Tijl Vereenooghe1 / Johan Claeys / Jan Decorte / Bart Lauwers / Nikolaas Van Kemseke / Jeroen Vermeersch

(1 Department of Archaeology, K.U.Leuven (Belgium) – corresponding author)

This paper will investigate the potential of new web-based technologies for the dissemination of archaeological research. The new generation of on-line services, generally referred to as Web 2.0, introduces new opportunities for archaeologists to communicate their research to the public. The Flemish ArcheoNet project, developed by the authors, is a good example of the successful application of these new technologies.
The core of the project is the website www.archeonet.be, which has been launched in February 2005 as the first news portal about archaeology and heritage in Flanders. The website soon became a virtual meeting point for archaeologists and the public. It is an archaeological newsblog, offering the visitors not only articles, a discussion board and an event calendar, but also the possibility to aggregate the content by means of RSS feeds.
Interactivity and instant publishing are among the main advantages of blogs like ArcheoNet. Collaborative authoring systems certainly have a big potential for heritage professionals, as they allow non-technical users to participate in the content creation process. However, research by the authors seems to indicate that the uptake of these new services in the archaeology sector is still lagging behind.
Recently, www.excavation.be has been launched as a spin-off of the ArcheoNet project. The website integrates information about archaeological excavations in Flanders with cartographic and satellite imagery. It is based on the Google Maps API, the application of which for our archaeological purpose proved to be very time-effective and didn’t require too much programming knowledge, two important factors in the cultural heritage sector. By using existing technologies in a new and innovative way for the ArcheoNet project, the authors chose for a rich user experience, based on open and easy-to-reuse data.