Archaeology and the Information Age: A Global Perspective

By Paul Reilly; Sebastian Rahtz | Go to book overview

Preface

Readers should not regard this book as just another catalogue of the wonders of computer technology applied to archaeology, although we hope it will be as stimulating for those already heavily committed to information technology (IT), as for those who are concerned with its theoretical impact in the future, or who are unconvinced of its benefits. This volume records what we regard as an important time in the history of archaeological communication around the world. The technology has reached a stage where it is potentially of use to archaeologists of all kinds—with diverse interests—rather than to just those interested in quantitative analysis, the topic which many archaeologists still associate exclusively with computers. Yet, while it is cheap enough for all countries to be able to afford to use it, the rate of progress each year means that it is not easy to keep up with current work.

A glance at the available literature is sufficient to realize the pace of development within studies of computer applications to archaeology. There are many specialist journal publications. America has produced several newsletters edited by Sylvia Gaines: Newsletter for Computer Archaeology and Advances in Archaeological Computing; sadly both are now defunct; also from the USA is a newsletter on computing in anthropology (Computer Applications in Anthropology Newsletter). In Europe, Archeologia e Calcolatori started publication from Rome in 1990, while specialist journals include Science and Archaeology. The University of Århus produces the KARK newsletter; in the UK there is a specialist newsletter, Archaeological Computing Newsletter, which has increased in sophistication since its launch in 1985, and the yearly Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA) conferences have produced an important volume of proceedings every year since 1973 (since 1988 they have been published by British Archaeological Reports, Oxford). The journal proceedings of the international Archaeometry conferences include papers on computing, as do journals such as Science and Archaeology and Computers and the Humanities.

Since the excellent survey of Richards & Ryan (1985), there has been no general book in English on computers and archaeology. A bibliography of archaeological computing mainly in the UK is given in Ryan 1988. A bibliography based on Ryan, and updating him, appears as ‘Une bibliographie sur l’application de l’informatique en archéologie’ by D. Arroyo-Bishop & M.T. Lantada Zarzosa, published by the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in 1990. Djindjian (1990) has published an interesting bibliography of quantitative applications to archaeology as practised in France. A general volume, The Humanities Computing Yearbook, is published periodically by Oxford University Press (Lancashire & McCarty 1988; Lancashire 1991) and includes a section on archaeology.

The present book is not intended to rival, nor does it attempt to synthesize, these works. Rather, it is intended to place earlier work into a wider context, to show what global effect IT is having on archaeology.

This book has its origins in a set of precirculated papers (Reilly & Rahtz 1990a; Reilly & Rahtz 1990b; Reilly & Rahtz 1990c) discussed at the Second World

-xxi-

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Archaeology and the Information Age: A Global Perspective
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Contents xiii
  • List of Colour Plates (Between Pp. 104 and 105) xix
  • Preface xxi
  • References 75
  • Visualization 79
  • References 93
  • References 121
  • References 171
  • Analysis 175
  • References 272
  • Communication 311
  • References 321
  • Index 385
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