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Micropasts

Science is always an adventure

“Nothing shocks me. I’m a scientist!”

Indiana Jones.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984).

Scientist, yes. But not your regular scientist. Not the lab coat type but one trying to find hidden treasures, forgotten civilizations and living the adventure.

And that’s Micropasts. An archaeological adventure Scifabric developed for the British Museum and University College London. The platform has enlisted a thousand volunteers to explore the use of crowdsourcing in archaeological research.

So, will you join us?

“- That belongs in a museum!
- So do you.”

Indiana Jones and Panama Hat.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989).

The MicroPasts crowdsourcing site was launched with two initial projects created by Scifabric, focusing on British Prehistory and British Museum collections. It aimed to encourage groups of academics and volunteers to collaborate on the web.

Collaborate how? A tutorial showed users how to contribute, which tasks to complete and gave step-by-step guidance. Therefore, anyone interested could collaborate without any prior knowledge of archeology.

Grab your hat

Archival transcription

MicroPasts’ volunteers have transcribed over 30,000 index cards that describe Bronze Age artefacts, and geo-referenced the sites of discovery of each artefact on an online map. They have created one of the World’s largest digital archives of prehistoric metal objects.

See some card examples

And your whip!

Photo Masking

By tracing the outline of each object in a photograph, MicroPasts users ‘mask’ out the background of the photo. This allows researchers to build extremely accurate 3D models of the objects. These can be 3D-printed anywhere in the world for further study, or incorporated into computer games and films.

See an axe in virtual reality

“You call this archaeology?”

Professor Henry Jones.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989).

Of course we do! Micropasts has provided inspiration to others who may want to embrace 'citizen archaeology'. Want to check the numbers?

+ 1500

Engaged users

+ 37500

Submitted Answers

+ 70

Projects

“We are simply passing through history.
This… this is history.”

Belloq.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).

Lots of other Micropasts projects have been built thanks to Scifabric's initial work, which provided the British Museum and UCL with the tools to develop projects autonomously.

The Micropasts team has mastered PyBossa technology and workflows due to the simplicity of the software, good documentation and support from Scifabric's team.

Need some help?


If you have data to analyse and think the crowd can help, we’d love to hear about your project!

Write to [email protected] or visit our Services page for more information on how Scifabric can help you build your own research platform.