Chiara Bonacchi


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Archeologia Pubblica e Crowdsourcing al Museo Egizio

Archeologia e Pubblico. Comprendere come la ricerca e i risultati da essa conseguiti divengono (o meno) parte del nostro vivere contemporaneo, studiare le implicazioni etiche, sociali, economiche, politiche derivanti dall’analisi archeologica della cultura materiale e dalla sua comunicazione e fruizione in senso più lato. Queste sono le tematiche affrontate dal settore dell’Archeologia Pubblica, declinazione italiana dell’inglese Public Archaeology.

La Public Archaeology emerge e si diffonde negli Stati Uniti e in Gran Bretagna a partire dagli anni ’70 del secolo scorso ed ha conosciuto, nell’ultimo decennio soprattutto, una diffusione anche maggiore a livello internazionale. Sebbene non vi sia consenso assoluto, la Public Archaeology e’ oggi principalmente intesa come quell’area disciplinare intenta a studiare il modo in cui archeologia e società civile dialogano e si rapportano, al fine di migliorare tale scambio.

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E’ in questa accezione che l’Archeologia Pubblica sembra essersi affacciata anche in Italia, grazie al primo articolo pubblicato sul tema e ad una serie di iniziative tra cui il Primo Congresso di Archeologia Pubblica in Italia, la sezione tematica (Dossier) dedicata dalla rivista European Journal of Postclassical Archaeologies, la conferenza Archeologia Pubblica al Tempo della Crisi e l’iniziativa Archeostorie.

Ci sembra che proprio alla ‘crisi’ (non solo economica) l’Archeologia Pubblica possa offrire risposte convincenti, se impegnata nel capire come diversi ‘pubblici’ s’interessano all’archeologia, in quali forme e con quali motivazioni vi partecipano. Comprendere il pubblico permette di coinvolgerlo in modo efficace e di contribuire allo sviluppo culturale ed economico di comunità di diverso tipo.

Internet e le tecnologie digitali offrono nuovi spazi per rendere questo modello operativo. Attraverso il crowdsourcing, in particolare, è possibile raccogliere informazioni, servizi e finanziamenti da gruppi numerosi di persone, online, richiedendo a ciascuna di esse un contributo individuale relativamente piccolo.

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La piattaforma di crowdsourcing MicroPasts.

Applicato alla ricerca scientifica, questo metodo permette di creare, integrare, correggere, arricchire ed aggregare dati resi disponibili online da istituzioni o private persone. Il crowdsourcing consente di coinvolgere pubblici diversi nella gestione e cura di collezioni museali, archivistiche o librarie e nella generazione e nell’utilizzo d’informazioni in grado di supportare analisi quantitative in archeologia, potenzialmente riguardanti contesti geografici estesi e multi-periodo.

Museo Egizio, Torino.

Museo Egizio, Torino.

Oggi il Museo Egizio, insieme all’Istituto di Archeologia di University College London (UCL), porta il crowdsourcing archeologico in Italia. Il progetto si servirà di MicroPasts, la prima piattaforma tematica dedicata al crowdsourcing in archeologia, sviluppata a partire dal 2013 da UCL (la prima istituzione per lo studio della Public Archaeology in Europa) e British Museum in collaborazione con il team Pybossa.

Sinora, oltre 2,000 persone si sono servite della piattaforma per contribuire alla creazione di open data archeologici di vario tipo, tra cui la trascrizione e geo-referenziazione di un archivio contenente circa 30,000 schede di documentazione di manufatti in metallo rinvenuti principalmente nel Regno Unito a partire dalla fine del 18esimo secolo (National Bronze Age Index).

Il Museo Egizio inaugura un programma di crowdsourcing volto alla realizzazione di modelli 3D di oggetti salienti appartenenti alle proprie collezioni,  a cominciare dal cofanetto dello Scriba Regale e Sovrintendente al Palazzo, Djehuty-hotep, a cui seguiranno altri reperti differenti per materiale e tipologia, tutti appartenenti alle collezioni esposte nel nuovo allestimento.

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Prima applicazione di crowdsourcing del Museo Egizio di Torino, su MicroPasts.

L’obiettivo è coerente con la nuova visione di un museo che pone al centro la ricerca, intesa come elemento fondamentale per la conoscenza, l’interpretazione e la divulgazione. Grazie alla Public Archaelogy, a questi temi si aggiungono il coinvolgimento e la partecipazione del pubblico aggiungendo un valore molto importante e innovativo utile a creare maggiore interesse e sensibilità sul ruolo dell’archeologia nella società contemporanea. I modelli 3D ottenuti con questa metodologia offrono differenti utilizzi sia a livello scientifico che didattico (la disponibilità di una stampante 3D offre a chiunque la possibilità di ottenere una riproduzione fedele all’originale). Il Museo Egizio è il primo museo italiano ad aderire a questa piattaforma offrendo la possibilità di testare l’adeguatezza e il valore di questo metodo in Italia e, al contempo, di migliorare la comunicazione di temi chiave nell’ambito dell’Egittologia e relativi alla cultura materiale presentata e interpretata attraverso il Museo.

Partecipa anche tu!

Chiara Bonacchi (UCL Institute of Archaeology), Paolo del Vesco (Museo Egizio)

 

 

 

 

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Morte e Rinascita nel Nuovo Regno

A partire dalla XVIII dinastia (1550-1295 a. C.) e fino all’età tolemaica (332-30 a. C.) le statuette funerarie, note con il nome di ushabtyfurono spesso disposte all’interno di cofanetti per la maggior parte di legno. Durante tutto il Nuovo Regno (1550-1069 a. C.) e l’inizio del Terzo Periodo Intermedio (1069-945 a.C.) essi assunsero la forma di cappelle cultuali in miniatura.

Uno di questi è il cofanetto dello Scriba Regale e Sovrintendente al Palazzo, Djehuty-hotep, la cui superficie, stuccata e dipinta, presenta una decorazione che rievoca alcune credenze funerarie e concetti di rinascita dopo la morte, tipici del Nuovo Regno. Le scene sono arricchite da complessi elementi decorativi, geometrici.

Sul lato frontale si trova l’immagine del defunto che indossa un largo collare sopra un’elegante veste bianca, plissettata. Il Defunto è rappresentato seduto, mentre beve l’acqua della vita versata dalla Dea del sicomoro. Attinge al liquido anche il suo ba, uno degli elementi spirituali della persona, dal caratteristico aspetto di uccello a testa umana. Sui due lati si vede: a destra il defunto, mummificato; a sinistra Hapy e Amseti, due dei quattro geni funerari protettivi figli del dio falco Horo. Sul lato posteriore c’è ancora Djehuty-hotep rappresentato in piedi, in presenza di un sacerdote sem. Il cofanetto al suo interno doveva conservare 2-3 ushabty e lo stile suggerisce una datazione intorno alla XIX dinastia (1295 – 1186 a.C.).

 

Paolo del Vesco e Paolo Marini (Università di Pisa)

 

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Naval heritage from the Mary Rose to HMS Hood

In March 2015, the team at the Mary Rose Trust met with Chiara, who introduced MicroPasts and the various projects that the MicroPasts team had been involved in. The Mary Rose Trust team were hugely impressed with the passion of the collaborators that had contributed to the online projects as well as the quality of the work that had been produced and the possibility of achieving a lot in a very short space of time!

With this in mind, a pilot project was prepared in which 3D photo-masking could be done on three artefacts recovered from the Mary Rose. This project started in May 2015 and within only a few months, models of each of the artefacts had been produced and uploaded to Sketchfab (a wooden bowl, a wooden tankard and an angel plaque). The bell recovered from the Mary Rose was also added at a later stage and was similarly prepared and uploaded by Hugh Fiske, one of the MicroPasts collaborators.

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As of May 2016, the 3D models of the artefacts have been viewed about 2,500 times. Although they represent a very small part of the Mary Rose collection, their introduction to a digital 3D space has offered exciting opportunities in developing the accessibility of the collection. So far, the models have been used for outreach activities undertaken by the Mary Rose Team, for preparing ‘replicas’ (via 3D printing) and as digital content for University student projects.

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We are excited to see how the models of the Mary Rose artefacts are further utilised going forward, but, interestingly, our current collaborative project between the Mary Rose Trust and MicroPasts does not involve an artefact from the Mary Rose. Instead the item in question is the bell that was recovered from HMS Hood – a Second World War British battle cruiser that was sunk in 1941 (almost 400 years after the Mary Rose sunk in 1545!) by the German Battleship Bismarck, during the Battle of the Denmark Strait. In 2001 the wreck was located by Blue Water Recoveries with the ship’s bell found lying on the seabed away from the hull. In August 2015, Paul G. Allen (co-founder of Microsoft) led an expedition supported by Blue Water Recoveries to retrieve the bell and, soon afterwards, the bell was sent to Mary Rose Archaeological Services for conservation.

HMS Hood

The battleship HMS Hood in 1930 during a dockyard refit. Photograph: Hulton Getty.

The bell was presented to the HMS Hood when she was launched, in 1918, by the widow of Rear-Admiral Sir Horace Hood, great-great grandson of Sir Samuel Hood, after whom the ship was named. Sir Horace died at the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916, one of 1,026 officers and men who died in seconds when the battlecruiser HMS Invincible blew up and sank, and the bell is inscribed to that effect.

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HMS Hood bell

The Mary Rose Archaeological Services became involved due to the highly specialist expertise of the Mary Rose Trust conservators in the treatment of artefacts recovered from a marine environment. The National Museum of the Royal Navy were looking to prepare the HMS Hood Bell for display in the 36 Hours: Jutland 1916, The Battle That Won The War exhibition (now open to the public at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard). The bell has been installed as a memorial to the 1,415 men who lost their lives when the ship sank in 1941.

Now you can help create models of the HMS Hood bell before and after conservation!

Alastair Miles and Chiara Bonacchi

 

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‘I was made in the year 1510’

The Mary Rose Trust are very excited to be working with Micropasts again. This time, we will be working towards the production of a 3D model of the Mary Rose bell, one of the most iconic items to have been raised from the wreck site.

The bell recovered from the Mary Rose was one of the last items to be recovered from the wreck site (it was found under the ship below the starboard side). It was also the last item to be placed into the new Mary Rose Museum. At the Museum’s media launch in May 2013, the bell was processed into the museum by the ship’s company from the Navy’s latest Type 45 warship, HMS Duncan.

The bell was cast in bronze and metallurgy results showed it was made from copper (82%), tin (15%) and lead (1.7%). The Flemish inscription at the top reads ‘Ic ben ghegoten int yaer MCCCCCX’ which translates as ‘I was made in the year 1510’, the year that the Mary Rose was commissioned.

On board ships, the bell was used to signal the time, to mark the change of the watch and as a warning, particularly to other ships in fog.

The Mary Rose team

https://twitter.com/MaryRoseMuseum/status/674892263718305792/photo/1

 

 

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MicroPasts Knowledge Exchanges Workshops

Two back-to-back workshops were held on 23 September at the UCL Institute of Archaeology. The aim of the MicroPasts Knowledge Exchanges workshops was to share the practices, shortcomings and achievements experienced by the MicroPasts project and use these as fodder for wider discussion about the use and evaluation of both crowd-sourcing and crowd-funding within a broader heritage ‘ecology’.

Below is the programme, with links to videos of the presentations
Twitter discussion via #micropasts

 

Workshop 1 (morning)

Using crowd-based methods in a heritage ‘ecology’

08.45-09.10: Registration and coffee

09.10-09.20: Welcome

09.20-09.55: Presentation about the MicroPasts case study Chiara Bonacchi, UCL Institute of Archaeology

09.55-10.30: Discussion over Theme 1 – Crowd-sourcing and crowd-funding for Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums

Discussant 1: Adrian Babbidge, Egeria
Discussant 2: Dominic Tweddle, National Museum of the Royal Navy
Discussant 3: Luiza Sauma, Art Fund
Response from the floor

10.30-11.05: Discussion over Theme 2 – Crowd-sourcing and crowd-funding for heritage buildings and sites

Discussant 1: Ben Cowell, National trust and The Heritage Alliance
Discussant 2: Mark Webb, The Heritage Alliance, Giving to Heritage project
Discussant 3: Sally Crawford, University of Oxford, HEIR project
Response from the floor

11.05-11.20: Coffee Break

11.20-11.55: Discussion over Theme 3 – Crowd-sourcing and crowd-funding for universities and academic research in the humanities and social sciences

Discussant 1: Tim Causer, UCL Laws
Discussant 2: Jim O’Donnell, University of Oxford, Zooniverse project
Response from the floor

11.55-12.30: Discussion over Theme 4 – Funding policies for heritage crowd-sourcing and crowd-funding

Discussant 1: Hedley Swain, Arts Council England
Discussant 2: Mark Webb, The Heritage Alliance, Giving to Heritage project
Discussant 3: John Davies, Nesta
Response from the floor

12.30-13.00: Summary, final discussion and conclusion  

13.00-14.00: Lunch (provided)

 

 Workshop 2 (afternoon)

Evaluating heritage crowd-sourcing and crowd-funding

 14.00-14.50: Project-based presentations focussing on evaluation aims and methodologies

14.00-14.10: MicroPasts, Chiara Bonacchi, UCL Institute of Archaeology
14.10-14.20: Transcribe Bentham, Tim Causer, UCL Law
14.20-14.30: Smithsonian Transcription Centre, Meghan Ferriter, Smithsonian Institution
14.30-14.40: Zooniverse, Jim O’Donnell, University of Oxford
14.40-14.50: The Portable Antiquities Scheme, Daniel Pett, British Museum

14.50-15.30: Discussion over Theme 5 – Insights, measures, methods and ethical challenges in evaluative practices

Discussant 1: Stuart Dunn, King’s College London
Discussant 2: Mia Ridge, Open University
Discussant 3: James Doeser, Independent Consultant
Response from the floor

15.30-15.45: Coffee break

15.45-16.30: Summary, final discussion and conclusion

 

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The Mary Rose – MicroPasts Collaboration, Week 1

On Friday 22nd May, the Mary Rose Trust and MicroPasts teams launched a collaborative 3D photo-masking pilot project on the MicroPasts crowdsourcing platform. The aim is to create 3D models for three of the museum’s artefacts. We are really grateful to MicroPasts collaborators for helping complete 37% of the application already (as of 29th May)! It is exciting to see people engaging with the collection online, and it will be interesting to discover how the 3D models are viewed, downloaded and used, once developed.

With the project now underway, we would like to take the opportunity to provide some background information on the Mary Rose, the Museum and the artefacts included as part of this first pilot project with MicroPasts.

The Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard © Hufton+Crow

The Mary Rose was a Tudor warship that sank during a battle with an invading French fleet near Portsmouth, on the South coast of England, in 1545. The hull and her contents were covered (and preserved) by the silts of the Solent. They remained there until they were rediscovered in 1971. Following one of the largest maritime excavations ever undertaken, the hull was eventually raised on 11th October 1982.

Lower Deck walkway of the Context Gallery © Hufton+Crow

In May 2013 a new purpose built museum, that reunited the hull and thousands of her artefacts, was opened to the public. The hull, at the centre of this museum, is undergoing an air drying treatment. This is the final stage of her conservation, a process that has lasted over 30 years. In 2016, the air drying will be completed, the museum will be closed while the walls surrounding the hull are taken down and the museum will then be re-opened with amazing new views of the hull throughout the building.

The current MicroPasts 3D photo-masking pilot project is based around three of the artefacts that can be seen on display in the museum. These are:

Bone angels 

The bone plaque of two angels was identified as being similar to those made in the Northern Italian workshops of the Embriachi family who produced a variety of luxury objects such as mirrors, caskets and triptychs that incorporated a series of bone or ivory plaques with stained wood and horn.

Bone angel (81A2851) – © Mary Rose Trust

Wooden tankard with lid

The staved wooden tankard was one of the most complete tankards recovered during the excavations on the Mary Rose. It is interesting to note that oak, poplar, pine, beech and willow were all used in its construction. 

Wooden tankard (81A3915.1-11) - © Mary Rose Trust

Wooden tankard (2) (81A3915.1-11) – © Mary Rose Trust

 

Beech wooden bowl 

The beech wooden bowl is one of 30 recovered during the excavations and it has one of the more intricate set of markings on both the inside and outside. These are thought to denote its ownership.

Wooden bowl Beech with personal markings (82A1712) - © Mary Rose Trust

Wooden bowl Beech with personal markings (82A1712) – © Mary Rose Trust

The Mary Rose team

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MicroPasts Crowd-funding

Hello!

We’ve just launched the latest part of theMicroPasts project: a crowd-funding website. Have a look at https://crowdfunded.micropasts.org and see if you can help.

Through this website, it is possible to raise up to £5,000 to fund archaeological or historical research projects that have been developed and will be undertaken collaboratively by professionals with institutional links (e.g. working in universities, museums, libraries, etc.) and any volunteer group offline or online. We welcome project proposals from any team,who can be based anywhere in the world. The only kind of activity that we do not fund is excavation.

For more information on how this all works, please see https://crowdfunded.micropasts.org/how-it-works.

If you have a project in need of funding, you can submit a proposal online. We will review it and, if it fits the requirements, you will be able to start your fund-raising campaign.

If you have an idea for a project, but don’t know a ‘professional’ archaeologist or historian to partner with, please do post your idea on the MicroPasts community forum (http://community.micropasts.org) and we will try to help out.

Thank you!

Chiara, Andy, Dan and Adi
For MicroPasts