Digital Practice at CAA Tubingen

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The Call for Papers for CAA 2018 to be held in Tübingen, 19th-23rd March, 2018 is open until 29th October 2017. There are two exciting sessions focusing on Digital Practice and Digital Scholarship in archaeology. Both these sessions in their different ways explore the value of digital practice to the discipline and to practitioners.

To save you looking, I have attached them below. We welcome all view points. If you would like to deliver a 15 minute viewpoint or 5 minute flash statement at the round table, or present a 10 minute paper please make your submission here or contact me.

S3 Digital Archaeology Scholars in a Changing World: Problems, Perspectives, and Challenges

Advances in the use of digital and computational methods in archaeology have encouraged great hope among archaeological computing practitioners regarding the potential of digital archaeology to transform archaeology as a discipline. Such an optimism was apparent in the diverse response received at the “Challenging Digital Archaeology” sessions organised in CAA 2014 and CAA 2015 (Hugget 2015 https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/opar.2014.1.issue-1/opar-2015-0003/opar-201 5-0003.xml). Nonetheless, positive views on the future of digital archaeology often come into contrast with the reality in academia for most archaeological computing practitioners, who sometimes face significant challenges in making their work accepted as genuine archaeological research and are often considered as “hybrid scholars”. Digital archaeology specialists often find themselves into an in-between space comprised of two or more disciplines, trying to create their own distinct identity, demonstrate their value, and get credit for their contributions to these fields. Academic hierarchies, conservatism, and established processes and practices are only a few of the challenges that hinder digital archaeologists from securing their status in academia. At the same time, digital and computational approaches to archaeology have created continuous needs for new modes of research, evaluation, collaboration, teaching, and publication that don’t always conform well with traditional academic practices. The focus of this session is on the role of digital archaeology scholars in a changing world with constant transformations in the academic ecosystem. Participants in the session are expected to contribute short papers of no more than 10 minutes. A ten-minute discussion will follow after each talk, while the session will conclude with a general discussion (30 minutes). Contributions that discuss philosophical and theoretical aspects of digital practice and scholarship are especially encouraged, as well as reflective works drawing from personal experience in distinct digital archaeology fields. Some relevant topics include but are not limited to: -What is the value or potential of digital archaeology research and how this is reflected in or contrasted with perceptions of digital scholarship in the wider discipline of archaeology? -To what extent are digital outputs and digital creations (e.g agent-based models, virtual worlds etc. ) accepted as genuine archaeological research? -What is the contribution of digital archaeology to new forms of research (e.g. crowdsourcing) and teaching practices (e.g. MOOCs, SPOCs, serious games etc)? -In what ways trends in computational archaeology for open data and open software policies, as well as reproducible research, could transform archaeological scholarship and publication practices? -To what degree the role of Digital Archaeology practitioners ties in with the concepts of hybrid-scholars and alt-academics discussed in Digital Humanities?

Eleftheria Paliou, Jeremy Huggett, Konstantinos Papadopoulos

S7 What is the Value of Digitally Mediated Archaeology?

For more than six decades archaeologists have been exploring the power of computer-based methods and digital technologies to advance archaeological inquiry and practice. Successive cohorts of CAA members have been, quite rightly, anxious to articulate the relevance and impact of their work to archaeology in general. However, Costopoulos in ‘Digital Archeology Is Here (and Has Been for a While)’ Frontiers in Digital Humanities 3:4 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fdigh.2016.00004 suggests that there has been too great a focus on debating digital approaches and tools as objects of study and argues that far more emphasis should be placed on articulating the practical benefits of deploying digital tools in archaeology. In this Round Table session we ask “what is the value of digitally mediated archaeological practice?” We will question whether digital archaeology is merely the latest ephemeral fashion – just another technological fetishism, a significant upgrade to traditional methods, or an important new paradigm for archaeological practice. This round table welcomes participants from all segments of archaeological practice including but not limited to university-, state-, museum-, commercial unit-, and public-archaeology.  This format of this Round Table will be a series of pairs or triplets of presenters offering short points of view (c.15 minutes or less) followed by periods of moderated discussion, chaired in rotation by the organisers. We also welcome ‘flash statements’ (less than five minutes). The session will be concluded with an open dialogue based on the accumulated discussion and a wrap-up report by one of the organisers, summarising the discussion and suggesting follow-ups. Some potential discussion points: What benefits does digital archaeology offer? How do we evaluate it? How should we evaluate effectiveness and impact compared with traditional techniques? How might we best monitor and track progress? What new benefits could we propose to archaeology more generally? How does digital archaeology better connect us to other disciplines, the heritage sector and the public? Please contact the organisers if you wish to offer a point of view or flash statement.

Daria Hookk, Paul Reilly, Jeremy Huggett, Irina Grevtsova, Sorin Hermon, Franco Niccolucci

 

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Different expressions of the same mode: apprehending the world through practice, and making a mark

TAGsoton next week. I’m presenting in session 5 with my friend and collaborator Stefan Gant from the Department of Fine Art in the University of Northampton.

We will explain more in the session I’m co-Organising with Gareth Beale who is Digitally Creative in Archaeology at the University of York

If you are at TAG on Wednesday 21st December 2016 Please join us in Session 5 & 10

S5. Digital Visualisation beyond the Image: Archaeological Visualisation Making in Practice

This is the abstract for our paper

Different expressions of the same mode: apprehending the world through practice, and making a mark

In this paper we discuss pertinent features of shared experience at the excavations of an Iron Age Hillfort at Bodfari, North Wales, referencing artist, archaeologist and examples of seminal art works and archaeological records resulting through the collaboration. We explore ways along which archaeological and artistic practices of improvisation become entangled and productive through their different modes of mark making. We contend that marks and memories of artist and archaeologist alike intra-actively emerge through the object of study, the tools of exploration, and the practitioners themselves, when they are enmeshed in the cross-modally bound activities of remote sensing, surveying, mattocking, troweling, drawing, photographing, videoing, sound recording, and so on. These marks represent the signatures of the often anonymous practitioners, the voice of the deposits as well as the imprint of the tools, and their interplay creates a multi-threaded narrative documenting their modes of intra-action, in short their practices. They occupy the conceptual space of paradata, and in the process of saturating the interstices of cognitive artefacts they lend probity to their translations in both art form and archive.

Qian specular.jpg

RTI of seminal artwork by stefan “Linear Phrasing, Gant, S. 2016. Card” Here I’m reappropriating my hand gestures and illuminating them virtually…

Husks, Seeds and winter is coming

It’s autumn here and the farmers are still working hard in the countryside to gather in the last of their crops and prepare their fields for the future. The grain harvest looks to be bountiful; winnowed husks given to the winds; the precious seeds meticulously separated, stored and preserved.

Husks and seeds have captured my imagination at the moment. I’m working on a paper which explores some potentialities of additive manufacturing (AM) technologies, e.g., 3D printing, to better inform us about archaeological remains – physical deposits, structures and objects – and the methods archaeologists deploy to ‘record’, ‘restore’ or ‘preserve’ them.

Researchers around the world are doing extraordinary creative things with AM technology. Museum curators, for example, at the Smithsonian in USA , are able to scan exquisite, rare and exciting, materially vibrant objects from around the world and make them available to be rematerialised anywhere else on the planet possessing an internet connection, a web device, and a re-fabrication unit. This is without a doubt a novel, profoundly important, multi-valent arena in the cultural heritage industry in which many new voices can be added to the narrative.

But what are these objects that are being created? They aren’t exactly copies because they can be scaled up or down, reiterated in different materials, at uneven resolutions, features enhanced, and so on. Yes, they resemble the prototype they are based on, but they are not the same. In some ways they are like our autumn husks, empty, devoid of content, or filled with an undifferentiated, but expensive and sterile polymer-impregnated space. On the surface they may be aesthetically pleasing, indeed very cool or sexy. However, more prosaically, like the original object they were based on, they are still subject to decay, mishandling and abuse, and so, ironically, as Victor Buchli (2010) shows, it is the “immaterial code” that the printers use to reprint the object of interest that emerges as the most stable entity in this extended assemblage. Both the old originals and the new originals are mortal. They are potent, but not as virile as those digitally recorded prototypical encoded seeds, immutable, transcendent, and promiscuous, and instantly transportable to any transcultural domain to be reproduced, abused or, possibly, recontextualised.

Ontologically fecund, but winter is coming

CAA2015, Siena Round Table session proposal

So my academic year kicks off with a joint proposal, with my good friends and colleagues Jeremey Huggett (University of Glasgow) and Gary Lock (University of Oxford), for a round table session at the Digital Archaeology conference highlight of the year: the International CAA 2015, to be held in Sienna 30th March — 3rd April. What a problem to have!

As we agreed in our well attended and lively CAA2014 session held in Paris, we are seeking to continue the discussion and start defining concrete steps to help move our digital archaeology to a new level. Here is the proposal we just submitted to the CAA 2015 Siena organisers. Comments and contributions welcome.

CAA2015, Siena, Round Table session proposal
“Challenging Digital Archaeology – the discussion continues”
Jeremy Huggett, Gary Lock, Paul Reilly

Following on from the vibrant discussions at the CAA 2014 round table “What do you want from Digital Archaeology”, the premise of this session is to develop and refine some grand disciplinary challenges which will generate transformative impetus and direction to the practice of digital archaeology and at the same time contribute significantly to the development of theories and methods in the discipline of archaeology more generally.

In this session we invite contributions which discuss areas which can truly revolutionise and challenge digital archaeology, and at the same time seek to engage the international expertise of CAA to help identify and agree some concrete steps to engage with selected grand disciplinary challenges.