Crowd- and Community-Fuelled Archaeology. Early Results from the MicroPasts Project
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The MicroPasts project is a novel experiment in the use of crowd-based methodologies to enable participatory archaeological research. Building on a long tradition of offline community archaeology in the UK, this initiative aims to integrate crowd-sourcing, crowd-funding and forum-based discussion to encourage groups of academics and volunteers to collaborate on the web. This paper will introduce MicroPasts, its aims, methods and initial results, with a particular emphasis on project evaluation. The evaluative work conducted over the first few months of the project already demonstrates the potential for crowd-sourced archaeological 3D modelling, especially amongst younger audiences, next to more traditional kinds of crowd-sourcing such as transcription. It has also allowed a comparative assessment of different methods for sustaining contributor participation through time and a discussion of their implications for the sustainability of the MicroPasts project and (potentially) other archaeological crowd-sourcing endeavours.