Archaeology and Technology

One of the things which we will be looking at in this blog is the relationship between archaeology and technology. Archaeological computing as a sub discipline has existed since the 1950s and has provided an academic space for people wishing to develop digital methodologies for archaeology. During this time though the role of digital technology in our lives has changed fundamentally. Computers have gone from being inaccessible and specialist instruments to being relatively common to being ubiquitous. Not only have computers become more accessible they have also become a normal part of our everyday lives. Every day people negotiate strategies for living which are inherently digital with software and hardware developed in order to meet the demands of our digital lives. Archaeological computing now faces the challenge of responding to the innately digital character of everyday life. How do we devise new methodological approaches which capitalise on the fact that a significant proportion of archaeologists are highly skilled and highly active digital actors? Part of the solution surely has to lay in the acknowledgement that digital technologies are increasingly akin to other technologies which we use to negotiate our working and personal lives. Once a person receives basic training in the use of pencils or cameras it is assumed that they have the capacity to grow into an effective and even creative user of these technologies. We understand that expertise gained in ‘non archaeological life’ may in part be transferable to archaeological practice. Computing in archaeology is often seen as being an exclusively expert domain despite the fact that archaeologists without a professed specialism in computing are often digitally literate, highly skilled and intuitive users of digital technology. The need for a more reflexive approach to the development of digital practice in archaeology is clear but the means of achieving this change remain underdeveloped. New attitudes to technology and practice must necessarily be developed in response to individual conditions (technological, social, political, practical). We will throughout this series of blog posts explore different areas of archaeology in which we have experience and will try to identify some areas where change has been or can be achieved. The first area which I will explore is craft, creativity and digital imaging. ~ Gareth

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