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Friday, April 1 • 11:20 - 11:45
S10-06 Communication in archaeological fieldwork: Responses to a digital workflow

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Communication in Archaeological Fieldwork: Responses to a Digital Workflow

Leigh Anne Lieberman, Gregory Tucker

The emergence and adoption of convenient, reliable, and affordable technologies facilitates digital recording and processing in the course of field research, both improving the speed and quality of data entry and increasing access to data. This ‘digital turn’ in data collection and management has improved efficiency at the point of discovery, during secondary processing, and throughout later analyses. Consequently, much of the discussion surrounding the application of digital approaches in archaeology has focused on the data collection process and its subsequent impact on data dissemination. However, some of the secondary effects of this movement have not been fully evaluated, leaving us knowledgeable about the quantitative benefits of “going digital” but not about how this impacts researchers and how we conceptualize archaeological fieldwork and methodology.

Employing a completely digital workflow at the Pompeii Archaeological Research Project: Porta Stabia (PARP:PS) since 2010, we have observed that our approach has changed not only how we collect and employ data, but also how we interact with each other. We discuss results and interact with one another in different ways than before, with new expectations of what is possible in the field. Both specific details and synthetic ideas are able to be shared and collaboration takes place more quickly than ever thanks to our digital approach. Constant availability of digitally curated data has fostered an environment where asynchronous communication between team members is possible and, in many ways, preferred.

In this paper, we describe how the employment of tablets at the point of data collection, as the last link in an entirely digital workflow, has revolutionised not just the excavation, post-ex, and publication process, but also how we communicate at PARP:PS. Using our experiences as a case study, we aim to address not only the likely benefits that come out of our preference for asynchronous communication, but also the potential problems associated with this increased ease of contact as well as our experiences overcoming these issues. These concerns are not unique to PARP:PS, and thus, we hope to engage in a discussion of how the implementation of constantly evolving technologies influences archaeological practice, collaboration, and dialog in our discipline more broadly.


Dr. Sara Perry

University of York
University of York Twitter: @archaeologistsp Personal Page: http://saraperry.wordpress.com


Friday April 1, 2016 11:20 - 11:45 CEST
Domus Media, Auditorium 13