Pompeii and the iPad: New Practices, New Philosophies

Presenter:  Steven Ellis, University of Cincinnati

This paper reviews the longue durée (of some four years or so) of using the iPad to record the excavations of one of the Mediterranean’s largest and most complex urban sites. In that time a striking number of developments – in software and hardware – have taken place. For a discipline that is so deeply rooted in the ‘traditional’ way of doing things, it is not just the new form of paperless recording that can register deep shockwaves to the archaeological recording system, but the very concept itself of rapid and ongoing changes in those paperless methodologies. So beyond tracking some of these developments and their proven and potential contributions, this paper is interested in the disciplinary-wide reception of paperless recording methods. This review thus turns its attention to the philosophies of digital recording methods and takes a critical approach to both traditional and paperless recording practices for (especially) large urban sites with very variable datasets.