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‘PERFECT archaeology machine’: Researchers use iPad Pro to ‘revolutionize’ how they preserve Pompeii

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Archaeologists working to unlock all of the secrets of ancient Pompeii recently used a tool that does not spring to mind while you consider excavations – an iPad Pro. 

Mixed in with more standard equipment like trowels, buckets and brushes, archaeologists at the positioning that was buried when Mount Vesuvius erupted at the moment are harnessing the computational power and flexibility of Apple’s iPad Pro.

Researchers who’re vulnerable to scribble notes about artifacts or other technical details during digs on paper now have the power to essentially be paperless and use the iPad for real-time tracking and data storage. 

Mixed in with more standard equipment like trowels, buckets and brushes, archaeologists at the positioning that was buried when Mount Vesuvius (visible within the image above) erupted at the moment are harnessing the computational power and flexibility of Apple’s iPad Pro

ABOVE: Excavation supervisor Mary-Evelyn Farrior uses iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard to record data as Allison Emmerson looks on. Farrior sketches her trench in Concepts on iPad Pro, which allows archaeologists to draw diagrams measured to scale

ABOVE: Excavation supervisor Mary-Evelyn Farrior uses iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard to record data as Allison Emmerson looks on. Farrior sketches her trench in Concepts on iPad Pro, which allows archaeologists to attract diagrams measured to scale

Researchers who are prone to scribble notes about artifacts or other technical details during digs on paper now have the ability to essentially be paperless and use the iPad for real-time tracking and data storage. ABOVE: Jordan Rogers uses Concepts on iPad Pro with Apple Pencil to sketch out the areas of the room his team is excavating

Researchers who’re vulnerable to scribble notes about artifacts or other technical details during digs on paper now have the power to essentially be paperless and use the iPad for real-time tracking and data storage. ABOVE: Jordan Rogers uses Concepts on iPad Pro with Apple Pencil to sketch out the areas of the room his team is excavating

ABOVE: Jordan Rogers shows Tulane University student Keira Kurtz a pot unearthed in the ancient Roman kitchen pit they are excavating in Pompeii

ABOVE: Jordan Rogers shows Tulane University student Keira Kurtz a pot unearthed in the traditional Roman kitchen pit they’re excavating in Pompeii

Dr. Allison Emmerson, a Tulane University professor who led the recent dig, said the device has revolutionized the sphere. 

‘iPad is the right archaeology machine,’ Emmerson said in statement. 

‘Archaeological excavation is a destructive process — once a location has been dug, that work can never be repeated — so our most essential concern is thorough recording of all relevant data in order that future researchers can “reconstruct the positioning,”‘ said Emmerson. 

Emmerson and her team have been using the iPad since 2010, but she believes the tablet is about to reshape the work she does, because of higher processing speeds, higher battery life, the Apple Pencil and the LiDAR Scanner. 

‘iPad Pro allows us to gather data faster, more accurately, and more securely than some other tool, and has the processing power we want to aggregate that information and present it in a way nobody has before.’ 

'Archaeological excavation is a destructive process — once a location has been dug, that work can never be repeated — so our most essential concern is thorough recording of all relevant data so that future researchers can

‘Archaeological excavation is a destructive process — once a location has been dug, that work can never be repeated — so our most essential concern is thorough recording of all relevant data in order that future researchers can “reconstruct the positioning,”‘ said Emmerson

Emmerson's colleagues wanted to use the iPad Pro, along with the mapping software Esri and Concepts by TopHatch, to implement a paperless workflow and create an online database that would allow others to virtually re-excavate the site

Emmerson’s colleagues wanted to make use of the iPad Pro, together with the mapping software Esri and Concepts by TopHatch, to implement a paperless workflow and create an internet database that will allow others to virtually re-excavate the positioning

Emmerson's colleagues wanted to use the iPad Pro, along with the mapping software Esri and Concepts by TopHatch, to implement a paperless workflow and create an online database that would allow others to virtually re-excavate the site. ABOVE: Alex Elvis Badillo uses iPad Pro to conduct a 3D scan of a mask the team found while excavating the kitchen pit

Emmerson’s colleagues wanted to make use of the iPad Pro, together with the mapping software Esri and Concepts by TopHatch, to implement a paperless workflow and create an internet database that will allow others to virtually re-excavate the positioning. ABOVE: Alex Elvis Badillo uses iPad Pro to conduct a 3D scan of a mask the team found while excavating the kitchen pit

Emmerson’s colleagues wanted to make use of the iPad Pro, together with the mapping software Esri and Concepts by TopHatch, to implement a paperless workflow and create an internet database that will allow others to virtually re-excavate the positioning. 

‘The best way I actually have all the time recorded on past digs was on paper with pencils or pens,’ Jordan Rogers, who teaches at Carleton College and was considered one of the excavation supervisors, said. 

‘And while you drew something, you probably did it on graph paper, and used string and levels to measure where things were situated. Photos were taken on separate cameras that you simply needed to upload manually once you bought back home. Every part was in a distinct place, and each night involved many hours transferring your day’s notes onto your computer,’ he added.  

The Apple Pencil has modified that process entirely.

‘Initially, I used to be somewhat apprehensive because I’d never used iPad before,’ explained Rogers. ‘But the educational curve was so quick, and it’s really incredible how way more effective and efficient it’s made the technique of data capture, especially with Apple Pencil. I also feel lots higher not having to fret I’m going to lose a sheet of paper — and there was once so many sheets of paper.’ 

ABOVE: Emmerson holds the incredibly rare gold coin, called an aureus, that the team found during the excavation

ABOVE: Emmerson holds the incredibly rare gold coin, called an aureus, that the team found through the excavation

ABOVE: Farrior and Princeton University student Noah Kreike-Martin unearth part of a wine vessel from their trench in Pompeii

ABOVE: Farrior and Princeton University student Noah Kreike-Martin unearth a part of a wine vessel from their trench in Pompeii

'And when you drew something, you did it on graph paper, and used string and levels to measure where things were located. Photos were taken on separate cameras that you had to upload manually once you got back home,' Rogers (seen above) said

‘And while you drew something, you probably did it on graph paper, and used string and levels to measure where things were situated. Photos were taken on separate cameras that you simply needed to upload manually once you bought back home,’ Rogers (seen above) said

Rogers was also capable of create three-dimensional maps of his trenches by utilizing the LiDAR Scanner together with an app from Laan Labs. 

‘It’s really fast — it only takes about 10 to fifteen seconds to scan, and it was really easy,’ says Rogers. ‘It’s done a extremely good job of capturing all of the detail and stitching it together, which goes to be so helpful for me to refer back to once we’re analyzing the information at the tip of the dig.’

Researchers collected coins and some other artifacts from the dig for 3D scans, which were then used to create an interactive database that may eventually be available to anyone online – something they hail as a significant development. 

‘What iPad Pro has made possible … is that this level of integration and interaction with the information, says Emmerson. ‘If I would like to recollect what Mary-Evelyn’s trench looked like on the morning of July 28, I can immediately access all of her artifacts, soil evaluation, photos, drawings — all of it is correct there at my fingertips.’  

Emerson explained that researchers discovered improvements to the dining area of a restaurant in the positioning, which leads her team to consider that Pompeii was not a city in decline on the time of the eruption. 

She credits Apple products as crucial in helping her arrive at these answers so quickly. Typically, archaeologists don’t report findings until years after digs are finished.

‘I understood the positioning higher than I ever have at the tip of an excavation — that is the cleanest and clearest archaeology I actually have ever done, and iPad Pro is such an enormous a part of that,’ she says. 

‘That’s considered one of the explanation why this technology is so vital — it lets us show exactly what we did and exactly what we found — since it’s incredibly vital to me to live as much as the responsibility of excavating a site like this and telling the stories of the individuals who lived here.’ 

Emerson explained that researchers discovered improvements to the dining area of a restaurant in the site, which leads her team to believe that Pompeii was not a city in decline at the time of the eruption. ABOVE: Emmerson and Badillo began conceiving their fully digital workflow more than a year ago using iPad Pro with Apple Pencil

Emerson explained that researchers discovered improvements to the dining area of a restaurant in the positioning, which leads her team to consider that Pompeii was not a city in decline on the time of the eruption. ABOVE: Emmerson and Badillo began conceiving their fully digital workflow greater than a yr ago using iPad Pro with Apple Pencil

'That’s one of the reasons why this technology is so vital — it lets us show exactly what we did and exactly what we found — because it’s incredibly important to me to live up to the responsibility of excavating a site like this and telling the stories of the people who lived here.' ABOVE: An Apple iPad Pro is seen at an Apple store in Palo Alto, California

‘That’s considered one of the explanation why this technology is so vital — it lets us show exactly what we did and exactly what we found — since it’s incredibly vital to me to live as much as the responsibility of excavating a site like this and telling the stories of the individuals who lived here.’ ABOVE: An Apple iPad Pro is seen at an Apple store in Palo Alto, California

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