Portus and Me

Hembo Pagi taking photographs for photogrammetry
Hembo taking photographs for photogrammetry. Photo: Rose Ferraby

First time i came to Portus in 2008 and spent two months learning various technologies used in archaeological (high tech) excavation. Since then I’ve been back there every year, and I am writing this post from the Casale, overlooking the Grandi Magazzini Di Settimio Severo.

My main reason to join the Southampton Archaeology MSc course in Archaeological Computing was to learn about the technologies to get the archaeology presented better to the wider public. And not only that – while in Portus I realised how different visualisation tools can enhance decision-making in fieldwork situations. The inspiration I got from that first Portus experience has encouraged me to learn more and also apply things I’ve learned in my home country, Estonia.

I’ve spent the last three years in Estonia, building up my connections with archaeological and cultural heritage community via the non profit company Archaeovision R&D. The company’s main focus is on cultural heritage documentation, especially different imaging techniques. I have had good support from people I’ve been working in Portus. Graeme Earl has visited Estonia three times, giving lectures about technology and the tools we use at Portus, and recently also highlighting the Portus MOOC. James Miles came over to talk about photogrammetry and laser scanning at the Rode Imaging Event, a four day mixture of lectures, classes, workshops and a hackathon that I co-organised in Estonian art museum.

With Marge Konsa from University of Tartu we have written an article in the Estonian archaeology magazine Tutulus about Portus and the visualisation methods we use here. She also helped to arrange for Graeme and myself to teach at the field school in Lihula, a tiny village in West Estonia. I was sharing my imaging skills, illustrated with examples from Portus, and Graeme showed some of the multidisciplinary imaging activities at Portus and elsewhere.

This season my work in Portus will include taking loads of photographs for photogrammetry and RTI and teaching students how to take photos for archaeological documentation. I will also be continuing to participate on the Archaeology of Portus course – if you haven’t registered there is still time!

It is exciting to get started, and to find more reasons to come back and include the connections and experience in my future work in Estonia!

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