Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Mobilizing the Past for a Digital Future: An interesting opportunity to broaden the discussion

I stumbled upon this two-day conferencefrom February 27-28th 2015 at the Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston Massachusetts, which was designed to bring together experts in archaeology and computing to discuss the use, creation and implementation of mobile digital technologies to advance archaeology.

The sessions and workshops that were provided during this conference were designed to open the dialogue between archaeologists while learning, discussing and designing ways in which digital technologies may be implemented across archaeological projects. The overarching aim of the conference is to “ synthesize current practices and establish a blueprint for creating best practices and moving forward… in archaeology”. This theme has been ubiquitous throughout our class over the course of the semester.

Even though this conference has passed, it is a representation of ‘how to do’ digital archaeology in the field, a concept that has been brought up several times in class discussions. Taking into account various economic and temporal and spatial constraints that are often a burden when conducting archaeological field world, this technology is being presenting to archaeologists as a viable option for conducting emerging practices in their research.

From the conference program available online, it can be seen that there was a wide range of speakers, talks and workshops that were available at the conference, from “Digital Imaging and Spatial Analysis in Archaeology” to  “Pedagogy, Data Curation and Reflection”. Investigating topics such as accessibility, the broader significance of digital archaeology and how technologies are changing the field of archaeology highlight a few of workshops that were available during this conference.

I thought that this was a particularly interesting opportunity to highlight as it demonstrates that the topics being explored in our class are moving beyond the classroom walls and engaging in broader dialogues throughout the archaeological community.


Josh Herter said...

It is interesting that the conference was held at the Institute of Technology rather than the Faculty of Anthropology-Archaeology. Whether this was a simply a matter of needing an available space at the time or to make it easier to showcase different technologies could have certain implications. Have you seen any follow-up articles on the conference?

I think these interactions between archeologist and computer scientist are the best way to move digital archaeology forward. It is my hope one day that we will be able to understand each other's language or at least each other's field of study so that we can develop better and more archaeology-focused technologies. We have come across a number of different interpretations of 'digital archaeology' over the duration of this course and conferences such as this one continue this trend by bridging the gap between the two sides

Erin Averett said...

Our decision to hold the workshop at WIT was primarily logistical - one of our co-organizers is faculty there and we also hoped the central location would make it easier for attendees. But we do agree that close collaboration between computer scientists and archaeologists is the way of the future!
We are currently working on publishing the papers from the workshop - our goal is for the publication to appear next spring. It will be published by University of North Dakota digital press as well as an online component through CoDA's Mukurtu.