University of Southampton OCS (beta), CAA 2012

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Can you hack (the) communication?
Hugh Corley

Last modified: 2011-12-20


Existing practice presents a far greater challenge to the adoption of innovative technology than does the rain, the wind and the mud. Archaeologists do not like change. With cheaper and more robust consumer technology we must turn our attention to the greater challenge - successful adoption. Communication is fundamental to overcoming this challenge.

In April 2008 English Heritage purchased the hardware and software necessary to implement the Intrasis archaeological information management system. This was only the beginning. Many of our procedures were incompatible with Intrasis others were simply out of date. The adoption of Intrasis presented the opportunity to review these procedures. Implementing this change has led to a higher quality record, and we are seeing faster assessments and analyses. Ultimately, the greatest cost was not the hardware or software, but the time spent adapting to change. 

This paper will discuss the integration of Intrasis into our working practices at English Heritage. It will explore how the system was introduced to our specialist teams, the impact, the costs and the benefits that were eventually realised. The hope is that the lessons we have learned will persuade other archaeologists to persevere to overcome the technical, organisational and human pitfalls inherent in such change.

So you’ve discovered the greatest archaeological tool since the trowel but can you hack the communication required to get archaeologists to use it?


communication; change management