I had a number of things in mind when putting these pages together:
- One of the things Egyptologists are often not good at is presenting accessible information about research projects in progress. A number by their very nature attract a lot of (sometimes undesirable!) media attention, but most proceed quietly towards their goals. There is a considerable amount of interest around the world in what is going on in Egypt, and it can only do good for the subject to inform people. The Internet and the WWW offer a medium whereby all sorts of information can be made available relatively informally and very quickly.
- I wanted to experiment with new media for putting out information about archaeological projects which will be easy to update and quicker and cheaper than the printed word. It is also a chance to experiment with the different types of software and technologies currently available.
- Moving on from that point, the costs of publication in print enforce a strict regime on most authors when selecting material, particularly illustrations, for inclusion in a book. The irony is that as improved techniques enable the capture of more material, it becomes increasingly difficult to publish it (see the comments of Jaromir Malek, 'The Archivist as a Researcher', in J Assmann, E Dziobek, H Guksch, and F Kampp, Thebanische Beamtennekropolen. Neue Perspektiven archäologischer Forschung (Studien zur Archäologie und Geschichte Altägyptens 12, Heidelberg 1995), 45). The Internet offers the possibility of putting out more of this material than can be presented in traditional media.
- While the use of the WWW means that there is often an inevitably informal tone to the writing, this project is explicitly not simply a layman's guide to TT99, but contains material which I hope will be of interest to the archaeological professional. Much of what is here will find its way into the final published report on the work; there may well be two versions, that in traditional media and that in new media. However, I will not even attempt to guess where technology will be when this project is at the final publication stage!
One of my pet hates on the Web is the unnecessary use of graphics. I get very exasperated when waiting for some pages to load, and watching one image after another to come in, only to find that the graphics themselves are purely decorative and don't advance the content of the site (I could call it 'marketing'). The Web is responsible for most of the slowing down on the Internet, and graphics are the biggest culprit. Thus I have tried to keep out unnecessary graphics, which might make the site 'prettier' but not better. There must inevitably be a lot of pictures on a site such as this, but I want to keep traffic down to what is necessary.
Egyptologists tend to write mostly in English, French, or German, and the further reading suggestions are frequently in languages other than English. Many of them are in specialist publications. I realise that some readers are going to have problems with this, so where possible I shall try and also include popular articles on the same subjects. However, the intent of these pages to be more than just a popular introduction means that I have to reflect the reality of academic Egyptology.
What about modification dates?
One potential problem with publishing information via the WWW is that it is possible to modify the material, to make corrections and improvements, without readers necessarily being aware of it. This can be a problem with completed work, in that it relies on the honesty and integrity of publisher and author to ensure that this does not happen without proper announcement. The present work, however, is very much one in progress, and I hope that it will change frequently to reflect ongoing research. Thus I do not expect to indicate changes with any consistency, although I shall try to mark major additions. Obviously the Diary and Reports texts will not change, although I will strive to improve the photos in the Reports.
Some notes on how it was done
Most of the files have been created on Macintosh computers. A variety of editors has been used to write the HTML: Dreamweaver, kindly donated by Macromedia, was used until early 2000, then the site continued using Adobe Golive as part of an upgrade to the Adobe CS1 software. Then at the end of 2009, upgrading to Adobe CS4 made Dreamweaver available again, and is used for the current site. BBEdit Lite/Textwrangler is always worth of a mention, in this case for its ability to change the same feature in many pages in a few seconds.
The images include some digital photographs made with a Quicktake 100 camera donated by Apple Computer, but these are now replaced with more recent ones taken with an Olympus D600L, and then with a Nikon Coolpix 995; others are scanned conventional prints and slides using Umax S12 and Epson Perfection 4870 scanners. The Quicktime VR movies are mostly made using the Quicktime VR Authoring Studio, also kindly donated by Apple Computer; video is now being produced with a Canon XM1 video camera belonging to the British Museum, and with various free software programs.