Parishes without End, For Ever and Ever? Fyfield Take Two

Prof Peter Fowler, Director of the Fyfield and Overton Downs project, takes up where Damian Robinson left off in the last issue of ADS News.

Technology and the archival structure of the ADS has caught up with a need long perceived. It is a privilege to become a pioneer in electronic archaeological archiving.

The four ‘layers’ of the Fyfield archive work at different levels and for different constituencies. People may read layer 1 (‘pop’ book) for fun, and layer 2 (monograph) for interest and disagreement. Technology allows me and others to continue adding to the archive at layer 3 (digital archive), and to interrogate electronically large chunks of data and interpretation for alternative and probably better understandings. If you need to know what is in the primary archive (layer 4) dial up FWPs 61 and 89 (the boxed finds and paper archives).

This structure complements the traditional monograph by bedding it in a matrix of ideas and data. No value distinction is made between the four ‘layers’: the whole, not just the monograph, is the publication. It is unlikely we have it right first time, but experience will tell. Thousands of ‘hits’ on the site in its first year hint at a usage from which feedback will come.

Work continues. The project is ‘finished’; long live the project.

Prof Peter Fowler

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