CAA Tübingen (13-19 March, 2018)

Archaeological Documentaries from Scratch - Recording and Presentation of a research project

Till F. Sonnemann, University of Bamberg

The visual documentation of an archaeological research project is often not included in the project proposal’s finances. Data collection is focussed on, and mostly limited to, academic research. However, there is an urge by publicly backed projects to reflect and present the outcome, to address the non-scientific audience, and raising interest in the topic. The costs often prevent the archaeologists working with professional media specialists. In the here presented case of documenting archaeological surveys of the project, data collection started, as so often randomly, with drone video shots, recorded for 3D-photogrammetry in 2014. Together with additional video recordings a set of short narrated videos were produced. The positive response from local screenings led to more sophisticated short films, new scripting and recording of footage, and interviews with team members and local stakeholders. A sensitive subject for filmmakers were topics such as looting or development threatening archaeological sites, raising questions regarding personal rights and source protection. A next step is to organize a seminar in which archaeology and communication students will together create short video clips on particular topics in archaeology. Questions to discuss in the talk are: Whom are we addressing with this video? What is the story we want to tell, and how can we achieve this? What should we record? What software provides the needed functions? What platforms are useful to give the public access to these stories? How can we reach a larger audience? What rights and laws need to be considered when presenting the film online?

Poster: Stories from the Crypt - Australian Colonial Cemeteries according to GPR

Till F. Sonnemann

To identify unmarked graves for local heritage organizations and councils, a number of GPR surveys were conducted over several colonial cemeteries in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. The radargrams show different types of burials as they were dug according to the soil: from coastal sand, to the famous red desert soil and bed rock. From the results it is possible to draw conclusions on the challenging job of the undertaker in these extreme environments: quickly dug low lying burials, possibly to prevent the spread of diseases after disasters, to holes blasted into bed rock using dynamite. The GPR surveys were already conducted in the years 2008-2012, but the data was never presented to an academic audience. The poster includes short introductions on the purpose of the cemeteries in the 19th century: fortune seekers, gold miners and ship wreckers. Aside from soil and grave information, the subsurface radar data and time slices presents together with the distribution of gum tree roots a multi-layered mix of natural and human underworld, a palimpsest of Australian colonial cemeteries.