S24
Thinking beyond the tool: archaeological computing and the interpretative process

Convenors:
Angeliki Chrysanthi (University of Southampton)
Patricia Murrieta Flores (University of Southamtpon)
Constantinos Papadopoulos (University of Southampton)
Location:
Wills 3.30
Start time:
18 December, 2010 at 9:00
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

The purpose of this session is to investigate how computational approaches in archaeology influence the way archaeologists and the public perceive and interpret the past, and analyse whether the various methodological tools manage to incorporate essential variables and factors existed in the past.

Long abstract:

The use of innovative technologies has changed not only the way we practice archaeology, but also the way we understand and interpret the past. Along with these powerful tools, a series of issues related to the theoretical aspects of their application have emerged. Developed in other disciplines and for diverse purposes, technologies have not yet adapted to accommodate the needs of archaeological research. Although they have been fully integrated into our discipline, in many cases the assessment and incorporation of essential variables and factors in the models produced remains limited. Additionally, the interpretative process is not only influenced by the use of these methodological tools, but also by the way we as archaeologists manage the excavated and collected data making use of our background, stimuli and biases to externalise our reasoning and produce new versions of the past. Some of these issues have already been considered in the context of certain methodological tools, but there is still fertile field for vivid discussion. Spatial Analysis in GIS, Computer Graphics and technologies in Cultural Heritage Management are only some of the areas that these theoretical pursuits can be fruitfully applied. This session is intended (1) to discuss the underlying theoretical concepts, (2) to examine the extent to which the various constraints alter our perception and interpretations about the past, and finally, (3) to investigate the future directions of these relatively new approaches from a theoretical perspective.