EAGER: Virtual Arctic Archeological Repositories and the Democratization of Science: The Alaska Peninsula Project
This project is an Early Concept Grant for Exploratory Research (EAGER) to apply the technology developed through the Virtual Zooarchaeology of the Arctic Project, PI Herb Maschner, to artifact collections as a pilot project for developing a Virtual Repository for Arctic Archaeology. The PI accurately argues that access to collections, especially archaeological collections that have distributed ownership and are often stored in remote locations, is one of the primary barriers to broad, comparative studies in the north. The NSF Virtual Zooarchaeology of the Arctic Project (VZAP) provides an exceptional model for using 3D virtualization and online analysis tools to solve this key problem for northern research, but an EAGER project is planned because many of the intricacies of providing the means for on-screen analysis need to be discovered, perfected, and implemented before this will work for archaeological and ethnographic collections. The construction of a Virtual Repository of Arctic Archaeology, using the Lower Alaska Peninsula and Sanak Islands Project as a test study, is will create a model for the implementation of a full virtual museum collection. The project will put the entire NSF funded Alaska Peninsula collections online in a searchable 2D and 3D analytical infrastructure to create easy access and analysis by bringing these collections to northern scholars and the world. Timing is critical, the PI will complete this project in the context of preparing these collections for return to the Museum of the North and Native Corporations who are the actual owners of much of the materials.