New look Oxford Archaeology website

Oxford Archaeology's new look websiteOxford Archaeology have recently given their website a complete facelift. In a bold move, visitors to their ‘old’ domain name are redirected to 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 to 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.

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5 Responses to New look Oxford Archaeology website

  1. Chris Brayne 25 August, 2006 at 11:48 pm #

    Vision, courage, commitment! Bravo, encoure, mas!

    Looks like the times just might be a change’in.

  2. DP 27 August, 2006 at 11:40 am #

    It is taking time for heritage organisations to take on board the potential of open source software; the incorporation of the os community joint projects can be extremely beneficial. Not sure about the semiology of their url. New client – do they say check out oxfordarch or a slightly avant garde human journey? I’d personally be slightly wary of saying the latter in a museum or council environment.
    Tighten up on their web standards and they’ll get a nice site (invalid code- but that’s probably the Joomla cms and the huge front image!) – I hope they maintain their commitment. Experimentation is the name of the game. Some things will stay, others won’t. Fudaces fortuna iuvat…..

  3. Kate 27 August, 2006 at 12:39 pm #

    I love the new look Oxford Archaeology Website, and plan to be a regular visitor there. Thank you for drawing our attention to it.

  4. Chris Puttick 7 September, 2006 at 5:35 am #

    Well, gee, we’re pleased to hear people like it! Internal reaction has been, well, mixed ;-). External reaction generally positive, but this is just rather nice. And note the preferred URL is even more avantgarde – no http://www...

    Interesting on the invalid code response – anything in particular reporting that? In the true spirit of openness the site was launched in stealth mode while we tinkered, so the site reviewed and visited was very much RC1 – as of Friday 1st September v1 was released on an unsuspecting public, with a few neat features and some tweaking, particularly around the front page.

    Check back often as the front page (image and explanation) in particular is destined to be changed often. Also the Open Archaeology section will just keep evolving, and yes, a blog is on the way as part of other developments.


    Chris Puttick

    PS CIO of Oxford Archaeology, not the webmaster, but definitely a big fan of “open”.


  1. Face to face « On boundaries - 11 September, 2006

    […] In response to Psalms in a bog, Tehmina wanted to know about the plaster lion plaque I uncovered during my days of getting muddy. The discovery of the psalter had already started me thinking about my own encounters with the past but the new website from Oxford Archaeology discussed on Past Thinking and Tehmina’s comment reminded me of the times I have come face to face with visages from years gone by. […]