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BRITARCH  February 2011

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Subject:

Re: A Forum for discussing map "sightings"?

From:

Nick Boldrini <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

British archaeology discussion list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 24 Feb 2011 14:32:35 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Hi Mike 
 
this might be something CBA could help with, because it doesn't sound like a daft idea? Or even BAJR? 
 
The issues you mention are worth pondering, and not insoluble but on 3) I would say this is a false impression/distinction. Just because its "official" (by which I assume you mean run by CBA, EH, IFA or similar) doesn't mean it has to have an answer (by which I assume you mean an identification), because, personally, I think "We don't know what it is but it might be archaeology" is enough of an answer for the purposes of reporting it to your nearest HER. 
 
best wishes 
 
Nick Boldrini 
 
Historic Environment Record Officer 
Durham County Council 
Tel: 0191 3708840 
Fax: 0191 3708897 
 
-----Original Message----- 
From: British archaeology discussion list [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Mike Haseler 
Sent: 24 February 2011 10:32 
To: [log in to unmask] 
Subject: Re: [BRITARCH] A Forum for discussing map "sightings"? 
 
Nick, 
 
the overwhelming silence regarding a "sightings" website was actually 
welcome ... I was half way to getting a prototype map-based website up 
and running last night, and any more encouragement and I might have gone 
silly and bought a domain! 
 
But there are too many issues: 
 
1. Copyright of maps. The two examples 
(http://www.antoninewall.co.uk/example.gif and 
http://www.antoninewall.co.uk/example2.gif) I could justify for a few 
weeks as "academic", but there would be huge problems using images on a 
wide-ranging site. It would be easy to use google maps to locate points 
and have some form of forum to discuss each "sighting", but this would 
only give the latest image, that image would be subject to change 
without notice and there are many other potential sources of sightings 
other satellite image providers and including old maps. 
 
2.M D s: if sites did get identified, would they immediately become 
their target. 
 
3. Official vs. Amateur: An official site would have no end of hassle 
because it would be expected to provide answers - but it would be far 
simpler to arrange things like copyright agreements on images. On the 
other hand, an amateur site would not be considered "expert" and so 
wouldn't be criticised for not knowing what something is - but it would 
be far harder to arrange to display images with copyright issues. 
 
4. Website issues (not a problem so much as time) - multiple map/image 
formats, a custom website topology with one main page with 
sub-discussion. Possibly problems with "cluster" sightings where 
sightings need to be grouped together (e.g. hut circles in a village). 
urrrrghhh! 
 
Which kind of explains why there isn't a site 
 
On the positive side, I bet such a site would be a valuable asset to 
almost every archaeologist, because it would store geographically all 
possible sitings and encourage public participation in archaeology for 
armchair archaeologists -- without using M D s 
 
Mike 
 
On 23/02/2011 15:55, Nick Boldrini wrote: 
> Hi Mike 
> 
> sorry you haven't been replied to, but if you find anything in County Durham, let me know and I will reply ;) 
> 
> One tip for dealing with any sort of officialdom - they should all have target response times ie times within which you can expect a reply. Often on their websites, but not always easy to find. If you haven't heard back from them in that time, chase them and remind them of their response time targets. I know you shouldn't have to do that, but as a member of the tax paying public you should expect a reply, even if it’s a courteous "thanks but this is nowt" 
> 
> 
> best wishes 
> 
> Nick Boldrini 
> 
> Historic Environment Record Officer 
> Durham County Council 
> Tel: 0191 3708840 
> Fax: 0191 3708897 
> 
> 
> 
> -----Original Message----- 
> From: British archaeology discussion list [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Mike Haseler 
> Sent: 23 February 2011 11:25 
> To: [log in to unmask] 
> Subject: Re: [BRITARCH] A Forum for discussing map "sightings"? 
> 
> On 23/02/2011 08:05, Nick Boldrini wrote: 
>> Hi Mike 
>> 
>> you might save yourself a lot of time by just asking the local HER - unless its just the thrill of the chase you are after? 
>> 
>> However, there's also another reason to report your UFOs to the HER - so they can be aware of them and tell the next person to spot them what they are if they ask. 
>> 
> Nick, 
> 
> I think I visibly sank in despair when I read the reply, because whilst 
> I support the sentiment, it just doesn't match reality. So, I've tried 
> to provide some background information. First I've quickly created a 
> couple of "UFO" sightings (Unidentified Field Objects - intentionally 
> the same as UFO - because most sightings are not what they appear). Then 
> I've tried to explain why the average member of the public is unlikely 
> to report these sightings using examples from my own experience. 
> 
> First the examples. I've copied a couple of pages from google maps 
> (http://www.antoninewall.co.uk/example.gif)& 
> (http://www.antoninewall.co.uk/example.gif) for reference both are on 
> the Antonine wall. On the first the wall goes across the top of the 
> image (and it happens to be about a mile from my house so it drives me 
> crazy trying to work out what is going on). The location is farmland, 
> which tends to show geological features, but also has known archaeology. 
> example1, is another location, the square site at the top of the image 
> is not in Canmore, it could be Roman, but "appears" to be something to 
> do with the canal. I have also marked two gaps in the ditch, the first, 
> I recall is mentioned as a possible site of a fortlet, the other is 
> unknown - but I've not reported this (see below). 
> 
> Now if I were a member of the public, which of these possible UFOs 
> "Unidentified Field Objects" should I refer to the county archaeologist? 
> 
> *(N.B. there is method in my madness - I've been looking along the wall 
> because I'm planning the route for another dawn-dusk 42mile walk along 
> the Antonine wall on June 25th starting Bo'ness at 4.30am - and if 
> anyone wants to join us just email me for details) 
> * 
> THE VIEW FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FENCE 
> 
> I think there is a lack of understanding of what it is really like to be 
> a member of the public finding these UFOs. First they do "feel" like 
> UFOs and you think you will be treated like someone spotting UFOs. 
> Second it is incredibly difficult to find who to talk to (using the 
> internet - search "possible roman fort" or "who do I report a possible 
> roman fort"). There is no community of "map searchers" to whom to turn - 
> there is therefore no repository of information as to what to do if you 
> do find something. Even if you do work out to contact the county 
> archaeologist, I have to say that isn't exactly easy: E.g. on the two 
> above examples,  the first is in East Dunbartonshire - who never used to 
> have a county archaeologists, the other -I'm not sure which county it is 
> in, but I guess Falkirk, North Lanarkshire or Stirling. 
> 
> Also, if my own experience is anything to go by, I doubt many people 
> would want to report these UFOs to archaeological "officialdom". 
> 
> I have found several candidates for sites in Gloucestershire. I tried 
> reporting one - since which I've heard nothing. Amongst other candidates 
> I did find a good candidate for a fortlet and searched out someone to 
> inform who was directly involved with the wall and would have an 
> interest (and not see it as just more work), but since then I have heard 
> absolutely nothing back. 
> 
> I don't know what has happened to any of the information I gave. Without 
> exaggerating too much, I imagine that they are just too polite to tell 
> me what they really thought! They certainly didn't encourage me to 
> report any further UFOs. And, if they did take my reports seriously, 
> then given the lack of any feedback it seems highly unlikely that if the 
> site were ever dug and a fortlet located, that I wouldn't receive 
> recognition. 
> 
> All I wanted to know was: "is it a likely site". Having contacted 
> "officialdom", I'm no further further in answering that question, and 
> have since not bothered to report possible sites. 
> 
> THE PROBLEM 
> 
> The real problem of course, is archaeologists can't cope with the number 
> of sites that are already known, let alone cope with a mass of "UFOs" - 
> and to be honest, I don't think the average member of the public expects 
> archaeologists to chase UFOs! Locating sites is easy, doing anything 
> with that information is the difficult part, and I just thought there 
> would be a lot of armchair archaeologists out there who would be willing 
> to filter the UFOs to PFOs (possible field objects) at which point it 
> would be worth informing officialdom (although I still doubt they would 
> reply(wink!)) 
> 
> Mike 
>> ON HER's I have worked on there have often been sites which are recorded specifically because they are NOT archaeology. That doesn't mean the HER will definitely record your site, but give them the option at least. 
>> 
>> -----Original Message----- 
>> From: British archaeology discussion list [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Mike Haseler 
>> Sent: 22 February 2011 13:04 
>> To: [log in to unmask] 
>> Subject: Re: [BRITARCH] A Forum for discussing map "sightings"? 
>> 
>> Peter, 
>> 
>> The last thing any county archaeologist is going to want, is to be 
>> inundated with possible UFO sightings (Unidentified field observations) 
>> - that's why I wondered about the website - because once in a while one 
>> of these sighting might just be real and not already recorded - and I 
>> presume there must be other people like me who in their spare time go 
>> treasure hunting on google maps. 
>> 
>> In my time I have seen henges, causewayed enclosures, Roman roads going 
>> on for tens of miles. Fortunately, I know enough about image processing 
>> and psychological tricks of the mind to know most isn't worth investigating. 
>> 
>> These days I'm pretty professional in my approach: 
>> 
>> - check the site using maps, old maps, various dates from google image 
>> - check Canmore 
>> - go and visit the site to confirm that it isn't something simple and/or 
>> the site is the right type of site (it goes up where it should go up and 
>> not down!!) 
>> 
>> But, take my latest "find". It is a potential Roman camp with ditches, 
>> road and a rational for its location. Even so, I'd give it much less 
>> than evens chance of being a Roman fort. It's not exactly at the stage 
>> of reporting to anyone ... a nice trip into the country for the fun of 
>> it, but not an official report! 
>> 
>> as an aside, what's the latin for UFO??? 
>> 
>> Mike 
>> 
>> 
>> On 22/02/2011 12:49, McCrone, Peter (NE) wrote: 
>>> Normally if I see something I drop an e-mail to the relevant county HER. 
>>> 
>>> -----Original Message----- 
>>> From: British archaeology discussion list [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Mike Haseler 
>>> Sent: 22 February 2011 12:07 
>>> To: [log in to unmask] 
>>> Subject: [BRITARCH] A henge on Skye? ->    A Forum for discussing map "sightings"? 
>>> 
>>> Just for interest, (as I often spot things on google - and you can't 
>>> exactly report a "UFO" (unidentified field observation) 
>>> 
>>> ... is there such a thing as a "possible site location" website anywhere 
>>> in the UK? Where you can post such UFO sightings? 
>>> 
>>> What I'm thinking is a site where people post possible locations and 
>>> then others can comment (usually to explain why it isn't) 
>>> 
>>> Mike 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> On 22/02/2011 09:27, Andy Burnham wrote: 
>>>> Hello Phil, RCAHMS have it listed as an enclosure: 
>>>> 
>>>> If you have any photos of prehistoric sites on Mull or elsewhere we 
>>>> would be very pleased to receive them. 
>>>> Cheers, 
>>>> Andy 
>> -- 
>> scotjury.co.uk<http://www.scotjury.co.uk> 
>> 
>> 
>> Help protect our environment by only printing this email if absolutely necessary. The information it contains and any files transmitted with it are confidential and are only intended for the person or organisation to whom it is addressed. It may be unlawful for you to use, share or copy the information, if you are not authorised to do so. If you receive this email by mistake, please inform the person who sent it at the above address and then delete the email from your system. Durham County Council takes reasonable precautions to ensure that its emails are virus free. However, we do not accept responsibility for any losses incurred as a result of viruses we might transmit and recommend that you should use your own virus checking procedures. 
> 
> -- 
> scotjury.co.uk<http://www.scotjury.co.uk> 
> 
> 
> Help protect our environment by only printing this email if absolutely necessary. The information it contains and any files transmitted with it are confidential and are only intended for the person or organisation to whom it is addressed. It may be unlawful for you to use, share or copy the information, if you are not authorised to do so. If you receive this email by mistake, please inform the person who sent it at the above address and then delete the email from your system. Durham County Council takes reasonable precautions to ensure that its emails are virus free. However, we do not accept responsibility for any losses incurred as a result of viruses we might transmit and recommend that you should use your own virus checking procedures. 
 
 
-- 
scotjury.co.uk <http://www.scotjury.co.uk> 
 
 
Help protect our environment by only printing this email if absolutely necessary. The information it contains and any files transmitted with it are confidential and are only intended for the person or organisation to whom it is addressed. It may be unlawful for you to use, share or copy the information, if you are not authorised to do so. If you receive this email by mistake, please inform the person who sent it at the above address and then delete the email from your system. Durham County Council takes reasonable precautions to ensure that its emails are virus free. However, we do not accept responsibility for any losses incurred as a result of viruses we might transmit and recommend that you should use your own virus checking procedures. 

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