RIP Archaeology in Action on Flickr

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Photo by Marius Loots. “At the end of excavation, the final rites. Mapungubwe, 1995. Mapungubwe, inhabited around 1200 AD is now a World Heritage Site. This was one of the last large scale excavations done on the site.”

All (digital) things must die. But it sure is sad. Archaeology in Action on Flickr has been collecting visual evidence of archaeological work for 13 years, and I’ve been an admin and curator of the group for almost as long. It has over 4,400 photos in it, showing work from all time periods, all over the world. It has slowed down considerably in recent years, as people abandon the platform, but still held as a collection, with some of the most beautiful images of people and archaeology that I’ve ever seen.

In January, Flickr is going to move to a for-pay model that will only allow free users 1,000 photos and will delete any photos above that number. This is going to have rather dramatic consequences for Archaeology in Action, and my own account, which has 3,000 photos, licensed CC-By and available for people to use.

I tell my students that for-profit platforms are not an archive and are not beholden to you and you should not trust them in the least. But it still feels like a blow. Regardless, it may be the final push I needed toward moving entirely to Wikimedia Commons.

Author: colleenmorgan

Dr. Colleen Morgan (ORCID 0000-0001-6907-5535) is the Lecturer in Digital Archaeology and Heritage in the Department of Archaeology at the University of York. She conducts research on digital media and archaeology, with a special focus on embodiment, avatars, genetics and bioarchaeology. She is interested in building archaeological narratives with emerging technology, including photography, video, mobile and locative devices. Through archaeological making she explores past lifeways and our current understanding of heritage, especially regarding issues of authority, authenticity, and identity.

2 thoughts on “RIP Archaeology in Action on Flickr”

  1. Hello Colleen,
    The loss of all these Flickr photos is something troubling me as well. The small silver lining is that I gather Flickr’s new owners have promised not to delete CC photos, so yours should be OK – but accounts over the limit won’t be able to upload new pictures. Source:
    https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/7/18071532/flickr-creative-commons-licensed-photos-limiting-free-storage-2019

    I think a lot of non Pro Flickr accounts don’t have over 1000 photos, so many others in your group should be safe for now but it’s still not a good development…

    I do worry about all the photos being piled onto on Facebook and Twitter – there must be millions – just in a disorganised mess.

    At the Megalithic Portal we take digital archiving of our collection of almost 200,000 ancient site images very seriously, but that’s another story…
    Cheers
    Andy

  2. I moved 1000s of photo to Google Photos when Flickr changed their policy about a year ago. Somehow I managed to get 50 gigs for my two gmail accounts. They’ve added a lot of features at a great price ..free.

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