.