Our work at PARP:PS will be discussed at the Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA 2011) conference in Beijing next week. I won’t be able to attend this year but our paper will be presented by Steven Ellis, director of PARP:PS. Our paper is titled “The ‘Paper-less’ Project: the use of iPads in the excavations at Pompeii.” Since it is only a 20-minute presentation we won’t be able to go into as much detail as I have on this blog but it has also allowed us to hit on some broader themes and reflect on the paperless project and its integration into our fieldwork.

One of the most important of these is our attempt to make sure that the introduction of this new recording system doesn’t overwhelm the trench supervisors. Our choices of software and methods were intentionally chosen to stretch the technological envelope without pushing the excavation team too much. In some cases this worked out well. As I have said before, the drawing software was the most difficult for them to learn, and we spent a lot of time training them on its use. The results were much better than expected and everybody seems to like the results. We chose the Pages software for the notebooks thinking that they wouldn’t need much training on the use of a word processor. The result was a little anemic, as they didn’t seem to want to illustrate their notebooks as much as they have in the past. I thought that having all of their excavation photos and plans available to them for insertion into the documents would have been obvious but none of the notebooks contained any images. Perhaps we need to have some more training sessions for Pages.

The schedule for the conference has been posted. I haven’t had much time to look at the other papers being presented, but I will soon. Steven Ellis has already pulled out the relevant Vesuvian area paper titles.