February’s quick links: Via my new colleague (Hi Ben), some tutorials for using QGIS and GRASS as opposed to (or in conjunction with) ArcGIS on an archaeological project Andlinux- a different way of accessing linux-based programmes without going through cygwin. I’ve managed to get GRASS installed, though I haven’t tried it out in anger yet. A n00bs guide to installing linux programmes from source. Don’t be scared, it’s not that bad, though I’d add in how to get the command line to send it’s output to a log file for those times when it all goes wrong and you didn’t happen to catch the error as it scrolled past really fast…
Again, better late than never are a couple of links I’ve seen over the last month that are worth having a look at: A History of Visual Communication, from cave painting to computer design, via Kottke. I especially liked the earliest sections from cro-magnon cave painting to the Nazca Lines. I’m still working through the later sections! What happens to your blog post when you click publish, from Wired.
As the title kind of gives away, it was the annual Computing Applications in Archaeology UK Chapter annual conference over the last few days. It was held in York this time, rather than Southampton, as it has been for the last few years, heralding, I hope, a plan to move around the country from now on. Normally I like to blog daily from these conferences, whilst it’s all fresh in my mind, and because it’s easier to blog about one day’s papers than two, but guest houses with wifi in York are a little difficult to come by (gotta get me one of those mobile broadband thangs).
There’s the beginnings of an interesting discussion here and here about using archaeological data in Second Life, or using Second Life as a teaching resource. I’m more interested in the first idea, of publishing your excavation as an “experience” rather than as some data and a report. I hadn’t even realised that you could link to external datasources in Second Life, but apparently you can, and people are already using this to release their own GIS projects.
A few days late (but better late than never, hey?) are a couple of the archaeology-related posts I’ve spotted on my travels: Erik Kansa has a piece on “Archaeological Openness” on the Ancient World Bloggers Group (actually the AWBG is worth a bullet point of it’s own as a relatively new archaeological blog), in relation to the recent Science Commons Open Data Protocol - this should be really interesting once archaeologists get their head around what it will mean for them;
Archaeologists Bill Quinn and Declan Moore had a flash of insight about the mound they were about to excavate-whilst suffering from a big hangover. Burnt mounds are found all over the place, and they date from prehistoric to medieval times, but no one has been sure what they were actually for. They consist of mounds of burnt stones and an adjacent trough of stone, usually with a water course nearby. The usual interpretation is that they are for cooking, but other people have posited that they were saunas.
Archaeology magazine (courtesy of my new colleague Joseph) has an article on archaeological evidence for the first ever historically recorded zombie attack, in Hierakonpolis in Eygpt, 3000BC. The article explains that: n 1892, a British dig at Hierakonpolis unearthed a nondescript tomb containing a partially decomposed body, whose brain had been infected with the virus (Solanum) that turns people into zombies. In addition, thousands of scratch marks adorned every surface of the tomb, as if the corpse had tried to claw its way out!
Well, it doesn’t seem like a whole month has passed since FOSS4G. but it’s nearly halloween so I guess it must have done. Here in Lancaster things have been mighty hectic, with office moves and related changes (I now know a lot more about VOIP phone systems than I ever wanted to). It’s only this last week where I feel like I’m actually back in the saddle and doing real work again.