Well, Google have been busy recently. I noticed Martin, from Liverpool Landscapes, had found Google has added Stonehenge to it’s Streetview, here at least there probably won’t be any complaints form locals about privacy, although there’s a policeman somewhere near the entrance to the tunnel who you can’t quite see. There is similiar way of experiencing Stonehenge if you use Microsoft’s Photosynth which I prefer; you can move around more freely and even go along and take your own photos and upload them.
Both of these types of visualising landscapes are surely a step in the right direction but both of them create a rather disjointed experience. I have been to Stonehenge and thus use these websites more to jog my memory and enhance it’s visual aspect over the purely mental or emotional but I’m not sure how cohesive a sensation it would be for someone not to have previously visited the stones. Luckily Google have added the ruins of Pompeii to Streetview as well. And yes, it is a little disorientating (I haven’t been to Pompeii), especially with the blurriness as the image pans along. The mini map in the corner helps, although I found it hard to actually find the ruins in the first place (try searching for “pompeii, italy ruins”). However, my feeble criticisms aside, these are great tools.
Google in Iraq
Google have also been busy in Iraq, they will soon begin digitising artefacts and documents from Iraq’s National Museum. 14,000 digital images will be available next year for free to view, however it isn’t made clear what further uses the images could be used for. It’d be great if rather than just taking traditional photos they could use some Photosynth-like method so you could ‘move’ round the artefact and see it from all directions. We’ll see.
France in Iraq
I also read an article last week about France’s involvement in Iraq. I have only found other references to this in online Chinese newspapers which seems odd. The news is that French and Iraqi ministers have signed two cooperation agreements on defense, culture and science which is good, but the last paragraph mentions archaeology directly,
“According to French analysts, France needs an aiding center in Iraq to help French entrepreneurs who are interested in making investment in Iraq, as well as provide supports to French research in agriculture and archaeology in the country.”
I don’t often see archaeology gaining such a profile but maybe Sarkozy is getting the bug, I hear he recently visited the excavation of an Australian and British First World War group burial site at Pheasant Wood, Fromelles, northern France, although I’m sure this was a matter of politics rather than pure interest.
Update: I have been informed by who I presume to be the Fromelles Project Manager that President Sarkozy hasn’t visited Pheasent Wood. I’ll have a word with my supposed sources!