A brief reflection on the VHNIreland conference

The moment of arriving into the foyer of the conference building and seeing all the digital technology on the stands from maps to game style platforms. It was a confidence boosting to see what can be achieved by those with more experience in skills which are to me only newly taught. There were also those contributors who spoke on subjects applicable outside AFF, photography of disused buildings; Enda O Flaherty who spoke on memory triggered by photographs of abandoned village national schools. There was a professional flow between talk subjects in each session, each session essentially having its own theme. John Tierney continued the photography theme with the Historic Graves Project which used a form of RTI. There was no doubt that the speakers were enthusiastic, Sheila Dooley – Dublina stood out with an engrossing stage like performance. All the speakers were willing to engage with their audience during question time at the end of each session. There were the inevitable delays at such events when the spectre of interoperability raised its head. Then there were firewall events and data protection protocols. Nobody was pointing fingers, but people felt naturally uncomfortable as it was after all a digital conference.
There was a community feel about the whole conference as people would enquire about your area in the field, and willing share ideas, experience and further contact. At the end of the first day people were invited to meet outside of the conference parameters, to continue to extend earlier conversations and discuss the day’s speakers. Seeing as registration occurred on the first day; the second day started earlier at nine in the morning. This began in another lecture with doors at the back which allow for discreet exit and entrance without disturbing the speaker as with the first hall. The first session of the second day was the main reason for attending the conference as all the speakers were addressing issues on RTI. The high point was to be Daniel Maher of Equinox Digital and the RTI survey of the Tarxien Temple Complex, Malta, but unfortunately he was unable to attend. The other speakers Kate Colbert, Early Medieval Stones from Clonmore, Megan Kasten RTI reconstruction of the Govan Stones and Heather Christie Photographic Filtering in Archaeological Photography are doing enviable work. There work showed the broad applications of RTI and there were comparisons with RTI data sets that were processed recently in AFF 622.Speaking to them in the first break it came apparent that problems that occurred while processing RTI were common and not due to poor data sets.
The VHNI conference was definitely worth the investment of precious time as deadlines approached. The decision to attend only occurred on the previous Tuesday. There was a chance to learn from experts and to pick up information on ongoing projects. It was an enjoyable learning process well worth the time and effort.
Christie Heather – School of Simulation and Visualisation, Glasgow School of Art New Applications for Filtering in Archaeological Photography
Colbert Kate – University College Cork The Biographies of Five Early Medieval Stones From Clonmore, Co. Carlow
Dooley Sheila – Dublina, Viking and Medieval Dublin Online Project
Kasten Megan– University of Glasgow Shadows of a Legacy: The Use of Reflectance Transformation Imaging in the Reconstruction of the Govan Stones
Maher Daniel – Equinox Digital RTI and Projection Mapping: The Analysis and Presentation of the Phoenician Engravings from the Tarxien Temple Complex, Malta
O Flaherty Enda, Rubicon Heritage / National University of Ireland Galway, Triggering Memory and Meaning for Online Public: The Abandoned National Schools of Ireland.
Tierney John – Echarta Archaeological Projects Using the www.historicgraves.ie Dataset