Recently, MicroPasts, a collaboration between a team of researchers from the UCL Institute of Archaeology and the British Museum, launched a crowdfunding platform. Maybe you are already familiar with crowdsourcing in archaeology, when many people contribute to your project with knowledge and/or activities, but funding by the crowd is quite new. What are the benefits, except from the money, for instance for engagement and interpretation?
DigVentures interviewed Chiara Bonacchi, the AHRC research Associate on the project (based at UCL) about this project. When asked why she decided to choose for crowdfunding in addition to crowdsourcing, Chiara answered: “Our idea with MicroPasts was that there might be some advantages of a three-way implementation of crowd-sourcing, a discussion forum and crowd-funding. We are thereby hoping not only to invite people to participate in archaeological projects, but also to encourage them to help traditional academics decide what kinds of research should be taking place.”
Where DigVentures offers an opportunity for funding new digs, “the MicroPasts crowd-funding site is meant to support a ‘silent majority’ of archaeological and historical research. Important tasks such as artefact study, digitisation of documents or old fieldwork records, scientific sampling, library-based searches and laboratory work are often insufficiently funded but obviously really important for ensuring high quality publication of the primary evidence about our human past. Volunteer historical and archaeological societies have a very big part to play in such research, and are especially effective when they team up with similarly interested universities or museums.”