Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 238–270 | Cite as

The Camera “at the Trowel’s Edge”: Personal Video Recording in Archaeological Research

  • Angeliki ChrysanthiEmail author
  • Åsa Berggren
  • Rosamund Davies
  • Graeme P. Earl
  • Jarrod Knibbe


Video recording is increasingly becoming a favourable medium in archaeological research, particularly as an unconventional documentation tool that captures the elusive processes of ongoing interpretation in an audiovisual format. Our research forms part of the Personal Architectonics Through INteraction with Artefacts (PATINA) project, a project focused on the design of technologies for supporting research. Archaeological fieldwork is one of the research environments being studied by the project, and one of our primary concerns was to observe and record current research practices in the wild and to examine the influence of new technologies on those practices. This research brings together well-established and advanced observation techniques used in social sciences and computing fields such as human–computer interaction with archaeological research and presents the deployment of an off-the-shelf wearable camcorder as a recording interface in archaeological fieldwork. The article discusses the user evaluation methodology and the results, while addressing long-standing and timely theoretical discussions on the role of video recording in archaeological research.


Personal video recording (PVR) User evaluation Fieldwork documentation Reflexive archaeology Archaeological method 



This work was funded by the RCUK Digital Economy Programme through the PATINA project, grant EP/H042806/1. Firstly, we would like to thank all our colleagues who participated in this study and for providing their valuable feedback and insights. We owe our gratitude to Prof. Ian Hodder and the Çatalhöyük Research Project, particularly the West Mound and East Mound excavation teams, as well as to Prof. Simon Keay and The Portus Project for their collaboration and support. We would also like to thank Dr. Mike Wald, Yunjia Li and the MACFoB (Multimedia Annotation and Community Folksonomy Building) project, University of Southampton, for trusting us to conduct an evaluation of Synote and Hembo Pagi for his technical assistance. Finally, we are indebted to Prof. Ian Hodder, Dr. Sara Perry and our anonymous reviewers for providing their valuable comments on previous versions of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angeliki Chrysanthi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Åsa Berggren
    • 2
  • Rosamund Davies
    • 3
  • Graeme P. Earl
    • 1
  • Jarrod Knibbe
    • 4
  1. 1.Archaeological Computing Research Group, Department of ArchaeologyUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK
  2. 2.Sydsvensk ArkeologiKristianstadSweden
  3. 3.Department of Communications and Creative Arts, Old Royal Naval CollegeUniversity of GreenwichLondonUK
  4. 4.Interaction and Graphics Group, Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of BristolBristolUK

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