On 21 June 2015, willing volunteers from the area around the Roman town of Venta Icenorum met at the Caistor Hall Hotel as part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Connected Communities Festival to develop ideas for a new tour of the archaeological site that could be accessed using smart phones and tablets.
The event was run by Dr Will Bowden from the Department of Archaeology and Dr Ben Bedwell (University of Nottingham Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute) in partnership with the Caistor Roman Project. It was sponsored by the AHRC and the Digital Economy Programme of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
The aim of the event was to involve the local community in developing new interpretations of the Roman town, based in part around The University of Nottingham’s long-running research project at the site. At the event participants were introduced to a range of new technologies developed by the Horizon Digital Economy Centre at The University of Nottingham to allow people to access location-based information through mobile devices.
Various ideas were trialled including a platform called Wander Anywhere which allows people to create simple location-based tours using the Word Press blogging platform and has been used in other projects in the School of Humanities. Experiments were also made with Aestheticodes which function in a similar way to QR codes; scanning images to link to further information.
The event was a great success and more than anything, the Connected Communities Festival event reminded organiser Will Bowden "it is people, both in the past and in the present, that are the real story of archaeological sites". The event allowed the project team to listen to many great ideas which will all contribute to the development of the technology behind creating an immersive tour of this Roman town.
Posted on Wednesday 1st July 2015