Summary of Investigator and Joint Stakeholder/Consultant meetings: 6th and 7th July 2011
On the 6th and 7th July 2011 DART held an Investigator and Joint Stakeholder/Consultant meetings respectively. The meetings were held in Cirencester and representatives from the Royal Agricultural College were present. These were both very successful and constructive meetings. Many thanks to those who attended and sent comments. Due to the overlap in content on the separate stakeholder and consultant meetings these meetings have been merged. The extra day has been used as an opportunity to reconvene the investigators meeting. This is a great opportunity for the investigators to meet face to face, discuss problems and make quick decisions.
The meetings mindmap has been updated: http://dartproject.info/WPBlog/?p=402. This contains a fine-grained documentation of the presentations and discussions. The presentations are available here http://dartproject.info/WPBlog/?page_id=80.
The investigator meeting 6th July 2011
The aims of the meetings were:
- Discuss finances
- Introduce equipment variations/recommendations
- Discuss monthly readings (and GPR)
- To discuss other field readings
Apart from a brief presentation on our current and predicted financial position no other presentations were given. The current spending profile is better than predicted at the beginning of 2011. The fieldwork costs are variable. Whilst some efficiencies have been made on fieldwork, they are an unavoidable spend. The request for the NERC ARSF hyperspectral flight was successful. This coupled with the increased knowledge of process and the presence of Dr. Doreen Boyd as Remote Sensing lead, leads us to believe that a NERC ARSF application for flights in 2012 could be successful. If so then we can re-allocate funds to other areas of the project. We would know about the outcome of the ARSF application in December 2011. We will be able to have a clear prediction of the future cost profile after this date and will therefore review the financial position again in January 2012 at the investigator meeting prior to the next Stakeholder/Consultant meeting.
The relatively positive funding position led to a discussion of other equipment that may add-value to the research. This equipment included:
- Second Van Walt TDR – c. £3,000
- Bespoke spectro-radiometry tents – c. £600
- CMD mini explorer – c. £17,000
- Telemetry for B’ham TDR
- GPR for monthly measurements
- Arduino Unmanned Aerial Vehicle – c. £1-2,000
Only two issues had a direct timeline impact: the Van Walt probe and the GPR. Van Walt Ltd. are already lending the project a soil moisture probe. Having a second array allows us to make concurrent in-situ comparisons of soil moisture differences between archaeological and non-archaeological features. These can then be compared against the measurements from the B’ham probes to evaluate the efficacy of the bespoke sensors from B’ham against ‘off-the-shelf’ industrial arrays. It was felt that this would add significant value to the project outputs and allow for re-use of project methodology using ‘off-the-shelf’ equipment by future researchers. Ant Beck will undertake further research into this.
The GPR at B’ham is not suitable for working in arable fields. Chris Gaffney will undertake further research into this. Erica Utsi, from UTSI Electronics, is prepared to lend a GPR to the project for this purpose (many thanks Erica).
There then followed a conversation about monthly fieldwork measurements. Rob Fry needs 4 days per month to take all his measurements. There is some overlap and synergy between how the individual students take their measurements. The PhD students will sort out their own logistics. This discussion did bring up the point of measurement timeliness and how we need to ensure that our different measurements are collect in a way which is timely for the team and not just for the individual. We also briefly discussed the final probe installation at Diddington at the end of July.
The final topic of conversation was on capturing land management events and processes. There is anecdotal evidence that land management processes, particularly, harrowing, impact on measurement response. We would like to evaluate this. Rather than invest excessive time and equipment at an early stage, it was proposed that we capture magnetometry and FlashRes 64 readings within a week of a harrowing event during 2011 at Cirencester. Comparing this with the previous monthly measurement will allow us to observe if there is an effect or not. If there is an effect we can undertake a more rigorous survey during 2012.
- Hold dedicated investigator meeting to discuss and project finances in early Jan 2012
- All: Consider timeliness of data (and how it is shared between us)
- All: Come back with costings of new equipment and time line for when you might like it
- ARB, DS and DB: Meet to discuss ARSF application
- ARB: Pursue the options of getting a second Van Walt
- ARB: Follow up on set aside costs for Diddington
- ARB: Check with Diddington about harvest and installation in the other field
- Dan/Chris: Chris will contact VISTA centre about sharing GPR
- Dan/Chris: Will also follow up with Erica Utsi
- Students: Resolve fieldwork logistics
During the past 6 months DART has achieved a number of milestones. To celebrate this we attended an African drumming workshop on the evening of the 6th. We were joined by Dave Cowley, Bob Evans, Derek Magee, Raghavendra (Reddy) Mohan and Cameron Neylon. An excellent evening was had by all as is demonstrated in the videos below
The Joint Stakeholder/Consultant meeting 7th July 2011
The aims of the meetings were :
- To provide an overview of general progress with DART
- To visit the in-situ sensors, geophysical survey area and spectro-radiometry transects at Quarry Fields and Cherry Copse in Harnhill
- To meet with members of the Royal Agricultural College faculty
- To find out ways in which we can collaborate (future research applications, sharing data and knowledge etc.) with the RAC
- To provide a forum for open feedback and discussion
Unlike the other meetings this was used as an opportunity to see the sensor installations at Harnhill, Cirencester. The stakeholders and consultants were joined by five members of faculty from the Royal Agricultural College and Debbie Williams (the Science and Heritage Programme co-ordinator). The morning was spent at the installations at both Quarry Fields (clay) and Cherry Copse (non-clay) fields. After gathering at the meeting venue we were shuttled to site by bus. First stop Quarry Field.
Tony Cohn welcomed everyone and after brief introductions and overview of the project the students gave summaries of their work. Formal presentations were impossible (although they were prepared and available for download), and the students made a great job of presenting their summaries in the field. Doing this in context meant that a number of useful questions were raised. Quarry Field is a very interesting site as the RAC use it for organic crop trials and use a range of different land management and crop-growing techniques which will all have impacts on how archaeological features are identified. The RAC are interested in long-term monitoring in all the fields. The data collected by DART can also feed directly into their soil and crop monitoring programmes. After Quarry Field, and some off-roading in the bus, we got to Cherry Copse and discussed the same things near the recently scheduled Roman site. Surprisingly everything ran to schedule and the rain held off. After our packed lunch we got back to the meeting venue at approximately 1pm.
Anthony Beck then gave some background on the project and an update on general progress and future aspirations. This was mainly aimed at the RAC delegates to provide background for the collaborative discussion later in the day. This also included a preview of the new hyperspectral data and some of the teaching and learning material which we are developing (see below: note this has errors and is not for final release).
This was followed by a presentation entitled “Methodology and preliminary results from plant biology experiment” from Reddy Mohan, an MSc student from Plant Biology at Leeds University. His work is still incomplete but is already showing some interesting developments. This work will feed into a collaborative grant application which we are preparing to submit to BBSRC.
The discussion and feedback session was chaired by Chris Gaffney. Chris turned the discussion around and asked the RAC delegates if the information coming out of DART is useful to the RAC team. As a key stakeholder, the RAC is in the best position to let us know if our outputs are useful and where it can be improved. We were informed that data from DART is immediately useful in both teaching and estate management. The range of content (media and data) available through the web-site is useful to both staff and students (although it naturally only addresses a small part of the curriculum and research undertaken at RAC). It was stated that full videos of actual presentations would be a useful addition for the students.
This moved the discussion into the topic of Open Science and its importance. This position was approved by those present at the meeting. This coupled with the uptake of content from the RAC was welcomed by the assembled DART team.
There then followed a brief discussion on data and the data modelling component. Bob Evans commented that we are doing well at capturing different seasonal and environmental processes and that we are making a good contribution to the soil research over the past few decades. Derek Magee also pointed out that we are collecting a lot of data and we should ensure that enough time is left to analyse and model.
From a teaching and learning perspective Dave Cowley recommended that we liaise with the Archaeolandscapes project for higher/professional content. This will be followed up at the forthcoming Aerial Archaeology Research Group Conference in Poznan. It was recognised that there are challenges in getting content into the national curriculum and to more general curricula with a heritage component. It was suggested that we generate exemplar content with Cirencester 6th Form college and with the RAC foundation course. This will be pursued when more data is available.
This left a short amount of time to discuss future collaborations with the RAC. Ongoing collaboration was endorsed by all. Longitudinal measurements from the sensors could provide a great resource for future researchers into changing soil conditions and the impact of land management techniques. We will look into ensuring that the data collected from the sensors is automated to reduce long-term overhead. This could link through to developments in Precision Agriculture which forms part of the forthcoming BBSRC application. Anthony Beck will arrange to meet RAC faculty to discuss future collaborations at one of the future monthly measurements. Two specific items were identified:
- Follow up with John Conway on outputs from a yield based PhD which could link through to precision agriculture techniques
- To provide data for the Virtual Farm projects undertaken by RAC
The meeting concluded at 4pm
The next meeting is an investigator meeting in Leeds on 5th October
The next joint investigator/stakeholder meeting will be in Bradford in early January
- Start capturing videos of presentations
- ARB during a monthly meeting at Cirencester arrange to meet RAC faculty to discuss future collaborations
- ARB: Work with Archaeolandscapes for higher/professional teaching and learning
- DS and ARB go for a visit to Cambridge to chat with Bob and Rog in greater detail
- ARB: We need to audit what stakeholders need so we can influence our strategy
- Produce some MSc project outlines for RAC students – get these out by October 2011 to John Conway