8 weeks

Deep Time

The search for the past through human and machine learning.

How to join

This course is currently unavailable to new bookings.

Deep Time is our exciting new mission to identify previously unknown archaeological sites from aerial LiDAR images using a combination of Collective and Artificial intelligence. Together, we’re boldly going where no archaeologists have ever gone before!

Funded by Nesta’s Collective Intelligence Programme, our very first Deep Time mission will investigate a 220km squared area in County Durham. To do it, we have recruited a team of 100 Pastronauts who are the ‘Collective Intelligence’ behind Deep Time.

This course provides the training that Pastronauts need in order to search for sites, record discoveries, and validate each others’ findings using the Deep Time Map Portal.

It also explains how Pastronauts will help to train an AI, which will then put its learning into practice to scour vast landscapes to identify previously unknown sites across – a task which cannot be achieved using people-power alone.

In some cases, we’ll head out into the field for a closer look, and in turn we’ll feedback cleaned-up data to help the AI learn from its mistakes. To paraphrase Mr Spock, ‘It’s archaeology Jim – but not as we know it’!


Introducing Collective and Artificial Intelligence

What is Deep Time? How can Collective and Artifical Intelligence work together? And how can the results be used to help solve some of the UK’s most pressing social and environmental challenges?


Introducing GIS and LiDAR

How do archaeologists investigate the landscape? How can GIS aid governments and citizens to make informed decisions about population, climate, infrastructure and daily life? And what do you need to know about LiDAR before starting to search for archaeological sites?


Identifying sites

What are the different types of sites? Which ones are we looking for? And how do archaeologists describe and record archaeological features visible on LiDAR? Get first-hand experience of how digital advances are helping to speed up the discovery and understanding of archaeological sites.


Search, record, and validate!

This is where the real fun begins! Learn how to use the Deep Time Map Portal, how to review and ‘validate’ each other’s work, and even how to ‘ground-truth’ potential sites in person. When you’re ready, you can start your search for archaeological sites, recording your discoveries as you go, and collaborating with other Pastronauts to refine your results.


Teaching the AI

This chapter will be unlocked once the AI has had its initial training, and is ready have some lessons from you – the Pastronauts! It’s your turn to review the sites identified by the AI, and help to refine its ability to spot archaeology accurately. Take a look at the preliminary results of the experiment, and find out more about how to get involved with future Deep Time missions.

How to join

This course is currently unavailable to new bookings.

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