Crowd-sourcing archaeological research: HeritageTogether digital public archaeology in practice

Seren GriffithsORCID logo1, Ben Edwards2‎, Raimund Karl3, Fred Labrosse4, Helen Miles4, Katharina Moeller3, Jonathan Roberts5, Bernie Tiddeman4, Andrew Wilson5

1. Archaeology, School of Forensic and Applied Sciences, University of Central Lancashire, UK
2. Department of History, Politics and Philosophy, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
3. School of History, Welsh History and Archaeology, Prifysgol Bangor University, UK /
4. School of Computer Science, Prifysgol Aberystwyth University, UK / /
5. Department of Computer Science, Prifysgol Bangor University, UK /

Publication date: 18 November 2015

Cite this as: Griffiths, S., Edwards, B., Karl, R., Labrosse, F., Miles, H., Moeller, K., Roberts, J., Tiddeman, B. and Wilson, A. 2015 Crowd-sourcing archaeological research: HeritageTogether digital public archaeology in practice, Internet Archaeology 40.


Archaeologists are increasingly working with crowd-sourced digital data. Using evidence from other disciplines about the nature of crowd-sourcing in academic research, we suggest that archaeological projects using donated data can usefully be differentiated between generative projects (which rely on data collected by citizen scientists), and analytical projects (which make use of volunteers to classify, or otherwise analyse data that are provided by the project). We conclude that projects which privilege hyper-local research (such as surveying specific sites) might experience tension if the audience they are appealing to are 'cyber local'. In turn, for more 'traditional' archaeological audiences (when the primary motivating interests may be the tangible, physical nature of portable material culture or the archaeological site itself), then intangible, digital simulacra may not provide an effective medium through which to undertake digital public archaeology.

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