STRATUM was conceived by Dr. Cora Woolsey, an archaeologist from New Brunswick, Canada. Throughout her archeological career, Cora has been looking for better methods and tools for visualizing archeological data and relationships. The seed for innovation was planted while working as a project manager for the government of New Brunswick, when she found herself struggling to visualize her project sites in a spatial context.
After printing off pictures of test pits and laying them out on the floor for the fifth time, Cora thought to herself, “There has to be a better way!”
When she reached out to her colleagues, Cora discovered that others shared her frustration at the lack of available data collection technology for archeologists, and her vision for a more effective method of managing and reporting field data. Sara Beanlands and Steve Garcin of Boreas Heritage were already exploring the use of digital forms on iPads in the field and thought the three of them could collaborate on developing software. Soon after, Chelsea Pasch of Colbr Consulting began to get excited about the possibility of a software that could revolutionize archaeology.
In early 2020, Cora began a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the University of New Brunswick with Dr. Scott Bateman, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Computer Science and head of the Human–Computer Interactions Lab. As part of that work, Cora developed a prototype of the field tool using Filemaker Pro and tested it on various archaeological projects. Then, in March of 2021, Cora participated in an accelerator for her software idea and ArchaeoSoft Inc. was born.
Since June, the STRATUM prototype Cora made has been in development. Jeff Mundee of Spandrel Interactive joined the team to lead the development of an early version for testing. With support from the New Brunswick government, UNB, MITACS, NBIF, Boreas and Colbr, we want to get the minimum viable product (MVP) of STRATUM into the hands of archaeologists, certified field technicians, and archaeological workers to get feedback and new ideas for how to make it run as smoothly as possible while collecting the highest quality of data. Although it won’t represent the full suite of functionality we have planned, we want to prove that the archaeological experience can be improved with the help of our software.
Our plan has received endorsement from government, private, and academic sectors. We have raised over $120,000 in capital and currently have 10 team members working on various aspects of the project. The prototype has been field-tested and we will present the results of the study this December at the Historical Archaeology Society. We are well on our way to producing the most comprehensive digital field tool for archaeologists to date!