University of Southampton OCS (beta), CAA 2012

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Guerilla Foursquare: A digital archaeological appropriation of commercial location-based social networking.
Andrew Dufton, Stuart Eve

Last modified: 2011-12-22


One aspect of the emerging field of digital archaeology involves the use of digital geo-technologies to create and disseminate location-based archaeological information to both academic and non-academic audiences. However archaeological projects more often than not lack the resources or expertise necessary to create tailor-made applications, resulting in the ghettoisation of digital applications to only the 'have' projects or museums. However in many situations existing services fulfilling a similar purpose could, at relatively low cost, be repurposed for archaeological projects.


A specific case-study using the foursquare service in central London will help shed some light on the potential for (mis)use of existing services. Users of foursquare 'check-in' at various locations on mobile devices to access recommendations, locate friends, or gain digital control of venues. Through the inundation of the foursquare service with archaeological sites within the Roman city, digital archaeologists will create a palimpsest of past urban landscapes. By appropriating an existing service rather than creating a new application, a greater non-archaeological audience can be accessed. Public users can explore this landscape as well as contribute additional layers of narrative, or 'tips', ultimately creating a digital application evolving beyond the scope of the initial project.


In addition to understanding ways to achieve the goals of an archaeological application, this case study will also address the potential crossover for such digital landscapes in tackling questions within the field of digital humanities.


geo-location services; digital media; urbanism; landscape; outreach;