ASBC Victoria October Talk: Morley Eldridge on New Methods in Archaeological Excavation

Prince Rupert point cloud from Millennia blog

Prince Rupert digital point cloud showing relationship between hearths and shell-bearing layers, from Millennia blog. Source:


Morley Eldridge, Millennia Research

The next ASBC Victoria public talk is by UVic’s own Morley Eldridge, who is also principal of well-known and well-respected archaeological consulting firm.  Morley has been doing some exciting new methods of in-field digital recording, with application in Prince Rupert Harbour. It also seems there will be a show and tell of artifacts at this meeting. Further, I’ve been meaning to post on this and I will!  Promise!  But Morley et al are cutting in on my turf with a sweet new blog found here.

Anyway, I’ve seen some of this from Roger and Morley at the SAA in Hawaii and it was kick-ass.

The meeting is Tuesday October 15, 2013, 7:30 pm at the Pacific Forestry Centre, 506 West Burnside Road.  Map.  Free and open to the public.

Click continue to read the abstract.

Abstract: Millennia Research Limited developed a new method of archaeological excavation in 2012 and used it to excavate the totality of two archaeological sites in Prince Rupert. The methods amount to a new paradigm of archaeological field work, without excavation squares, or levels, or virtually any paper forms. The system uses real-world coordinates as the basic organizational principal for all data collection. A total station collects data precise coordinates in three dimensions; tablet computers record descriptive data, photographs, sketches, etc and send it to cloud computers; and bar codes connect the two data sets and replace bag labelling. No data transcription is needed afterwards. The end result is a huge increase in excavation speed and quality of data. The data is then manipulated in a database program and GIS software with 3-D capability. The results are, we think amazing, and the possibilities for analysis almost unlimited.

Members or mere citizens coming to the talk can get a taste of some of the fascinating artifacts and view 3D images of the data on Millennia’s Facebook page or directly on their web site,

Morley Eldridge, MA, RPCA, is the president of Millennia Research, and has 44years of archaeological experience in BC

3 responses to “ASBC Victoria October Talk: Morley Eldridge on New Methods in Archaeological Excavation

  1. speaking as a mere citizen, this sounds like something I wouldn’t want to miss. I wonder though about ” The end result is a huge increase in excavation speed and quality of data.”. Speed, yes, but quality, ? Can anything replace the painstaking hands-on poring over excavated artefacts? Val.


  2. Hi Val,

    Well, Morley has his people, with hands, for that kind of thing.

    As a lofty member of ASBC, I don’t want to miss it either, but I will be skirmishing along the frontiers of ignorance in Santa Fe, I’m afraid.


  3. Valerie
    The data collection, with spatial reference for all data, is both speedy and reduces errors (because data transcription isn’t needed). Without the need to spend a lot of time on drudgery (writing site/unit/level/date/name etc on each level bag for instance), more time can be available in the field for actually THINKING about the archaeology. You are right and recording and storing data is only the first step: but I can assure you there was PLENTY of hand-on pouring over the artifacts. Each was examined multiple times during cataloguing, sorting and typological study. Often this included macroscopic and sometimes microscopic use-wear analysis. We’ve spent many months full-time going over each artifact grouping and re-grouping them to ensure the typology worked and the catalogue was updated and correct. If you have spent any time in the archaeology back rooms of a university or museum you’ll know that there are huge amounts of materials stored sometimes for decades that never did get a hands-on examination. Others get looked at by a graduate student or two, but seldom by the principal investigator. So, I think we are doing well on both the speed AND quality!


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