Note: Ali (the driver of Big Dave 3) is an archaeological geophysicist by day. Roboteer by night. World’s first archaeological roboteer?

An email appeared in my inbox one day, which looked suspiciously like a spam email – it was in somewhat broken English, inviting me to contribute to a strange service and a financial reward for what looked like very little effort. To be fair it addressed me as Dr. (which occasionally happens to me, hence my suspicions were raised) So I deleted it and thought nothing of it except to use in dinner party anecdotes to support arguments about internet scams.

Three months later (and about a week after using it as an anecdote), I get a “reminder” email asking whether I would like to still to contribute to the Society of Archaeological Sciences’s Encyclopedia of Archaeological Sciences. Guess what the “scam” mail from before was… yep. I nearly turned down an opportunity to contribute to an international encyclopedia that will be read by thousands of archaeologists (hopefully)! The email in question came from Wiley (the publishers), although looking back at the first email, it wasn’t addressed from Wiley. Anyway, the email didn’t directly tell me what encyclopedia entry I would be writing (as I would only be writing one article out of about 1000, the rest done by serious academics that have more postnominals than team ARC have letters in our collective names!). I found out that someone had been REALLY digging out some dirt one me… 3D printing.

3D printing?? How on earth did they find out I had any connection to 3D printing? My connection to ARC robotics?? My obsession with Robot Wars??? I don’t work for a 3D printing firm. Turns out, not through my internet habits (you dirty minded people). Way back at Uni I wrote a blog post for my University’s archaeology blog about the Rise and Rise of 3D printing. Something like that. It documented the ethics of using replicas in archaeology without actually understanding the techniques involved. That blog was archived a while ago so if you can find it, well hats off to you. Anyway, this encyclopedia entry is about the methods involved in 3D printing, with some applications in archaeology (there’s some cool examples in the US and France).

So who did I run to in a mild excited panic? Of course the rest of the team at ARC Robotics! Although I can’t credit Rob or Chris in the encyclopedia entry (I had to find all the references so that it wasn’t just purely mechanical engineering. It is pitched to archaeologists after all!), they did give me some useful pointers in what terminologies meant what in real terms once I found some of the main methods (sometimes “sintering” doesn’t mean tearing your sins apart, as I thought it meant). I can’t thank them enough for the pointers, otherwise I would never have got anywhere with my encyclopedia entry!! So now I’m famous…

So now you can find the encyclopedia entry from all good academic bookstores… follow it here at

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