A key element of this excavation is our intention to maximise the use of modern camera technology to record as much as possible of the process. Of course imagery has long been a staple element of archaeological investigations, but more often than not they are staged images at a particular point in the excavation for the report and the archive.
Until recently because of the expense the only alternative to still images was relatively low quality video recording, however recording 10 days of excavation, some 70 hours of video in total, especially with the excavating process making a can of Dulux Brilliant White drying on the wall exciting, would drive the average teetotaller to reach for the sauce.
We decided to utilise three elements, 1080p High Definition wide angle lens sports cameras, 1080p High definition digital single lens reflex cameras(DSLR), and fixed lens devices such as phones and tablets.
In order to record the excavation using a method that made it watchable and usable, instead of recording standard video at 30 frames a second , which would use horrendous amounts of storage and be totally impractical, we decided to use time lapse extensively at the rate of 1 frame every 5 second. Time lapse unlike video is actually a series on individual high definition images, each of these images in their own right can be accessed in exactly the same way as a standard DLSR camera image. This method gives us 25000 HD images per day some 250000 over the course of our 10 day excavation.
The final element is the use of a 7m mast to hang the camera on, this gives us the benefit of effectively low level aerial photography.
During the course of the excavation we have positioned the 7m mast to record the whole excavation of Trench 1 in time lapse, and are currently recording the excavation of Trench 4 in time lapse.
The results so far have been very encouraging features that were not seen on the ground after cleaning down the trench are clear in our overhead.
The following image shows the ditch we found on opening up Trench 3, but more importantly is shows two sides of a rectangular feature with an internal division, and also shows a curved feature. The most interesting element is that 3 phases of activity in the trench are clearly visible as the rectangular feature cuts through the curved feature and the dark ditch cuts through the rectangular feature.