Session: #175

Theme & Session Format

Digital archaeology, science and multidisciplinarity: new methods, new challenges
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Research Data and Digital Corpora: From Archaeological Findings to Artefacts of the Future
Corpora are central epistemic instruments for studying the ancient world. In an age of discussion about post-factualism, they can make the production of knowledge more transparent. But while corpora of ancient texts (‘text-editions’) have established a science of their own, to date there have been few studies of the epistemological basis and practices of knowledge production for corpora of ancient objects (‘thing-editions’). Such studies are all the more important given that we are currently faced with the challenge of how archaeological remains can be (re)presented digitally in their materiality and rich diversity.
During the course of digitisation, it is important to revisit questions that already arose in the 19th century. On the other hand, the EAC’s Amersfoort Agenda (Schut et al. 2015) sets out some very useful pointers for addressing the challenges of the 3rd science revolution and highlights the need for some serious reconsideration, or “re-engineering”, of archaeological processes that were established in a different era when many of the tools we now have for data recording; analysis; research synthesis; and publication, were simply not available.

With such considerations in mind, our session aims to direct attention towards both the history of knowledge and the digital future of ‘thing-editions’. A particular focus will be placed on the role of digital corpora as an important tool for the preservation of cultural heritage internationally. Inasmuch as publishing research data make a substantial contribution towards the democratisation of knowledge and information, a discussion of the ethics and governance of digitisation is vital. This session will also consider ways of encouraging and supporting better sharing and re-use of heritage data, including:
- cooperative and multidisciplinary research tools.
- open access data and publication.
- wider use of open source software.
- Communities of Practice for IT users.
- FAIR digital data standards.
Digital corpora, Cultural Heritage preservation, History of knowledge, Ethics, Data culture
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Main organiser:
David Wigg-Wolf (Germany) 1
Keith May (United Kingdom) 2,3
Kerstin Hofmann (Germany) 1
Courtney Nimura (United Kingdom) 4
1. Römisch-Germanische Kommission (RGK) des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts
2. Historic England
3. University of South Wales
4. School of Archaeology, University of Oxford