Presentations

Real Talk
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Some presentations on Introspective Digital Archaeology:

Extended Practice and Digital Representations (TAG 2016, Southampton)

When we consider the relationship between aspects of archaeological practice and the digital tools we increasingly incorporate within our practice, our focus is – inevitably – on the questions, applications, and results. Consequently, our reflective approach to the digital is frequently limited to the relatively mundane: what it offers, what it delivers, what it costs. But the relationship between practice and the digital extends far beyond this. In a very real sense, the digital becomes a part of extended practice: the digital shares in the practice, it takes on part of the practice in its own right, it can even undertake the practice absent the archaeologist. What are the implications of this for our approaches to the visualisations, representations, constructions, explorations, conceptualisations that we create in our digital environments?

The Apparatus of Digital Archaeology (Computer Applications in Archaeology, Oslo, 2016)

Digital Archaeology is predicated upon an ever-changing set of apparatuses – technological, methodological, software, hardware, material, immaterial – which in their own ways and to varying degrees shape the nature of Digital Archaeology. Our attention, however, is perhaps inevitably more closely focused on research questions, choice of data, and the kinds of analyses and outputs. In the process we tend to overlook the effect the tools themselves have on the archaeology we do beyond the immediate consequences of the digital. This paper seeks to address the apparatus more directly within the context of the developing archaeological digital ecosystem.

A Digital Detox for Digital Archaeology (York Heritage Research Seminar, 2016)

It’s difficult within a technologically-driven world to find that moment of quiet to allow contemplation of where we have been and where we are now, before we consider where we might go. Some choose to undergo a digital detox, in particular turning off email and social media for a period to provide an opportunity to refocus and offset the attention deficit that frequently accompanies the digital world. But what may work for the individual isn’t feasible for a discipline where it would be unrealistic to think we can walk away from the digital in Digital Archaeology. Nevertheless, the opportunity to review, rethink, and refocus is no less valuable and this is what an introspective approach to Digital Archaeology attempts to afford,  looking into the heart of Digital Archaeology as a means of meditating on its future.

Disciplinary Issues: the research and practice of computer applications in archaeology (Computer Applications in Archaeology, Southampton, 2012)

An annual international conference on computer applications in archaeology (CAA) has been meeting annually for almost forty years, so one might expect that there would be a reasonable idea of the nature and role of archaeological computing. However, some commentators see it as an emerging field while others suggest the need for a new archaeological speciality: Archaeological Information Science. Even the Wikipedia page on computational archaeology describes archaeoinformatics as an emerging discipline. Is this a sign of a lack of confidence in forty years-worth of enterprise and development or is it instead an indication of growing self-assurance in the subject? In recent years other fields, including GIScience and Information Systems, have sought to evaluate their intellectual core and identity; this paper suggests that it is time that archaeological computing does likewise.

Core or Periphery? Digital Humanities from an archaeological perspective (Cologne Dialogue on Digital Humanities, 2012)

The relationship between Digital Humanities and individual humanities disciplines is difficult to define given the uncertainties surrounding the definition of Digital Humanities itself. An examination of coverage within Digital Humanities journals narrows the range but at the same time emphasises that, while the focus of Digital Humanities might be textual, not all textually-oriented disciplines are equally represented. Trending terms also seem to suggest that Digital Humanities is more of a label of convenience, even for those disciplines most closely associated with Digital Humanities. From an archaeological perspective, a relationship between Digital Archaeology and Digital Humanities is largely absent and the evidence suggests that each is peripheral with respect to the other. Reasons for this situation are discussed, and the spatial expertise of Digital Archaeology is reviewed in relation to Digital Humanities concerns regarding the use of GIS.  The conclusion is that a closer relationship is possible, and indeed desirable, but that a direct conversation between Digital Humanities, Digital Archaeology and humanities geographers needs to be established.