Oxford Archaeology have recently given their website a complete facelift. In a bold move, visitors to their ‘old’ domain name www.oxfordarch.co.uk are redirected to http://www.thehumanjourney.net/ where the front page contains none of the usual blurb about the company, just a menu and a large showcase image, currently a “Study for the female heidelbergensis face based on the Broken Hill skull”. It’s a compelling and powerful image.
They have moved much of their content over to a Joomla CMS, and employ some other open source projects such as Gallery. We are promised much more innovation as part of their “Open Archaeology” programme.
It looks as if it’s early days yet for their website. Much of the content is still buried too deep, and the URIs are horribly long, but I’m willing to bet that as they get to grips with Joomla (and the many modules that are available for it), that will soon change. I wonder how long it is before they get a blog (I want an RSS feed!)?
The move from oxfordarch.co.uk to thehumanjourney.net is an interesting one, that seems to reflect a change of philosophy at Oxford Archaeology. There will undoubtedly be a huge drop in their search engine rankings, but it probably won’t take long for them to recover their position if they publish content frequently, and get new links to their new content (I’m sure this post will help get them started!).
Speaking as the webmaster for Wessex Archaeology, I ‘m impressed at the step that they have taken. I like the philosophy of being ‘open’, which in general ought to apply to the whole of the archaeological discipline. Unfortunately, when we’re working in the commercial sector, competing with each other for contracts, it’s not always that easy.
So keep your eyes peeled on OA‘s new website, and give them feedback to help them along.
And keep your eyes peeled on the Wessex Archaeology website, as they’ve a few interesting features in beta that are soon to go live for testing.