Digital Techniques

I think the Hidalgo County Public Cemetery Project could move towards more collaborative, co-creative or hosted methods of engagement by reaching out to other departments and programs in the university and exploring realms of public archaeology that overlap with Majors outside of Anthropology and outside of the social sciences. For example, computer science Majors can be invited to collaborate on the project. We can invite them to assist in making improvements to our data collection form, analyzing some of the data, or making improvements to our website use. Outside of the University, we can find institutions like museums and galleries to display, perhaps, a collection of models developed from 3D scanning. We can also compile our work at the cemetery for presentation at symposiums via multimedia presentations, etc.

The benefits of 3D technology in a public archaeology project are the ability to interpret or analyze data away from the site, the ability to share the data in a very visual and navigable way, and the ability to restore/reconstruct artifacts digitally without having to manipulate what could be organic or fragile material. For example, a 3D scan of an unidentifiable or illegible marker at the HCPC could provide a clearer reading of inscription that may be hard to pick up to the naked eye. Furthermore, having 3D scans of the cemetery can help us reach a wider audience online via interactive websites or visuals. This can help us reach people who may not even be in the area but would like to help or participate in the project anyway.

The pitfalls of 3D scans are that there is a potential for error in scanning, and its limitations in helping lie in the area you are actually able to scan. Surrounding material and matrix composition does not show up in a 3D scan. Despite these limitations, I still think 3D scanning should be integrated into the project by means of creating 3D models and providing an opportunity for digital restoration.

Digital Techniques

As time inevitably progresses so  does the technology that governs most of our lives. Technology can be seen as a new organism introduced to our human environment, when introduced people must adapt to it or perish by it, however in doing so astonishing things can be accomplished if technology can be used in the correct manner. on the other hand when it comes to introducing new forms of technology into archaeology.  “some forms of digital engagement that rely strongly on voluntarism and on the donation of time, skills and knowledge in support of activities proposed by archaeological organisations have been criticised as exploiting free labour and contributing to neo-liberalist economies (Perry and Beale 2015). The outcomes of heritage crowdsourcing practices (see case study 5.1) have also been critiqued for affirming ‘truths’ constructed by majorities, and often excluding the alternative views of minorities (e.g. Harrison 2010). Furthermore, open geographic information can pose ethical challenges related to its potential use by looters to feed illicit trades of antiquities (Bevan 2012), and citizens taking part in heritage monitoring via web or mobile crowdsourcing (e.g. Cultural Heritage Monitor) may incur risks to their personal security.” meaning that a lot of work requires time and vast amount of people that can and are able to help in a certain project, but as archaeologist we do not want to follow or seem like neo-liberals who will exploit volunteers or privatize the archaeological project. As far as crowdsourcing goes it is a great way to connect with people without even meeting them in person, and it is an excellent way of recruiting paid or unpaid volunteers, however there are ethical issues involved in which the volunteers personal information may be violated. it seems with new technology comes new and more strict responsibilities, responsibilities to protect he people and to protect the archaeological project.

For one I personally believe that technology when used correctly can be of great help to the field of archaeology, instead of using ground penetrating radar, heat sensing cameras, or drones for military purposes. we can use them to better understand our selves in the past. Instead of using artificial intelligence to turn on our lights and regulate our air conditioning system, archaeologist can be using artificial intelligence to reconstruct decaying historical monumental building that may never be seems again, but with the use of technology can be saved into a hard drive or USB. Technology can be our savior when it comes to preserving human history, but it can also be our peril as it is much more evident to this day. then comes the funding for these technologies, who will be interested it digitally resurrecting a 5,000 year old building? Money should be set aside from the federal government for the sciences and social sciences such as anthropology, archaeology and sociology alike. 3D technology should be implemented into our cemetery project as long as there is a budget for the technology because. this cemetery may seize to exist in the near future, furthermore there are many graves without headstones, in digitally creating a headstone for the individual that was to humble to afford a headstone we are commemorating and and righteously honoring the dead.


“Key Concepts in Public Archaeology.” UCLPRESS,

Digital techniques for public engagement

The two digital techniques for public engagement include broadcasting and participatory as described by Bonacchi. The one we currently use for the purpose of this project and open communication for students, involves a broadcast approach. It can be described as a way for students to share opinions and information for the interest of the public.

The means of broadcast are beneficial because it can provide a very detailed amount of information that is open for others to comment and discuss. It’s a great way to mention what the project is about. How the Hidalgo county has teamed up with UTRGV for students to be able to learn about public archaeology and work directly at a sight. It provides the name and course number for anyone interested in signing up as a class. Along with the project name and course description, the web page provides an outline of the cemetery. A historical approach to how the cemetery became to be, its previous affiliation and current status. There is also a map to pin point its exact location, to which you can zoom in and view better.

Other than its introduction and history, this is the page to view students thoughts and reflections on key concepts and themes that are learned each week. Its a medium for us to communicate but also to share for the world to see. This would also be a great place to post pictures of daily activities and interesting discoveries at the cemetery. This can include objects or unique grave sites that are unlike any others. Pictures of students from every semester, community partners, tools and equipment used for data collection. Sometimes a photo alone can demonstrate a lot to the public who may not be as inclined to read. It can also help with people who don’t speak/understand English, to share some things in Spanish as well. I was a little surprised to not find a bilingual source and much more photos to share the work at the cemetery.

How might the project move towards more collaborative, co-creative, or hosted methods of engagement?

Volunteering would be a form of contributory participation to build and complete data collection. What was started gives interest to students, teachers, family and the rest of the community who might like to help out in this way. Especially through data collection because it is more simple to complete and understand, rather than having to explain a lot. A fast and simple introduction to kobo toolbox would be very efficient. I think it would be a bit more difficult to encourage the public to be more collaborative in terms of organizing data through software and open access, unless there was high interest or if they are a direct community partner.
By hosting events and sharing the project from news sources, articles, blogs, we could organize gatherings or meetings for the community to be involved. They can give their thoughts and ideas that may benefit the project in a way for them to be co-creative and participate.

What benefits can 3D technology provide to a public archaeology project, and what are the potential pitfalls? Should we integrate 3D technology into our project, and if so, how?

I am personally not a big fan of 3D, but the beauty of technology is that it is ever changing and improving. 3D technology in particular, can present an enhancing experience since we live in a world where it is being incorporated more. It may be more time consuming, but once the data begins to be organized better, I believe it can add a nice detail for the project. Even if it’s only a few photos to share.

Digital Techniques

The HCPC project is already part collaborative since they also mention that it is somewhat like a community/public archaeology project. So, it might need to be more open and accessible to the public but that mostly deals with getting information out there. The ways that this project can be more co-creative would be to get the people of the project more involved in the actual creation and planning of the activities of the project since everyone is supposed to be involved and helping. I think the project is already seeing way that it can move in that direction. For example, for the Día de los Muertos celebration the students of the class were volunteering ideas on what activities should be involved and if it does continue as is planned then the students are having ideas on who should be contacted to be part of it. For the project to move towards a more hosted method the public and school would have to be more involved than they are right now. A hosted method means that an institution must provide knowledge and planning on the project and then that it is worked on and completed by the public. Currently the project isn’t being worked on by the public, but it is being provided by an institution.

Digital techniques


I think this project is a great way not only for students to gain experience but a great way to interact with the community and with their help I think this project would be able to be more beneficial not only to the county, but to the families who don’t know where some of their loved one s are buried. I think some collaborative ways to get the community involved could be getting more news stations to talk about the project or have someone of importance in the community come out and see what were doing and then spread the word. Maybe having events out at the cemetery ,such as having musicians come and play for people visiting loved ones on the day of the dead or maybe buying bags of marigold petals and leaving a trail of them on the graves to the main street.It could be a way to get peoples attention and remind them that we need to preserve this historic cemetery. Other methods could be interviewing people and we could use the oral histories to research more background on the cemetery. Its also a way for people to know what exactly were doing at the cemetery and a way to also show them that their loved ones haven’t been forgotten about. Our overall goal is to make an interactive map that will allow the public to search for graves that might belong to their loved ones.All they would have to do is click on a grave,that looks like the area where there loved one wold be and it would show a picture of it and have information about it such as, how long it is and whats its made out of, which way its facing and as much information that we were able to collect from that grave.

I think there could be a lot of benefits to 3D technology, for sure it would help us understand just how many people are buried  in the cemetery since were going off incomplete records form Hill crest cemetery, which inst their fault of course but it would be a big help if we had an idea of just how many people were researching. I think one of the major pitfalls to 3D scanning could be time, since the data is a a lot of work to go through and it would take most likely more than one semester for all the data to be looked at since we only meet once a week. One way we should integrate this technology into our project is by using some options our professor gave. We could have a group of people at the cemetery with professor Rowe on Fridays ,who would do the 3D scans and then have people on campus working on the scans or the data that needs to be combed through and analyzed. Overall I think this project it going to take a lot of time and work as well as a lot of patience since the equipment we use may take a while to set up and if we only have one machine then it will take a bit longer.But its an experience that not only helps us as students but helps the community as well.

Digital Techniques

We used a lot of digital techniques at the pauper cemetery. HCPCP used collaborative participation, by making the site public and encouraging help from people who might have information. We made the blog that is for public access on what we are doing. The project has used 3D scanning but not in the field. With 3D scanning you can recreate what a site might have looked like before it broken or got the weeds overgrown on it. We used our phones to record the data and take pictures of the grave site. We tried to be as open about the project with community as possible. We wanted to use crowd sourcing as much as possible to learn who was buried at the site and to help make the entries of the site as detailed as possible.

The use of digital technology has new ethical issues. It is a great way for public participation, however there is not much to tell collaborate with what someone tells us. It also relies on voluntarism from the public for our information. It has been criticized as free labor and contributing to neo-liberalist economies. But using digital technology made collecting the data easy as all we had to do was input it into our phones. The complication was if the phone died as it used a lot of the battery, there was no place to charge your phone if it died in the process of recording. The cell phones also relied on signal to use which is not always reliable in the middle of a cemetery.

Digital Techniques in Public Archeology

The Hidalgo Country Pauper Cemetery Project right now has taken the broadcast approach however if we get more of the community involved with the collection of data it will shift to the participatory approach. The broadcasting approach is one-way which makes it difficult to get feedback and the participatory requires the help of the community. The project is being conducted by university students many who will become professionals in anthropology and archeology but in order for it to be participatory there needs to be participation form the public. With the use of technology rather than having the “professional” or the “amateur” there will be more of an importance on the skills and knowledge in that certain area and use of technology. There may be a barrier that will prevent the use of technology and that is the funds to acquire some of this technology.
In order to move towards a more collaborative, co-creative, or hosted methods of engagement we would have to maybe find other ways to lessen the barrier in the broadcasting of our information. We are using blogs right now but maybe we could expand that and include other forms of media and websites to not only broadcast but create an inclusive interpretation of the data and encourage people to participate. As we get community members to participate with the collection of the data we must take into account what programs we use and how that will change the dynamics between the people involved. There must be other types of technologies that could be incorporated with the project that would allow us to gather more data for interpretation.
The benefits of 3D technology provide to a public archeology project is what we cannot see above the surface, allowing us to see what lies beneath. The 3D technology also is a form of mapping out the individual graves and their proximity to one another. There was a disadvantage in using technology in the case of recording the data using our phones was complicated somewhat when there was no internet connection and the system did not register our input. When recording data whether it be on a machine or paper we must be careful not to lose it. In class, we were taught how the 3D scanner worked but the process was time consuming and slow moving as it required steady hands to operate. The 3D imaging would have made a big difference in how the project would have gone, giving us more information that we would not have been able to gather otherwise. The pitfall of using 3D imaging would be that there will not always be accurate because there might be some interference that will change our perception of the 3D image. There is another downside of using certain technology and that is that not everyone knows how to use it. There are advantages though with a 3D view we would be able to recreate some of the missing parts and get a general idea of what the entirety looks like.


Archaeological Representation Through New Digital Techniques

This blog post is in regards to the newest form of public engagement in archaeology through digital techniques. Articles referenced will be to Kevin Garstki’s ‘Virtual Representation: the Production of 3D Digital Artifacts‘ and Chiara Bonacchi’s chapter on ‘Digital media in public archaeology’.

Acknowledging that society today has evolved rapidly in the advancement of technology for many reasons such as communication, representation, storage facilitation, and most importantly the consistency to live with the guidance of web knowledge. In the recent decades, a new theme has emerged in the analytical and representation of archaeological finding through this form of technology via web interactivity. Archaeologists today are choosing to communicate with other peers and large audiences through web layouts that allow them to present research, analysis, and advocate new  knowledge for the purpose of networking.

As shown, this very website is a product of this modern form of communal engagement focused to reach out and educate those affected by the Hidalgo County Pauper Cemetery Project directly. By communicating and sharing ideas on how to approach this project in collaborative measures allows you, the reader, as well as the team members of this project to stay engaged and relative to the initiatives we must take in performing this research and community development.

Another component to digital technique as mentioned by Dr. Rowe is 3D representation of artifacts. This modern form of visual representation is, in my opinion, pivotal to the community of archaeology as well as to the world. Photographs were, for the longest time, our best form of visual representation of artifacts; next to video recording. So, why is there doubt in regards to this new form of recording data (i.e. archaeological remain)?

As stated by Garstki, the record of photographs are limited when realizing that a photograph in barred with a single viewpoint that in dictated by the photographer. Also, the quality of the photograph can also alter the experience even more for the viewer when analyzing this form of archaeological record. Do 3D models inquire the same issues as photographs? No. But that does not mean 3D models unveil complete accuracy to the archaeological record. The model is captured through a mechanism that can be compared to that of a camera, cycling around the target to digitally capture its every angle. Elements of movement, lighting, and also quality involving the mechanism capturing the 3D model can dictate the accuracy of the model portrayed onto the website for the viewer to analyze.

I believe the project should involve 3D models of the graves we are collecting data from to give the community a better look onto the conditions of these grave site burials. The site we initially began recording data from located on a website provided as a data base for graves in Texas. This site listed each grave noting details and descriptions crucial for the analysis of this project but the photographs provided which in many cases were just a front-faced photo of the headstone/marker was limiting. After going on site to the cemetery and manually entering in grave descriptions for each of these graves has lead me to believe that 3D scans of these graves is necessary for the sake of representation and delivery of research onto the community in order for the accuracy to truly deliver.

3D scans may contain some inaccuracies but when compared to our latest form of visual representation (photography), it appears to take it at least one step closer to better interpretation.

“mimetic fidelity……archaeology’s consistent adoption of new media is directly tied to how well it can “mimic” what it is trying to represent” (pg.727Garstki)



Digital Techniques

As a class we have set the first of many stepping stones for this project. Within these few months we have been collaborative and co-creative. Yet the question of how can we move towards more collaborative, co-creative, or hosted methods of engagement still arises almost each time we have met. Our class has contemplated and have executed our own ideas up to this point. By working together we have placed close to 1,000 small flags. These flags were a small but important step in this project. With each flag number from 1-1000 they helped conceptualize how massive this project truly is. With each visible headstone accounted for, we then used the flag number as reference number per grave. By using the digital techniques our class can gather data efficiently, with the help from the flags we can see what graves have had their data collected as well as finding similarities between the graves. Another way our class has embraced digital techniques, is allowing us to display our thoughts via blog thus,creating a open space where the public can understand and visualize what is our inspiration for this project. As we gather our data we can compare it to similar projects and use their form of data collection or use what information fitting towards our project. For example, one goal we have is to map the Hidalgo County Public Cemetery just as The Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC) Historic Cemetery has been mapped. Making it easier for the public who would like to find their family members graves or for further research that can be conducted within our findings. As the project progress we will more collaborative and co-creative once more of the public become aware of it. We will search for ways to become more engaged with the public, I believe opportunities will present themselves in given time. Dia De Los Muertos is a great example of how opportunities may arise in regards to engage the public.

With the Hidalgo County Public Cemetery project having many graves using 3D representation may sound like a tedious task.  What benefits would 3D models provide for this project? It be possible for us to use 3D models when talking to the public. Having 3D models of headstones we may be able to get information of previous repairs of headstones, or if a headstone were damaged we could possibly recreate a non damaged headstone to show the public the importance of caring for cemetery has a whole. As we collected data there were a few graves which had trees or shrubs planted near or directly upon the graves. While a small managed plants will not do much harm, a large unattended tree can become devastating to headstones or graves. Other ways a 3D models could further push this project forward is also show how to clean a headstone, if you should use soap with a sponge or should it be cleaned with a small dry brush.

We are now close to the end of the first class to take part in this project, I am very pleased to see how far our class has come in data collecting and also in our creative thoughts of where this project will lead other students and the public and are excited to see where and what other techniques this project will incorporate in given time.     

Digital Techniques in Public Archaeology

Technology comes in many forms, it can be something as simple as a hammer to a phone. As time has passed, the technology that we use has gotten more advanced and in in some cases complicated to use. However, after some time working with the piece of technology, we can gain a better understanding of all the little nuances that come with working the piece. This can also be said in terms of our project at the Hidalgo County Public Cemetery, the people who have family buried there for the most part do not know what it is that we are doing, much like I have no idea how to use Photoshop, and so it is then up to us as the research participants to help them understand what we are doing. The first step to this would be finding a way to contact family members of the deceased, after making that first contact, we should try to establish an open line of communication so that we can work with them and try to find out more about the cemetery and their loved ones. Once we do have an open line of communication with them, we can start to have a more cohesive working environment for the project.

As I stated before, working with any type of technology will have it’s ups and downs, however, that really should not hold too much weight as to whether or not we should work with a piece of technology. So, being able to use technology in the field has been a revolutionary idea. Kevin Garstki writes how the use of photography was revolutionary in the field of Archaeology, and the use of new 3D technologies in Archaeology would be equally as useful. The use of 3D technology specifically in this class would be useful because it would further allow for people to really see the what exactly the land looks like, and would thus give not only the public a better understanding and view of the project, but also would help us keep track of the progress of the project.