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

Seren Griffiths1, Ben Edwards1, Raimund Karl2, Fred Labrosse3, Helen Miles3, Katharina Moeller2, Jonathan Roberts2, Bernie Tiddeman3, Andrew Wilson2

1 Manchester Metropolitan University
2 Bangor University
3 Aberystwyth University


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.

Seren Griffiths, Ben Edwards, Raimund Karl, Fred Labrosse, Helen Miles, Katharina Moeller, Jonathan Roberts, Bernie Tiddeman, Andrew Wilson, “Crowd-sourcing archaeological research: HeritageTogether digital public archaeology in practice,” Internet Archaeology 40, 2015.

[DOI: 10.11141/ia.40.7.3]