Integrating new technologies into established systems: A case study from Roman Silchester

Claire Fischer, Melissa Terras, Claire Warwick

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


    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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationMaking History Interactive. Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA)
    Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 37 th International Conference, Williamsburg, Virginia, United States of America, March 22-26, 2009
    EditorsBernard Frischer, Jane Webb Crawford, David Koller
    PublisherBAR Publishing
    ISBN (Print)9781407305561
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • user analysis
    • human computer interaction
    • user needs
    • change management
    • field recording


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