Devils in the Detail!

It doesn’t seem to matter how carefully you check a program or calculation, or an academic source, somehow errors always seem to creep in. I’m indebted to Alastair Thomson from the University of Reading for spotting that the stature calculations based on Femur Length in Skelly-Pad were wrong. Initially we thought there was just a  single error but after poring over the source I used originally and a variety of standard texts it appears that there was systematic error in the Femur table I had used.

I suspect that it was a simple swapping of rows from one table to the other, an easy thing to do when you’re copying lists of numbers. The Skelly-Pad calculations have been fixed (and checked and re-checked) against the table in Human skeletal remains : excavation, analysis, interpretation  Ubelaker (1999).

I also took the opportunity to add the calculations for Mexican and Mongoloid males (not sure why there are no females?), new version on Apple and Android now available.


Skelly-Pad – New version released

The latest version of Skelly-Pad includes a number of features that have been requested by users in the field, particularly those excavating the numerous cemetries that are found all round the UK. This version is available on iPad, iPhone and Android devices.

New features include;

  • Ability to manage large numbers of skeleton using folders, move skeletons between folders, export and import folders, delete folders
  • Record Joints and Joint Pathology
  • Record Cranial measurements using CRANID measurements and export in CRANID ready format
  • New Adult Skeleton format based on the Museum of London recording standards
  • Ability to import skeletons from other users archives – see Skeleton Archive for an initial set of data from the Wellcome Osteological database
  • Add new values for Ancestry

See Google Play or iTunes App Store to downlaod.

Level-Pad – New version released

Feedback on Level-Pad from excavators has been very positive,  but in real life people wanted more flexibility in organising their work. So the latest release allows you to organise Level Pages into Collections, and to export or import Collections or single Pages.

You can also add or delete single Levels from a page.

Apps for Archaeologists

Archaeopad is a collection of Apps designed for and with archaeologists. I’m an IT specialist who’s been studying for a part-time degree in  Archaeology at the University of Reading and have become fascinated with the challenges, and potential benefits, of putting my IT skills to use in the field.

Archaeologists need applications that blend a practical, robust approach with sound academic content, a suitable challenge for any designer/developer.

Skelly-Pad is designed for osteologists to record skeletons in the lab or in the trench, and has proved particularly useful for fragile human remains that need to recorded and measured in situ.

Level-Pad is a very simple App for recording and calulating levels,  designed to let you get on with the interesting stuff.

All my Apps are available on Apple and Android devices – if there’s an App you’ve always wanted but not ahd time or inclination to write – let me know!


Skeletons in bulk!

The tricky thing about developing Apps is that you don’t know until they’re published how people will use them. The feedback I got during development suggested that most users would be analysing skeletons in the lab rather than recording them during excavations, but thanks to some very useful feedback from user in Israel and Iceland it seems that Skelly-Pad is proving very useful for on-site, in trench use. That’s particularly true when the bones are very fragile so that this is the only time that measurements can be accurately taken.

Recording a whole cemetery at once means there are more skeletons being held in the App than I’d anticipated so I’ve added a paging feature that means you can flip through the skeletons more easily and some basic search functionality to locate a particular skeleton in a long list.  Only available on iPad and iPhone right now, a new version of Android introduced a new bug 😦 – but hope to get the Android version updated soon.

The current record is 51 skeletons, if you’ve done more let me know!



Last summer I spent a happy 2 weeks digging at Marden Henge with students and staff from Reading University. One image that sticks in my head is the (very hot) afternoon a group of us spent scratching our heads over various mistakes in the levels book. In an off the cuff comment I said that an App for calculating levels would be a really good idea, which was greeted with a chorus of “yes, please!” from the students.

Several months later a search of various App stores revealed plenty of Apps that do indeed calculate levels, and much more besides, but all aimed at surveyors rather than archaeologists.

Level-Pad is my attempt to fill the gap with a simple, easy to use App that  works the way that excavators work on site. Looking just like a traditional levels book, when you move to a new page it asks how many levels you’re planning to take and all you have to do is enter the TBM, BackSight and ForeSights and Level-Pad fills in the calculations for you.

You can write the levels in a physical book when you’re done, email or print a copy of the page or send it to another Level-Pad user to store in their phone or tablet.