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Archaeological tower blocks…? Computational and Theoretical ghettos


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A bit of a rant at the way in which archaeological theory and archaeological computing were becoming disjointed.

Still current today unfortunately...

Published in: Education, Technology
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Archaeological tower blocks…? Computational and Theoretical ghettos

  1. 1. Archaeological tower blocks…? Computational and Theoretical ghettos Paul Cripps, Postgraduate research student, University of Southampton CAA UK, Southampton, January 20th 2005
  2. 2. Archaeological computing today <ul><li>DBMS used on many projects </li></ul><ul><li>GIS used on increasing number of projects </li></ul><ul><li>Digital images and image processing techniques common </li></ul><ul><li>Word-processors ubiquitous </li></ul><ul><li>Rare to see a Project Design with no mention of a website! </li></ul><ul><li>Specialist conferences such as CAA and VAST provide fora for discussing new ideas </li></ul>
  3. 3. Archaeological computing today <ul><li>New technologies require increasingly specialist approaches… </li></ul><ul><li>…often involving dedicated computer scientists </li></ul><ul><li>At the same time, formerly specialist applications available to all e.g. database development, GIS, static web-design using html </li></ul>
  4. 4. Archaeology; the bigger picture <ul><li>Conferences such as TAG all but withdrawn from anything related to computers </li></ul><ul><li>Computing often seen as purely practical with no theoretical basis </li></ul><ul><li>Can be seen to be associated with rise in accessibility to software applications e.g. MS Access </li></ul><ul><li>The idea that learning the Access Wizards is all you need to be a database administrator… </li></ul>
  5. 5. Button monkeys…? <ul><li>Archaeological computing has a significant theoretical basis </li></ul><ul><li>e.g. web-design including dynamic approaches and the semantic web </li></ul><ul><li>e.g. computer graphics and 3D reconstruction </li></ul><ul><li>e.g. (spatial) databases </li></ul>
  6. 6. Shiny things… <ul><li>Not all archaeological computing applications have any basis in theory… </li></ul><ul><li>…or even relate to the real-world! </li></ul><ul><li>Possible to be innovative and cutting edge and have some grounding…? </li></ul>
  7. 7. Towerblocks…? <ul><li>Fora becoming increasingly specialised and disjointed </li></ul><ul><li>Theorists can benefit from archaeological computing e.g. structured recording methods </li></ul><ul><li>Reintegration…? </li></ul>