The Conclusions of the Conclusions

This is it, folks. The concluding paragraph of my dissertation. It’s a bit melodramatic, like my own self. On to new adventures!

A full account of theoretically informed, activist, digital archaeology is beyond the confines of a single dissertation. It is a collective effort, forged by a community of passionate, informed, critical makers in archaeology. This community has been built through the strange intimacy of social media, during sessions at academic meetings, and by friendships that can only form in grubby trenches. As archaeology intermingles with new media, visual studies, materiality, and other interdisciplinary forces, encountering 3-D printing, augmented reality, and other polyvalent digital artifacts, my contribution to this community is a sounding-board to facilitate critical discussions in the field. The tradition of craft in archaeology has been brutally squandered; as the de-skilling and devaluation of archaeologists continues through the culture of academic underrepresentation, lack of training, and a world-wide paucity of funding for cultural heritage, recognition for the origin of archaeological data and its relative reliability has dwindled. Even as complex network analyses of migratory patterns, massive relational databases, and vast 3-D reconstructions of Roman cities are created, the underlying data relies on the skilled labor of craftsmen and craftswomen in archaeology. A better archaeology is a participatory, multivocal, craft-based archaeology that recognizes the value of both dirt and digital archaeologists. Using digital media to highlight inequity, to bring the voices of stakeholders into relief, to de-center interpretations, and to make things and share them is a gift to archaeology, and a threat, and a promise.

Author: colleenmorgan

Dr. Colleen Morgan (ORCID 0000-0001-6907-5535) is the Lecturer in Digital Archaeology and Heritage in the Department of Archaeology at the University of York. She conducts research on digital media and archaeology, with a special focus on embodiment, avatars, genetics and bioarchaeology. She is interested in building archaeological narratives with emerging technology, including photography, video, mobile and locative devices. Through archaeological making she explores past lifeways and our current understanding of heritage, especially regarding issues of authority, authenticity, and identity.

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