The workshop in Samarkand, attended by representatives of CAAL project teams from UCL, Central Asia, and China (find a more comprehensive list here) saw everyone come together for several days of discussions about Arches, GIS, standards and policies, information dissemination, and how these tools can forward the systematic documentation of archaeological landscapes in the region. Talk centred around digital platforms, methodologies, and the complexities of taking on such a wide-ranging project across geographies, languages, political landscapes. While everyone sees the long-term benefits of creating a digital inventory the project is not without obstacles – small and large – challenges viewed with open eyes. With the vast experience of team members from the various institutions as well as participation from affiliate partners the project is an opportunity to address some of the long-term concerns about threats to the archaeological record due to deteriorating archival materials, ongoing development projects which put unknown or little-known sites at risk, climate-related changes in the environment and effects on agricultural and socioeconomic systems.
A feeling of excitement and anticipation permeated while individuals finally got their hands on the much talked-about ArchesProject and began experiencing the test data in real time.
Participants’ overwhelming attitude during the workshop was absolutely can-do and will-do and how quickly can we begin? Now, individual teams are being assembled, added to, and beginning to take inventory of their own archives and sites and within a few months advanced training on the digital platforms will begin. Soon this website and our social media channels will have formal introductions to team members, institutions, and affiliate partners so please check back often, follow us @uclcaal , and of course, subscribe to the newsletter.
by Kim TE WINKLE