Monthly Archives: September 2013

Roman Pavement with 123D Catch

After the Gurob ship here’s my own attempt at 3D modelling – done during the Brown MOOC.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s part of a tesselated pavement from a 2nd century CE Roman building in Colchester. There’s a commentated movie version too, which I’ll try to add.

View it here:  123D Catch Commented Video

This was created in 123D Catch. Never did work out how to patch up the blank spots but it’s an OK example of how you can make something quite interesting with (relatively) simple tools.

Anyone for a wiki-museum?


Gurob Ship 3-d Model

The Gurob Ship is a small ship model excavated by assistants of W. M. F. Petrie in Gurob, Egypt, in 1920. Recently the model has been re-examined by Shelley Waschmann.

Wachsmann believes that the model offers evidence of the “sea peoples” and explains his analysis in “The Gurob Ship-Cart Model and Its Mediterranean Context“.  His “Seagoing Ships and Seamanship in the Bronze Age Levant” is one of my favorite books so I’m particulalrly interested by this new work, There’s a good summary/review  the Aegeus Society web site but at £55 I’ll try and find a library copy.

There is also a useful digital supplement that is freely available  at This is interesting because it uses a 3-d model to show the reconstructed model in a way that allows web viewers to exlore it in some detail. This was a technique we practiced in the Brown MOOC, so it’s interesting to see it in a real archaeological project.

Thoughts on ADLS

Well, the ADLS MOOC finished a while back and I’ve now had to time to give it some perspective.

Certainly it was fun and the large number of participants on the message boards contributed to that. The other students were also important contributors to the learning on the course. The mechanism of peer-review (having students review one-another’s exercises) exposed us to a range of ideas on the various topics being discussed.

The standard of lectures was certainly on a par with the standard on the courses at Oxford’s Department of Continuing Education and the involvement of staff in the on-line interaction with students was exceptional. Reading assignments – all accessible on-line – were varied and relevant.


Well, some of the message board threads got a bit unwieldy at times as they didn’t break down into sub-threads. Some of the students had problems with working with the Coursera platform but I didn’t experience any. There have been quibbles about the final scores given but in my case the results were in line with the work I had done and the scoring methods announced at tthe start f the course so I can’t really comment. My biggest criticism is certainly an unfair one – given that the course was only ever billed as an introduction to the range of topics that archaeology is concerned with – I’d have liked to see some (many?) of the topics covered in much more depth. Marking and commentary on exercises was variable – some of my peers took a lot of trouble in reviewing work but others did little more than give work a score.

There is an enthusiasm on the message boards for a follow up course and I would certainly consider taking another course from this team. There is also discussion of re-running this course at some future point: I would certainly recommend it to anyone looking for a introduction to archaeology or – like me – someone that has learned a bit from various sources and wants to put it all into a coherent framework.

Hvar Fortress Museum

I’ve been on my hols and had an excellent trip from Rome to Venice via some ports on the Dalmatian Coast. One place we dropped into was Hvar in Croatia.

In the fortress overlooking the town is a small but  informative museum exhibiting finds from local wrecks. They are later than my real areas of interest but the finds from Lastovo, Palkagruza and Cape Izmetišće wrecks were interesting. In particular the collection of 2nd century CE ceramics from the Cape Izmetišće underline the importance of maritime trade for bulk transport of goods – over 2500 pieces were recovered.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mainly for my own benefit I recorded the English museum captions and took a few (not very good) pictures: Hvar Museum Captions. I’ve not found other material about these wrecks on-line so posting them here might make them better known.

If this encourages you to go to Hvar, then terrific : it’s a lovely spot and while the climb up to the museum is hard work on a hot day the view from the top and the lemonade in the cafe are worth it!