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Screenshot of the Wessex Archaeology website in May 2002Screenshot of the Wessex Archaeology website in May 2002A lot has happened on the Wessex Archaeology website since I began looking after it in early May 2002. Before then we had a small brochure-style site listing our services, created using an ageing copy of Serif Page Plus by our Drawing Office. Thanks to the Internet Archive, a copy of our website from those days can still be seen (minus the graphics). We were not publishing any archaeological information online at the time.

Keen to improve it, I was tasked with creating a new version of the website using Dreamweaver. This was just in time to coincide with a major discovery made by Wessex Archaeology staff: The Amesbury Archer. Interest in the story of the Archer was huge, and I was able to use our website to help distribute as much information as we had to satisfy global demand for copies of the press release and print-ready photographs. Newspapers and TV stations linked to our website, and very quickly our website went from being under the search engine radar, to being very much in the limelight.

Since May 2002, the website has steadily grown, and we have tried to be innovative in our approach to web publishing. We were one of the first archaeological organisations to start a blog in December 2004. We started podcasting and using Flickr in 2005, began posting videos to YouTube in 2006, and posting selected reports and other documents to Scribd in 2007.

The use of social media websites like these allows us to reach out to new audiences.  Our aim is to help people learn about their past through archaeology, and to make it as easy as possible for the information that we are able to put online to be found. 

In June this year (2008) we migrated our website into Drupal, an open source content management system. This introduced many new features to help us communicate our archaeological work more effectively.

The Website Blog will keep visitors to our site up-to-date with the latest features and content, and in the spirit of open source software, share some of our experiences too. Comments will be enabled when I have time to set up and test the user roles. Comments are now open!



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