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Durham University

Department of English Studies


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Publication details for Professor Claire Warwick

Terras, M., Warwick, C. & Fisher, C. (2010), Integrating New Technologies into Established Systems: a case study from Roman Silchester, 37th Annual Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology Conference. Williamsburg, Virginia, USA.

Author(s) from Durham


Introducing new ways of working into well established systems can be problematic, especially if the change involves
the introduction of unfamiliar technology. This paper focuses on the adoption of digital field recording systems at the
Roman site of Silchester and explores how the implementation of new technology has impacted on the workflow of
the site. The University of Reading's excavation of approximately one-third of Insula IX began in 1997 and last
summer saw the completion of the twelfth field season. The challenge of successfully integrating new technologies
into an existing well developed and long established excavation recording system provides an ideal case study for
change management in archaeology.
Fieldwork observations, user needs discussions and formal written questionnaires at the Silchester excavation have
shown that whilst the technology itself was robust and easy to use, issues arose around its implementation. Issues
encountered included: staff involvement and commitment, staff and student training, workflow difficulties, the
central role of the traditional context card, and problems associated with hybrid systems. The issues encountered at
Silchester are by no means unique to the project and we endeavour to draw out some of the themes that we feel can
be more widely applied to change management in ICT-enabled projects.

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