Our approach

Our approach to putting together a web site for the Leskernick Project was, from the start, mindful of the particular limitations of the Internet from both design (download times) and user-base (the privileged) perspectives. As such, our ambition was to develop a truly 'multi-media' project which would embrace conventional print publishing, touring exhibitions, a CD-Rom (for distribution with the book) and the web site to maximise access and explore different ways of narrating Leskernick. Such schemes may seem ambitious, especially for a modestly funded project, but with appropriate know-how and collaboration between departments within a university it is quite feasible. It is worth making the point that none of the team members had any significant previous experience working with the Internet and, so far, all the work has been done 'in-house'.

There may be some resistance to the idea that archaeologists should add yet another skill - web authoring - to their already considerable repertoires, but there can be little doubt of the virtue of a greater familiarity with the medium. One evident problem with many academic sites is the naivety of their design. Internet users are familiar with a high level of design sophistication in informational and commercial web sites. Unfortunately many academic sites, presumably championing content over form, display little consideration for their prospective users with the consequence that such users vote with a mouse click and swiftly move on to more attractive and more easily navigable information resources.

The lesson that content and form are interwoven has been learnt by the academic print publishing world, aware that even the driest of textbooks ought to look and feel good if it is to appeal to the casual 'shelf browser'. Yet publishers have design and marketing departments dedicated to such tasks. What of Internet publishing where author, editor, designer and marketer are often all rolled into one? One answer, as suggested above, would seem to lie in greater collaboration between departments in a university. An archaeological research project may prove a great complement to the portfolio of a electronic arts or computer science student.


© Internet Archaeology URL:
Last updated: Wed Nov 17 1999