"The University of Massachusetts at Boston is excited to be a part of the work of Oxford, Harvard and the Institute for Digital Archaeology and looks forward to working with the University of Dubai and the Dubai Future Foundation." - Dr. Philip DiSalvio, Dean, University of Massachusetts at Boston

University of Massachusetts at Boston


 Oxford’s Institute for Digital Archaeology, in partnership with the University Of Massachusetts and Dubai Future Foundation, has announced a first-ever certificate degree program in the emerging field of Digital Archaeology.  With faculty from Harvard University and the University of Oxford, the program will offer courses in high-technology imaging (including MSI, RTI and 3D), archaeology, museum conservation and object handling, epigraphy, history and ancient languages.  As the official course description states:  “A technological revolution is afoot in the field of archaeology.  New imaging techniques are allowing experts to document sketch lines under layers of paint, transcribe badly eroded inscriptions, and recover the faintest palimpsests. These powerful new tools are literally shedding new light on ancient objects, leading to stunning breakthroughs in the fields of epigraphy, archaeology, and papyrology.” The IDA/UMass/MOF program will equip the next generation of archaeologists, epigraphers and conservators with the skillset required to succeed in a rapidly changing professional environment.  More important, it will train them to find new and better ways both to explore the past and to preserve it for future generations.

The IDA was founded in 2012 to promote the fusion of new digital imaging technologies and traditional archaeological techniques.  A joint venture between Harvard University, the University of Oxford and the Dubai Future Foundation, the IDA has offices in Oxford, England and Cambridge, Massachusetts.  The organization promotes the development and use of novel digital technologies, particularly in the areas of high-resolution imaging and 3D printing.  In 2015, the IDA embraced the new field of large-scale 3D printing and launched what has become it signature initiative:  the Million Image Database.   As an initial matter, the Million Image Database represents a concentrated effort, in collaboration with UNESCO, to document at-risk sites throughout the Middle East.  In addition to forming a unique photographic archive, these images can and will be used for full-scale 3D replication using proprietary cement, sandstone or marble based 3D printing and machining techniques.  The IDA’s first full-scale replications will take place in April, 2016 at sites including Dubai, London and New York City with further replications scheduled throughout 2016 and 2017.

As IDA founder Roger Michel stated, "the IDA’s mission is to rebuild the landscape of the Middle East and the great symbols of our shared cultural heritage that have been destroyed or defaced.  These symbols - the architecture and objects of the ancient world - speak powerfully to what unites the East and the West."  The exciting new IDA/UMass/MOF degree program announced today is an important step forward in securing the world’s cultural heritage.  By providing a new generation of young people with the skills necessary to preserve and restore our past, the legacy of history will be forever secure.