|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|I took this picture on archeology site (Pointe-Du-Buisson) at Melochelille, Qc, a small town near Montré|
al. The rest of the note contain informations about this site. Have a good day to all. JYB
Two Million Artifacts, One Massive Task
Archeologists and staff of a Montreal-area museum rely on digital technologies to get the most from one of the richest historical sites in North America.
Pointe-du-Buisson, just southwest of the island of Montreal, has already yielded more than two million artifacts. Most predate the arrival of Europeans by thousands of years. Staff at Pointe-du-Buisson Archaeological Park use computer software and digital tools to assist with the management, presentation and promotion of this valuable collection.
A wealth of artifacts
In the 1960s, archeologists from the University of Montreal began to uncover a trove of precious artifacts from a series of dig sites along the peninsula. The artifacts were stored at the university until 2003. Last year, Pointe-du-Buisson Archaeological Park completed the daunting task of repatriating these items.
"Our project consisted of three components," according to Sophie Limoges, head archaeologist at the park. "First, we needed to create a laboratory that was accessible to researchers and visitors, as well as a storage area to welcome the millions of artifacts at Pointe-du-Buisson. Second, we had to set-up a database to ensure the proper management of our collection. Finally, in order to take full advantage of the Web’s potential, we wanted to offer content developed by specialists, enhanced by quality digital images of the collection, through Artefacts Canada and Info-Muse. New technologies allowed us to achieve these three objectives."
To help finance the project, Limoges secured the support of five organizations: Parks Canada, the Department of Canadian Heritage, le Ministère de la Culture et des Communications Québec, the University of Montreal and the town of Beauharnois.
Digital technologies at work
To assist with cataloguing, Park staff use Virtual Collections software, by GCI Inc., along with digital tools available from the CHIN and Québec’s Info-Muse. For each item, crucial details such as name, cultural context, size, and location in the museum are entered into a secure but accessible database.
Given the vast number of artifacts, only a tiny fraction can be studied or displayed at any one time. To improve the public’s access to the stored artifacts, digital photographs of more than 950 are now linked to the Virtual Museum of Canada (VMC) portal at virtualmuseum.ca. Recording digital images of the Park’s entire collection will take several years to complete.
The Internet also helps museum staff publicize the collection. The VMC has information on about approximately 10,000 Pointe-du-Buisson artifacts, and the park plans to launch a Web site of its own in 2005.
"Disseminating the collection through the Web allows specialists and the general public to more easily consult this cultural heritage," says Sophie Limoges. "The creation of a Web site will also allow us to promote Pointe-du-Buisson’s natural and archaeological treasures. It goes without saying that this communications tool offers a showcase through which we can better make known the organization’s attractions and programming at the national and international levels."
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