This blog provides the Archaeological Community with the latest information about We will post new releases here, bug fixes and moderate suggestions for future versions of Nabonidus.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Archaeological Computing Newsletter

We have just been published in the December 2006 issue of the Archaeological Computing Newsletter. You can get a copy here:


Nabonidus Desktop

We are about midway through the development on what we are calling Nabonidus Desktop. It is essentially an installable desktop application that will allow you to record excavation data locally on a laptop or a PC rather than needing to have an Internet connection and access to the Nabonidus website to record your data. We are building it primarily to solve the problem of remote excavations that have no Internet connection.

Data will be able to be synchronised between Nabonidus Desktop clients and the "master" database online at So for example you could have 4 trenches in your excavation - each with their own laptop with Nabonidus Desktop installed. They will be able to record all their data independently and then when they are happy with their data and an Internet connection becomes available they can upload all that data to Nabonidus Online. The excavation supervisor may then decide that she wants to download all the newly uploaded online data and can do so to her laptop running Nabonidus Desktop as well.

The first release of the desktop client will have pretty basic recording capabilities. We hope that if a good interest is shown in it we can expand it's functionality to at least match what you see online. One big advantage we see is data security. We know a lot of users are worried about their data being "online" and this desktop client means users can take care of their own security until they are happy that their data is "publishable" and not rely on us so much to secure their data.

We also hope to include peer-to-peer functionality into the first release - the search function on the desktop client will search not only the local database but the online database at and also any "peer" Nabonidus Desktop clients it can find on the Internet with publicly available data. Our vision for Nabonidus is more and more leaning towards this sort of standalone application. One that will work in connected and disconnected environments, one that is decentralised but with the ability to locate peers to share and compare data.

Anyway there is still lots of work to do on the application but we hope to demo it at the Computing Applications in Archaeology conference in April this year.

As always the desktop client will be free to download and install. We will also post the source code to somewhere like CodePlex so any interested developers can enhance and alter the application as they please.

We will post up links to the application installer and screenshots as soon as they become available.

Ben Wood.

The Computing Applications in Archaeology Conference

I am off to Berlin for the Computing Applications in Archaeology conference in April. Along with Ben Wood, the technical lead on Nabonidus, we will be presenting a workshop on how to set up an excavation using Nabonidus. We will also be demonstrating for the first time our new "Nabonidus Desktop" application which is currently in testing. We hope to demonstrate the full excavation "life cycle" with Nabonidus from:
  • Creating an excavation online, configuring your context sheet and the fields you need to record.
  • Recording data whilst on excavation with an available internet connection via
  • Recording data whilst on excavation with no internet connection on a laptop with the Nabonidus Desktop client installed.
  • Synchronising that local data from Nabonidus Desktop with the online database once an internet connection becomes available.
  • Analysing and publishing that data online.

We hope to see you in Berlin.

All the best, Sam Wood.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Microsoft Research

In January we presented Nabonidus to Microsoft Research in Cambridge, England. We had a good two hour session convened by Alexander Braendle and attended by some of the technical researchers and the head of department was there for the first hour too.

It was excellent, lots of smart and difficult questions to answer and lots of interest shown by the Microsoft guys in what we are trying to do. Unfortunately Microsoft does not directly fund archaeological research but they agreed to help us in any way they can with software and development advice and perhaps a joint project when we begin development of a mobile interface for Nabonidus.

They were very helpful with licensing for Nabonidus too. We are aiming for an open source license and when we are happy with our code we will publish it all to CodePlex so everyone can help themselves to it and essentially do whatever they want with it.

We also tentatively agreed upon a timetable for the development of a Nabonidus smart client application (April 2007) and a mobile interface (June 2007). We are still on track with these deadlines and presented the Nabonidus Desktop version at the Computing Applications in Archaeology conference in Berlin earlier this month.

So all in all a very productive day with Microsoft Research. They gave us a mountain of things to think about and lots of new ideas which we hope to implement in future versions of Nabonidus.