After focusing attention on developing an open-source GIS for one of the Underwater Maya sites as a test case, I realized I needed to spend time on other aspects of the digital archaeology project. The end product of the year-long project will be a web page that showcases the Underwater Maya project and includes text and visual data. The theme is discovery, mapping, and excavation of ancient Maya salt works that were submerged by sea-level rise and are now underwater. I have selected Paynes Creek Salt Work 74, which has two nice rectangular wooden buildings that we have mapped and excavated, along with text, photos, video, 3D scans, and spatial data on the GIS.

I have been gathering, re-formatting, and organizing data for the web page. Field journals have been transcribed by my graduate assistant. Photos and videos are organized “in the field” by year and site, so are organized. The 3D scans need to be downgraded (from enormous file sizes), checked that they are “water-tight” and uploaded to Sketchfab. The GIS will continue to take effort, in part because I am working from an existing GIS, Geomedia by Intergraph (Hexagon). In order to use the data, I had to transform my UTM coordinate data into longitude/latitude data. I did this for a test case using Paynes Creek Salt Work 35 in CartoDB and it worked. Then I began my project site, Paynes Creek Salt Work 74, which has a lot more data. I have transformed the point data for the wooden posts from UTM to Long/Lat and displayed it in CartoDB. I need to add polygon data representing the excavation units. I’m not sure how to do that. There are 3 long, 1m-wide transects, with 12 units, 15 units, and 6 units respectively. I digitized them in Geomedia. I have artifact densities by material and type for each unit and excavation level. We excavated from the sea floor down in 10 cm levels to a maximum of 60 cm depth. Figuring out how to map transects and units and to attach the excel spreadsheet data will be an ongoing quest.

LSU is getting a digital repository in the fall, according to credible sources.

I have been looking at the layout of web pages: Some are text-heavy; others have nested layers of information or lists of links; a few are colorful and visually appealing. With my digital still and video images, 3D scans, and GIS spatial data, I want the web page to be visually appealing.

Although I had originally decided to use WordPress, I reconsidered this choice. I reviewed my notes and the courses on html, CSS, and JavaScript we had been assigned last summer. I drew a sketch of what I want the main web page to look like, with clickable links.  The page will feature a photo (and perhaps a movie clip) of the snorkeling archaeologists in the center with the words “Underwater Maya.” Underneath, I will have a series of links that tell the story: Why? (Significance); How? (Discovery, mapping, excavation, 3D scanning); What? (Briquetage and wooden buildings); Where? (Paynes Creek National Park, Belize); Who? (researchers).   Along the right side, I will have links to the GIS, to the 3D lab, and to “updates.” Along the left side, I will have links to Facebook, Twitter, and other web pages. I am about to start coding.

The subtitle of this update reflects my realization that I need to work on the various parts of my digital project in order to bring it together.