Sunday, 21 October 2018

Hadrian's Wall Polyline v.1

For anyone who needs a polyline for Hadrian's Wall, here it is! Please use this link. I'm planning on refining it in the near future, which shouldn't take too long. As I wasn't able to access more refined information on the wall some of this is educated guesswork based on an OS 1:25,000 map and some Satellite imagery, as well as some other sources. Any students/practitioners of any subject that involves Hadrian's Wall are free to use it, although I would like you to reference where you got it from (i.e. this blog!!) and the problems with the dataset (not accurately referenced, should be used as a rough guide to the location of the wall etc.). It has a few attributes that can be filled in, depending on whether it is Hadrian's or Severan's Wall.


Monday, 28 May 2018

Running free?

In Running Free, Richard Askwith argues that running in a commercial event such as Tough Mudder or Rat Race is not the same as running in a traditional race in, say, an athletics meeting, a fun run or a charity event (I assume as much; he simply says "Big Running wants you to run in a rut (...) But don't let them tell you that's the only option", where Askwith states that Big Running has successfully created a whole new market for runners where the emphasis is on paying a lot of money on both the equipment and for the experience when really you could do all this for much less and possibly for more entertainment).

However, it occurred to me that despite my affiliation with a running club, not spending very much on running gear and nothing on gym fees (except the fell running essentials for about £40, minus trail shoes) and running for the sake of my own enjoyment and not necessarily for the times (except Parkrun), what I had just done today (see date of the article) ideologically amounted to the exact same end product of the antithesis of what Richard Askwith would like us runners to do. Bear with me. Today I ran in the Bamford Sheepdog Trials Fell Race. The race itself isn't important; it had a 300 metre ascent over a 1 mile stretch of a 4.5 miles race, with fantastic views of the Derwent Valley all round at the top. If it wasn't for the narrow path maybe I could've taken a few more runners on the uphill... but I digress. I paid £5 for that privilege. The problem I realised posthumously is that essentially any event you pay for could fall into this "Big running" category. Admittedly in Tough Mudder you pay upwards of £50 for the race itself without the extras, which is a lot more money and very limiting to those with a decent disposable income.

"Big Running" is seen as bad by Askwith as it implies that you are letting capitalism control every aspect of your running life by sanitising the experience into something marketable and "enjoyable" by making you think you are enjoying the countryside whereas really you are rather safe and not actually experiencing the environment. The entrance fee is the most problematic part of this. Askwith would say that Bamford is a charity and not a commercial venture so they are not making a profit out of the race. I would argue that if people are willing to pay for a Big Running experience, then fell runners are just as culpable in paying for an event run by a charity. Most races I attend are run by volunteers and charities, and with the exception of Parkrun, I pay for pretty much all of these. I could  have organised my own event but if I had charged for it surely I would have been culpable too!

However the other argument here is that a charity/volunteer event is much more likely to give back to the community. It gives the communities, often relatively isolated ones, a chance of making some much needed cash for their communities. The Bamford race I mentioned above explicitly states where the money from the fell race goes to, such as the local girl Guides (see here). But it is still within the confines of a capitalist system. It may not be as bad as the commercial ventures but it still legitimises the system and justifies paying for a race. This in itself isn't a bad thing - races can rarely be done for free. However in fell running a large portion of the races are locally grounded, in contrast to the Big Running events, which have little historical association with the areas they are hosted. Relations between locals and the events are not usually the reason why you go to a Big Running event, whereas the nostalgia of running in a fell race sometimes involves an entire village coming out to help organise a race (see the Burnsall Classic). So the simple act of paying for a race entry immediately blurs the community and commercial lines. At what point are you paying for the race organisation, the upkeep of the church, or just lining someone's pockets? This is a very cynical view, and certainly in the fell running scene is almost unheard of. However, I feel this is something that Mr. Askwith could address in a future article.

The second part of this is the branding/advertising of said events. In a similar vein, at what point does advertising an event become branding? Simply having your race on the Fellrunner website in itself may be grounds for branding as you are exposing yourself to market forces (there are a lot of adverts on the site from some big fell running names). However, this argument does fall down a bit as many fell races don't spend money on advertising and often rely on word of mouth more so than Big Running events.

Ultimately the Big Running events are mostly motivated by profit while the charity and local events are run for the locals (no pun intended). At a fundamental level comparing the paid aspect of these different types of events doesn't give us the ideological difference we are looking for. The way they are marketed is better, and Askwith does identify this as a factor. His other factors I don't have a problem with (sanitising the experience, selling merchandise and "the experience"), but a refinement of the differences should focus more on the community of who these races benefit would be a better starting point.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

A Hitchhiker's (brief) Guide to the Ontology of the Digitisation of Archaeology


The digital world is one of representation that relies on the abstract use of binary numbers over a computer-based network. We treat the digital as we treat the real world, i.e. in a largely visually dominated environment, so perhaps we can phrase the question as an off-shoot of what is really real and not just visually there. Yet archaeology is uniquely placed to utilise the digital; namely to reconstruct the past. So what is the ontological difference between an interaction with an archaeological object in real life and one based in the digital domain? Are we addressing these challenges in archaeology? By using a philosophical framework I will analyse this question through Jos De Mul's four characteristics of the digital world, and by relating it to archaeology through photogrammetric models and photography.

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Humans struggle to visualise the scale of the digital. To quote The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy; “Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space”. Traditional analogies do not work for the digital realm for a variety of reasons; Jos De Mul proposes that a better analogy for cyberspace is space travel as they both contain spatial and temporal characteristics that we don't experience on Earth. For example, if we are recording this session, you could watch this session from another planet and this session could be listened to in the future. However, this argument falls down because you can use analogue technologies to do some of these tasks, e.g. analogue radio. It is also difficult to comprehend digital space - space is an abstract notion of nothingness but also it is situated within our reality. It is possible to travel through space, but you are still subject to physical laws. Nonetheless, outer space is so large and the amount of information we can store in the digital realm is so large that we can perhaps compare the two in this respect. An object that can contain infinite representations can be any size you like, and yet it can contain more numbers than you could possibly count, like a dice with a digital display capable of outputting any number you program it to, while an analogue dice is limited to the number of sides it has. Much like when staring up into the night sky; you can visualise the stars easily enough, but could you count every known star out there? The digital makes it possible.

Thus we should approach digital archaeology similarly, particularly online. Archaeologists have already highlighted the importance of the digital image and its contribution compared to an analogue method, showing how important the professional illustrator is to capturing the complexities of a site. However, many studies focus on just the visual critique of the digital, not the underlying ontology. To balance this critique I propose De Mul's analysis of the digital, which provides four main characteristics; Multimediality, Interactivity, Virtuality and Connectivity.
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Multimediality is the combination of words, sounds and (moving) images. Digital information is in its simplest form a binary code. The digital media can then be transported and replicated easily, which puts objects out of their original context. Everything on this screen can be translated into 8 binary numbers, which could then be coded into 256 different linguistic signs, which can then be used in any program which can read a binary code. How well it will work in subsequent programs is a different matter. Aden Evens sees multimediality as an abstraction as well as a manipulation; by capturing information in binary form you are also divorcing the processes of the digital from the temporal and spatial particularities of our reality. In fact, Evens goes so far as to say that it is THE defining feature of the digital as all digital information is superseded by and becomes either 1 or 0; everything or nothing.

Multimediality’s most common function is manipulation, which isn’t a purely digital characteristic. To illustrate my point, one of these images is the raw image, and the other was used in the first Picture Post Magazine in October 1938. Which of these images has been edited for publication? The raw image (on the left) has been “airbrushed” to spare the dignity of the young woman; an early example of an Photoshopped image! However, analogue technology cannot combine visual senses with audio and other senses without resorting to different media sources. The binary code makes the digital different; it allows all of the senses to be used in the same representational platform. In this respect multimediality creates an easier interface between digital computers and humans. I will come back to this point later.

The Picture Post image also demonstrates the media also becomes unstable as they are in flux. The analogue and digital photographs may look the same but they are not structurally identical, as photogrammetry encompasses both traditional photographic methods and digital imaging; yet these media are technologically and fundamentally different. This leads to a common criticism of digital archaeology; de-contextualisation. This is a serious ethical issue that concerns the ontology of the dataset. Multimediality allows us, or a computer, to “Photoshop” an image without us noticing the difference.

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The second of De Mul's characteristics, Interactivity, focuses on the way in which the user navigates through the digital. If humans will interact with computers in new ways, then we should investigate how this might be an ontological issue. In this case, interactivity is best described by hypertext; a non-linear network of fragments through which the user can navigate. Unlike a book, where the author has put the words in a set order, you can intervene on a web page or digital medium, such as a computer game. A book in the digital requires no page number; you may navigate them as you please. Evens argues that this is a significant break from analogue media, as page numbers are considered secondary to the text in the book itself. The referents are the text themselves. In a computer game you can determine the actions and outcomes of the game much more so than a book; the player is free to determine the objective of the game. You are free to set the rules of what you are looking for in, say, a photogrammetric model, becoming your own author and creating an unique experience that may be shared with others. It is also possible to do this with board games too; as long as you are create your own rules. What this also shows is that the viewer in a sense becomes an “author” of the work. The original author becomes a creator of narrative spaces that allow multilinear paths to be taken.

Other definitions of interactivity only occur when the audience actively participates in the control of an artwork or representation. Such an example is crowd-sourcing; a photogrammetric model can have multiple contributions of photographs from a variety of users who are contributing to the final product. We see such active examples in Google Earth where models of existing structures have been crowd-sourced, but there is no rigourous way of checking whether a photograph is acceptable or assessing this data against the objectives of a grander strategy. Conceptual models are also used to fill in gaps in the model, which are entirely created in the digital medium, which are true proxies of our reality as there is no true basis in reality for them.
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Now we must move on to virtuality. Here it is concerned with, to quote Heim, “an event or entity that is real in effect but not in fact”. In computer sciences reality and Virtuality are considered part of the same continuum. A virtual world is a simulation of a world which is not real in a physical sense but its effects come across as real; think of nausea from flight simulators, or the stories of PTSD effects from drone pilots in an army. Virtual reality takes multimediality one step further by becoming the interface that humans can use to access the digital. However, the consequences for archaeology are far-ranging. Western philosophy has traditionally made an hierarchical opposition between being and illusion, but the digital subverts this opposition. The digital image is created from its representation, which is then used to judge reality, creating a positive feedback cycle where the representation can gain more credence than the original it was based on. We may fall into this trap if we overly rely on the virtual.

What about virtual entities? Jeff Buechner argues that if we see reality as a purely phenomenological experience then augmented reality is any change in the totality of our sensory and cognitive experience that is produced by some form of technology, via addition, manipulation or deletion, thus augmenting reality, like wearing rose-tinted spectacles. This definition excludes hallucinations or illusions, of what is created by the mind but is not real. If virtual entities are modelled on people or objects, what happens is that you question whether the virtual entity is a different entity from the thing it is modelled on, or whether there is only one entity. If we believe the latter statement (there is one entity) then you accept that a recording of said entity is the actual entity, and the actions of the virtual entity are also the actions of the real entity, contradicting the idea that Augmented Reality is not reality but a change to the totality. If you believe the former statement (there are two distinct entities) then you encounter issues of what is natural; our reality or the virtual entity, especially if the latter does actions that may be considered “unnatural” to the former. For archaeology, it is particularly problematic as it is impossible to psychoanalyse the dead; how can you say the real person would have or not have done that action in the past when you have never observed them doing those actions yourself? There are no principles in defining what is considered more ontologically “natural”. This argument creates a form of scepticism which ultimately questions the basis of reality itself; something that Buechner ultimately denies as the image is simply a pictorial representation of an entity. Note however the creation of multiple identities in the digital realm (just look at how many overlapping or contradictory social media profiles you may have), so individuals may not necessarily see your actions in reality in the same way they do with your online presence, even if your actions in reality and the virtual are identical.
What about printing your digital model? A 3D printed model is based on the numerical representation of the object in a virtual environment, which is then converted into a model through a separate process. At what point can you accept the model as a true representation of an object or site? By creating a model you are creating an unique creation. In a certain sense every “copy” is an “original”. Therefore copies are not truly representative of the original work. But what does this mean for the biography of the original as well? Moreover, digital models are often made separate from their spatial and temporal environments, which are often full of human detritus, which may aid our interpretations of the site. This is not to devalue copies, as they can still enhance our understanding of archaeology. Nonetheless in the digital the manipulation of the image has taken precedence over the exhibition value or cultural value of an object, which are both central to how we display and interpret archaeology.

What about the consequences of all this digital data? If our aim is to record the world as it is, then we may reflect on Cripps's statement that “information that goes into databases is far too perfect and too often a perfect view of the world”. This is interpreted as our methodologies of data collection are flawed by being too representative; we are seeing what we want to see. This is difficult to quantify as we extrapolate from an incomplete datasets and this is difficult to scientifically test without having the whole dataset to work with; in archaeology this data is often destroyed before it can be recorded- a catch 22. However, by using the digital realm to record our world we are creating a new world, not just a copy. This is reflected somewhat in the modern/postmodern dialectic of the mimesis/poiesis; i.e. the idea of recreating an object against the idea of creating new ones. The computer is traditionally seen as a modernist ideal; Nelson Goodman argued that an analogue object is impossible to differentiate in a finite manner; it can only be absolute in a continuum, like a thermometer. A digital computer's strengths lie in giving definitive readings and repeatability. Can scientific methods, such as photogrammetry, be used to create new worlds, rather than just recording them? Archaeology's raison d'etre is being a steward of the past, which seems a modernist ideal. However, interpretations from archaeological features are often multilinear, even though we are only trying to record our supposedly unilinear world! This multilinearity is arguably a form of poesis. So not only is the digital realm giving us the space to record our world, but that this “recorded world” is a new world altogether.
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The final characteristic, Connectivity, links everything we do within in the digital realm through the medium of the internet. This brief synopsis will highlight some further considerations. As mentioned before digital models are de-contextualised; with connectivity a scenario may arise when a group of schoolchildren are given a tour of a virtual excavation with inhumations in their classroom. Without proper supervision, education or advice from an informed person, the children could start reciting Hamlet with the skulls. Does it matter whether you use an unique model or a copy of the original? Should the digital models be given as much respect as analogue ones? What about virtually teleporting oneself into an archaeological site? Even if you were fully immersed in a simulator, your body is still not on the site, but you may feel the effects as if you were there. Furthermore, this positionality may allow the mind to occupy multiple bodies at once; excavating multiple sites, attending multiple conferences at the same time. A flight simulator isn't real, but the effects of it are. Could our minds cope with multiple spaces? Even today some of these scenarios are possible!
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To conclude, is there an ontological difference between analogue and digital models? With apologies to Douglas Adams, The digital space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way to the computer but that's peanuts to digital space. The abstract is made possible and apparent. The digital doesn't work to our laws, and should be treated as such. All information is either everything or not-(everyt)hing. Although the digital is pure representation, the characteristics of multimediality decontextualise everything you record; interactivity makes the participant more of an author of the work. Using nothing more than human interaction the representation of reality becomes the yardstick we use to judge reality itself, creating a positive feedback cycle. It becomes difficult to believe historical characters in a virtual reality simulator. You can break out of your human limitations and experience the world in a trans-geographical and trans-historical arena that surpasses anything possible in the real world, although its effects are apparent. Perhaps the most devastating outcome of this question is whether we are actually using the digital to record the past, or, in using multiple interpretations of archaeology as an analogy, we are creating new worlds altogether that seek to enhance the human experience through the digital medium. This dichotomy of recreation versus creation is perhaps the question that will define digital archaeology in years to come. It all feels real, but that should not distract from the abstract nature of the digital.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

An Open letter to Robot Wars

 
An open letter

To whom it may concern,

   I am extremely concerned about your next series of robot wars (series 10 or 3, depending on your point of view). I will outline the reasons why I am not going to be watching your next season when it airs in October 2017.

For one, you are changing the format of the show, with less robots being used in the upcoming series, thus leading to less fights. By contrast, you had upwards of nearly 100 competitors in a single series of Robot Wars before series 8 (or one, depending on your view) This not only denies spaces to budding entrants who want to spend time and money to enter your show but also limits the action in the arena. If you are looking to attract more people to fight in the arena, who may potentially bring a new weapon or tactic into the warzone, then surely you are limiting the talent pool?

Next, and perhaps more criminally, a number of errors keep appearing in your websites and press releases. Behemoth was never a champion, strictly speaking, unless you count the Challenge trophy, which they started with without actually having to fight anyone. Even your website could not make its mind up as to whether you should continue calling it series 9 or series 2, depending on whether you looked at the tab or the actual web page itself. Typographical errors such as these really infuriate the passionate fan, who want grammatically correct sentences. It feels as if you are not employing staff who can sufficiently QA their own work. Either that, or you do not employ staff who are as committed to Robot Wars as perhaps they could be, which is clearly hindering the product.

Additionally, your promotional material is not actually allowing me to enjoy your show any more than if I was actually watching it. This is not how promotional material is supposed to work. I cannot remember any of the promotional material from the original series, but currently you appear to be both hiding and revealing things at the same time. You say that there is a new arena threat, but there has been little explanation of it? At the same time your preview demonstrates a robot flying higher than any other robot may ever have done, and from the looks on the faces of the teams this was NOT due to the flipper. This leads me to conclude that either a team has a flipper capable of this (perhaps one we already know or don't know) OR you have lied to us about the arena changes. I suspect the former, which is fine, except that this is indicative of a style of programming that relies on being able to constantly deliver these big shocks, and unfortunately this leads to a certain amount of burnout if there are too many of these types of huge shocks. It may have been better to not show this clip at all, but rather focus on a new house robot or the new arena threat.

Until you rectify these issues, I abhor the viewer who is willing to watch a show which contains fewer robots of overall lower quality, while turning the entire format into a parody of the original series 3. If this was your intention, well done. I feel that you are having something of an identity crisis which is ruining the show. In spite of your apparently successful series ratings, I fear you are dragging the show down into a spiralling descent of falling interest, until you realise what the show is all about. Is it a sport or entertainment? Is it going to be the UK Championships, as it used to be, or is it therre to showcase the achievements of schoolchildren alongside amateur and professional competitors? If you really want to hark back to the "good old days", why not employ some of the more unique aspects of the show, such as the non-gladiatorial games they used to do on series 1 and 2, such as the pinball, sumo, football or other games? Even better, attend one of the live, untelevised shows that occur all over the country, like Robots Live and Extreme Robots. This would level the playing field by increasing the emphasis on driver control. Swarm bots might get an advantage in some games but overall I feel this would appeal to many different fans.

Yours sincerely,

Ali





To whom it may concern,

   I am delighted by the changes you have made to the show, and I will make it my mission to ensure that as many people as possible tune in to watch your show. Why do I feel it necessary to express these feelings? Your focus on fewer robots allows people such as myself to really get to know the robots we actually care about. To aid this, your press releases have been useful in allowing us to really get to know the new and returning competitors in a style that fits the tone of the show for the 21st century, while giving a nod towards the somewhat silly yet still dangerous antics of the old series.

Although less robots might be seen as a bad thing for the competition if you want constant, no-stop fighting, it really can take you out of a show if all you want is a 60 minute clip of robots bashing each other. It can actually get quite numbing, so spending time in the pits, learning cool information about the world of robotics from the judges and having two of the most engaging presenters in the business really help to create an atmosphere that I can get behind. However, while I enjoy the promotional material, I have noticed a few errors on your website which could be rectified. Now, no one is perfect, but under the circumstances I am willing to accept the errors if you correct them in due course.

I believe that the advertising has been very good in showing the current state of robot fighting in the UK. It is in rude health, with new teams, and a new winner of the heavyweight championship every year for at least the last 5 years, for the last 2 these have been brand new robots and teams. Furthermore, the variety of robots out there is arguably better than the US, with their Battlebots, which actually showcases a number of British teams who have also been on Robot Wars. Robot Wars has so far not mentioned Battlebots, and I feel any mention of foreign competition at this moment in time may be detrimental to the product until more time has been spent on any potential collaboration. So overall your advertising reflects the current state of robot fighting well in the UK.

While some may bemoan that the show is no longer the original product, all products need to move on with the times. This might lead to the accusation of having an identity crisis but this is still a relatively new product. Top Gear managed about 20 series in the 00's and early 10's, of which a number of the earlier episodes had the same problem with trying to maintain it's earlier identity, ultimately changing into something that was presented differently but was fundamentally the same programme. I feel that Robot Wars is going through the same thing. Robot Wars has the advantage of a 15 year break, so the change can be more pronounced and more reflective of the present day.

 Yours sincerely,   Ali
 

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

ICAP conference 2017: Talking 'bout my Generation

12th International Conference of Archaeological Prospection


The Chartered Institute for Archaeologist’s New Generation group and Geophysics Special Interest Groups are working with ICAP (the International Conference of Archaeological Prospection) to facilitate a session aimed at Early Career Archaeological Geophysicists* at the 12th International Conference of Archaeological Prospection on Friday 15 September 2017 at Bradford University
.
GeoSIG and New Generation group are able to fund up to four Friday day delegate tickets for presenters for early career CIfA members, thanks to the support of the Institute.
The session will include an Equipment Trouble Shooting CPD training workshop and a number of short papers (approx. 5 mins each) given by Early Career Geophysicists, and intended for Early Career Geophysicists and those who are looking to enter the profession. We are keen to hear from you if you would like to present on the academic/career path that led you to your role, how you gain(ed) experience or what your current role entails. Following these papers, there will be an open discussion for new and experienced delegates to exchange views, ideas and knowledge.
If you have a topic you would like to present, please email your expression of interest using the proposal form to groups@archaeologists.net  by midday Monday 28 August 2017.
For full conference details please visit the website: www.ap2017.brad-vis.com
 *Early career geophysicist in this instance refers only to the time working as a geophysicist, not period since graduation. This is different to the ICAP definition for early career practitioner for the full conference reduced registration fee.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Wibbly, wobbly, timey, wimey ... stuff (Theoretical Archaeological Group conference, Cardiff, 18th-20th December 2017)

If you would like to present a paper at TAG Cardiff 2017 this year, why not apply to our session, Wibbly, wobbly, timey, wimey...stuff! Ask questions about the very nature of our consumerist and digital existence that will even have Tom Baker baffled!

For more information, please visit our session on the TAG website
http://tag2017cardiff.org/2017/07/31/wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey-stuff/

Or you can listen to the podcast below for an audio version of our session abstract.

Paper abstracts to be submitted to caitlin.kitchener@york.ac.uk or alistairgalt@gmail.com before Friday 25th August 2017.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Festival of Archaeology 2017: Middleton Park Ice House dig

This year, for the Festival of Archaeology 2017, I have decided to talk about the community project I am involved in! The Leeds branch of the Young Archaeologists Club have been running an excavation over the weekend of the 15th-16th July 2017, with a huge turnout of over 40 children and adults!

We were approached by the South Leeds Archaeology Society about the prospect of excavating within the grounds of Middleton Park, where YAC Leeds are based. They had previously excavated the Ice House in Middleton Park to some extent in 2013, but left with more questions than answers (as always seems to be the case!). To the uninitiated an ice house is an old fashioned freezer; a place where owners could put ice before the advent of home freezing. Basically what it says on the tin! They are often found in high class estates, as they were not cheap to build for such a specific purpose! Therefore any entrance needed to not left any light or heat in or else the ice would melt! This ice house in Middleton Park was built by Charles Brandling in 1760, and the ice house existed until 1992. They left the top of the foundations of the interior of the ice house partially exposed but with a large area within the ice house itself not excavated (ice houses tend to be dug quite far into the soil to maintain a cool temperature).

Needless to say we were very excited at being able to run our first ever excavation in the local area, which would be accessible for the kids who come along to the dig. However, because excavations can be very physically tiring for people of all ages, we decided to split the weekend into 4 half-days, so we invited YAC groups from across Yorkshire to turn up for a half-day and contribute to our excavation.

The remains of the Ice House in Middleton Park are a series of brick foundations in  a circular fashion. We believe it dates to the 17th/18th century but there is little information to go on, in the history archives. Its location is actually quite hard to find in the woods, so no wonder there has been little work done to it!

On the first day we had set out the areas where we wanted to dig. We had an area stretching outside of the ice house to try to find the entrance, and a small area in the interior of the ice house, which may have been disturbed by animals, so we wanted to excavate it. We took the trenches to about a foot across the entire area, exposing a new wall that may be the entranceway. Meanwhile, a number of nails, glass bottle fragments and pottery were found across the site, mainly in the entranceway. We also found that the interior of the ice house might be sloping inwards, which would agree with the general shape of other known ice houses.




The second day focused on the possible entranceway, with the interior fill taken down to a lower level and the trenches inside the ice house taken very far down, so far in fact we had to get the adults to dig them! However, some very nice pieces of pottery came up and even some animal bones! This ice house also seems to now be sloping away from the centre; this seems unusual for an ice house. MAybe it has a bulbous shape? The kids helped with site recording, photography, finds washing and surveying after we downed tools. Some of the kids from the Leeds YAC did both days, which was a little bit of a surprise!

I can't say too much more as I'm not writing up the site but it is amazing how many sites there are that could be waiting to be researched and excavated. The aim of the site were to learn more about the ice house, and we know more about the location of the entrance and the shape of the ice house. More importantly, the kids learnt new skills in archaeology, from excavation to site photos, from finds washing to drawing plans and surveying with a total station. However, the story is unlikely to end there. Indeed, there is the possibility of a future dig on the site to uncover more parts of the ice house to further understand the shape and reasons for collapse!

Thanks go to South Leeds archaeology group for their knowledge to the site and CFA Archaeology and YAC for providing tools for the dig!