Visitors and apps: ever the twain shall meet?

Whilst it may well be quiet on the excavation front, work has been going on in the form of two visitor surveys. Although the surveys have collected a lot of useful data about visitors to Arbor Low, their visiting patterns and their interest in visiting archaeological sites in general, there was another side to the surveys – gauging the potential for the use of a QR code around the Peak District which would help visitors find this blog and of course Arbor Low.

The full details of the first of the visitor surveys can be downloaded now, and the second is, as they say ‘in press’! In the first survey 80% of visitors to Arbor Low had a smartphone or tablet, and a similar proportion of visitors said they would have liked more information about the site while they were walking around it. Curiously, the two groups were not the same people, but hence the interest in publicising a QR code!  In the light of this we field-tested a QR code with visitors during a second survey, and the results were disappointing. While 85% of visitors had smartphones or tablets just 5% of these had a QR code reader already installed. There were further problems for those lucky few with a QR code reader, with reception/connection to the web being described as “patchy” at best. Of course, the problem of connecting to the web in rural locations is nothing new, what is concerning is the visitors perception of QR codes and their use. For many such codes were little more than yet another means of advertisers intruding into their lives, or that the code accessed a site which simply repeated something they had already seen. Implicit in this is that none of the visitors were aware of the use of both ‘apps’ and QR codes by a range of heritage organisations such as EH and NT which provide varying amounts of information on sites.

The question for these organisations is what degree of market penetration is there? It may be true that online provision of information at some sites such as Stonehenge, which now has an interactive may on-line (http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/stonehenge/discover/map/), may well prove popular should word of its existence get out. We here at ALEP would love to hear from you if you use it. is it what you would expect? How useful is it? Did you use it on site and if so what was reception like? In short, how was it for you?

We are always interested to hear from you how heritage is accessed both in the real and virtual worlds. If you want to read more on this, down load the visitor survey, have a read, then get in touch! The next instalment will be out soon with more interesting findings – until then its bye for now!

 

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All quiet?

October, thought to be a quiet, off-peak kind of month. Not true here on the project. A nice quiet day here in the Peak District – so we’re off to carry on with the visitor survey. We’ve been surveying visitors since early August to get a handle on such mundane items as how they got here, to the more typical how many visits they’ve made to the site, to how important they think history is. We have to say there are some interesting answers and the dataset is throwing up a few surprises so far.

Also on the survey front, we are going to be doing some more geophysical surveys nearby, to build up our understanding of what might lie beneath some of the humps and bumps that we’ve noticed as we walk around the area. We might look like we’re just out for a stroll, but some keen observations are being which are helping us formulate further hypotheses about the land around the henge. We can’t say to much at the moment but we are looking forward with some excitement to this next wave of surveys and hope it is as productive as the last!

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Update on fieldwork

It is with much regret we have to announce the cancellation of this year’s fieldwork. As you will know all our dates were pushed back by a month and this now means that we do not have access to a range of equipment we had booked for the original dates. In addition to this, the funding we were offered and have been waiting for has not yet materialised. This essentially leaves us with no resources to do justice to the hoped for archaeology. Or put another way, up a certain creek without any means of propulsion. We are hoping to get back on track next year and, learning from the bad weather, are looking at a mid July 2014.

 

Many thanks for your interest and support, and we hope to bring you more news as soon as we can.

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Pottery from test-pitting

Here is the only piece of pottery found during test-pitting last year. As you’ll see it is quite fresh and has a twisted-cord decoration. It has been seen by Dr Rick Peterson of UCLAN who believes that it is a piece of Peterborough ware dating to c3600-2900 calBC. This was also the only diagnostic artefact found during the test-pitting.
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Visit from the Time Travellers

Visit from the Time Travellers

The project recently had a visit from a group of intrepid Time Travellers who came all the way from . . . Sheffield! Not Time Time Travellers in the H G Wells sense, but a group of hardy, interested individuals fired up with enthusiasm for archaeology and the Arbor Low Environs Project. Dr Ian Parker Heath gave the group a tour around the henge and Gib Hill and outlined the future work planned for the project. The group are always on the lookout for more members – so if you live in the Sheffield area and are interested check out their web site: http://www.thetimetravellers.org.uk

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