Thursday, 9 April 2015



As I was considering what we have learned in this class, I came across an article relating to the future of digital archaeology written by Harrison Eiteljorg. Eiteljorg discusses how technology use in the field of archaeology has become part of the field work process in a number of ways but also discusses that there is a long way to go to reaching successful integration. I would have to agree with Eiteljorg on this matter. It is almost comical to think about how much we know about archaeological practices and technology and yet, we are still only in the early phase of putting the two together.

There is great potential out there but we must be aware of the new implications that technology brings to the table. The issue is that we must not flood the field of archaeology with too many pointless or different technological applications. One of the greatest abilities of technology such as databases or data entry is bringing together information. However, if we all bring this information together in different ways then it defeats the purpose of creating a universal system. Trial and error are part of the process but it must be kept in mind that one good system is better than hundreds of mediocre systems. Perhaps this is why practicing archaeology in the field has used virtually the same technologies and methods for the last half century with a few innovations along the way. Seriation, shovel shining, etc. are all simple but effective processes and this is why they have lasted so long. Digital archaeology has the opportunity to create a lasting legacy on the field of archaeology as well but archaeologists should all have some say as to what this legacy should look like. Unfortunately, I think it is still too early to see the full potential of digital archaeology but there is potential nonetheless.

The article is interesting because Eiteljorg does a good job of remaining neutral as to both the positive and negative effects that can result from the development of digital archaeology. I would recommend the article as a good wrap up for this course because it has the past, present and future in mind which we should all be interested in!

Website: http://csanet.org/newsletter/spring14/nls1407.html

1 comment:

Ramsay Macfie said...

Your post causes me to reflect on the question of who it is that instigates the use of novel technologies in a archaeology. It is easy to imagine the non-archaeological forces contributing the the rise of drone use or imaging technologies, and the ways these things could, as you put it, "flood the field of archaeology". It strikes me that an interesting compounding problem we face is in knowing whether a researcher is using a technology as an archaeologist or as a techno-enthusiast. The distinction between the two personalities is probably of a degree of subtlety invisible to the researcher them-self.