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  1. Subscribe to our mailing list to receive information about upcoming TAG meetings
  2. Archaeology and knowledge organization
  3. Research Group: Theory, representation and cultural politics
  4. Is the Truth Down There?: Cultural Heritage Conflict and the Politics of Archaeological Authority
  5. (PDF) Introduction in Public Participation in Archaeology | Suzie Thomas - fluncoverveli.ga

Current debates in archaeological research are determined by the challenges provided by the 3rd science revolution, the application of digital techniques, and big data.

The Stuff of Archaeology: An Introduction

Digital techniques, paleogenetics, advanced dating methods and non-destructive methods for documentation, recording and analyses of artefacts and archaeological sites provide today more accuracy and details than previous approaches. Although, there is an urgent need for reflections on how archaeologists integrate this new data in their interpretations and narratives.

This theme is a panel for scientific-political observations and discussions on how new forms of data and improved analytical tools have shaped archaeology within the last decades and how a critical evaluation of those data may be handled in the future. It is tremendously important to critically evaluate the new methods resulted from the digital turn in order to cope with the chances, risks, and challenges of the resulting data and interpretations.

Sessions and papers on multidisciplinary research are also welcome which highlight the additional value of cooperation between different sciences. Having its 25th jubilee in , the EAA is inviting sessions and papers which define the future of archaeological heritage and museum management for the decade Which challenges will occur during the new decade?

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Which strategies can be recommended for preventive archaeology while coping with a financial shortage? Who will be responsible for the scientific analysis of archaeological sites and artefacts? Are digital solutions or virtual reality going to replace standard mediation methods in archaeology? Which strategies can be recommended for artefact storage and presentation? What are best practices for dealing with looted archaeological artefacts? Sessions are also invited which present examples of "sharing heritage" or "citizen science" projects and discuss the values and risks of such approaches.

We invite contributions which discuss how to valorize sites, monuments, and artefacts as well as the importance of cultural heritage for society Faro Convention, UNESCO World Heritage in archaeology. Other topics on archaeological heritage and museum management are welcome: solutions for heritage management, social and economic impact of heritage conservation, preventive conservation, heritage legislation, provenance research, archaeological tourism, and sustainability.

This theme is devoted to all sessions and papers dealing with the impact of global change on humans in the past. It encourages contributions on paleoclimate, human-environment interactions, land use, land cover, as well as on collapse and resilience of societies due to catastrophic events. The archaeological record functions in manifold ways as a paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental archive which can be used to discuss the potential causal role of climate and environment in culture change. As excavation proceeds artefacts and ecofacts found within or associated with the contexts, along with any other useful samples are recovered, documented, stabilised or cleaned, labelled with their site and context reference and bagged for storage.

Approaches vary but the data from a typical archaeological excavation will include: Context records, usually on a standardised form. Over time many different versions of such forms exist, and co-ordinating the results from different recording forms is one of the challenges of using archaeological data.


These will combine some aspects of free text description and terms from established standard classification schemes for example Munsell soil colour charts [4]. Crucially the relationship of one context to others around it is also recorded above, below, touching etc. This provides a stratigraphy [5] of the site, with the general assumption that layers that are overlain by other layers are older, and those above, higher up in the stratigraphic sequence, are more recent. This provides relative dating for the artefacts contained within the layers or contexts.

Measured plan Wikipedia contributors c and section Wikipedia contributors d drawings, photographs and other images for example 3D scans , used to show the location of the site, and the location within the site of the contexts recorded, their relationships one to another, and their nature colour, texture etc.

Records of the artefacts found within contexts, either at the level of individual artefacts of particular interest, or as quantification by measures such as weight or number.

Archaeology and knowledge organization

Records of samples taken for detailed study off-site, for example for radiocarbon dating, or pollen study. Altogether, an excavation may well produce hundreds or thousands of such individual records. A modern excavation to current professional standards in the U. Archaeology Data Service will have a data management plan in place to ensure records are created properly, stored safely and can be accessed later.

A data management plan will cover: types of data being produced file structure, versioning and naming strategy metadata to be collected standards and quality assurance measures ethical and legal issues or restrictions on data sharing copyright and intellectual property rights of data data management roles and responsibilities plans for sharing data between project members data storage and back-up measures during the project costs and resources needed long term archiving of, and access to, data [ top of entry ].

Post-excavation analysis [6] will typically include identification, classification and quantification of artefacts and animal remains, and interpretation of the contexts identified.


Research Group: Theory, representation and cultural politics

It is essentially a specialist data management and organization exercise, though many practicing archaeologists may not think of it in those terms. This takes the data from the excavation and produces more structured information. Where resources and project-schedules allow, post-excavation work may start while the excavation is in progress, so that this information can be used to guide the investigation.

Post excavation work aims to gather information to answer questions. These might include what date were the contexts on the site deposited? What activities were taking place at that time? Which contexts on the site can be grouped to suggest the presence of former buildings or structures? Which contexts can be shown to be contemporary to suggest phases of development of the site over time? What connections did this site have to its immediate area, or to sites further away? What was life like for those who lived, worked, died and were buried here?

The excavation and post-excavation work will eventually create an archive consisting of the records created by excavation and post excavation work, and the artefacts and ecofacts themselves. This may be deposited in a museum, with the excavation archive providing the detailed provenance for those artefacts or ecofacts accessioned into the museums own record system. Good practice is that these datasets derived from excavation and post-excavation are made available through deposition with specialist archives, for example, the Archaeology Data Service based at York University in the U.

KO specialists are sometimes involved, as in the cases of Jean-Claude Gardin's team which developed a special indexing language Moscati and of University of South Wales Hypermedia Research Group which develops automatic indexing procedures for integrated archaeological information Binding et al. Pottery, or fired ceramic of other types, can last for thousands of years in a wide variety of conditions from scorching deserts to the sea floor.

Pottery is for this reason the most frequently found class of artefact from archaeological excavation. As a useful container which can be adapted for cooking, storage, packaging for transport, and as a decorative art form, pottery vessels are also fundamental to understanding the production, trade networks and social interactions in many past societies. The process of interpretation of pottery therefore makes a good illustration of the post-excavation process.

Is the Truth Down There?: Cultural Heritage Conflict and the Politics of Archaeological Authority

At the level of basic data collection, artefacts recovered from an excavation need to be identified, to support further analysis. Typically, for pottery, this will include identifying the form of the original vessel. Many other detailed approaches to pottery study are in use, for example to characterise the ceramic fabric it is made of, to identify the origin of the pottery from the petrology of inclusions in the fabric, or to assess use of the pot from preserved organic residues.

However, the basic step of identifying and recording what form of vessel a pottery sherd comes from illustrate the challenges. For documentation of vessel forms in the U. K, now part of the Heritage Data suite of linked data vocabularies for Cultural Heritage managed on behalf of the U.

This provides indexing and retrieval both by vessel form e. However, to generate useful information from the pottery, archaeologists often have need to analyse with greater analytical discrimination than can be achieved with indexing by thesaurus terms. Within archaeological discourse these classification schemes are typically known as typologies , type lists , or type series , though the terms are often applied loosely. A vessel will be assigned either type Dragendorff type 27 or a type 29 , not both.

As an example of the application of vessel form classification, the analytical technique of seriation was developed by the archaeologist Flinders Petrie in cf. Petrie needed to draw out dating information from a comparison of the form of pottery vessels found in contexts from different parts of a cemetery site at Diospolis Parva in Egypt, excavated in the s. The technique assumes that certain styles of vessel come into fashion, are used for a time, and then become obsolete, forming a bell-curve distribution of frequency over time Figure 1.

Analysis of the presence or absence, or relative frequency of different vessel forms occurring together could give a relative dating of the contexts studied. Petrie achieved this through the use of cardboard strips, used to record the presence of particular pottery vessel types in the graves that he was studying, then shuffling them manually to get the best fit — an amazing feat Figure 2. Though subject to critical challenge, the technique is still in use where chronological frameworks are poorly understood and other forms of dating are not available.

Applied across a site, seriation can help date contexts that are not connected stratigraphically, to produce a phasing Wikipedia contributors g of the development of a site. Other classes of artefact which change over time due to availability of technology or changing fashion, or deliberate replacement can also be included, for example brooches which change stylistically, or coins which may reflect changing political situations.

When many sites are compared, the presence of key pottery vessel forms, along with other artefacts types, and perhaps the presence of particular features or practices evidenced in an excavation, is referred to as an assemblage or culture Wikipedia contributors h.

(PDF) Introduction in Public Participation in Archaeology | Suzie Thomas - fluncoverveli.ga

However, a challenge faced by archaeologists in creating and using these knowledge organization systems or type series is the variability of pottery artefacts. Typically, in the pre-industrial period pots were hand-built or thrown. This variability makes it more difficult to choose the diagnostic features of the form of a pot on which to base a classification. Which variables actually indicate the work of a different maker, or changing fashions or styles over time which are of archaeological interest and which are simply the inherent variability in throwing or hand-forming the pots by the same potter?

As a result, there are many different schemes in use, covering both pottery vessel forms and a wide range of different artefact types.

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The use of common knowledge organization systems to describe pottery vessel forms could help speed analysis, and increase the potential for comparison with other datasets from other excavations. Standardization of the classification schemes in use is possible, but difficult to achieve in practice. Studies of archaeological artefacts lack the globally applicable core unifying principle of, for example, Linnaean taxonomy in biology [8].

The consequence is that a researcher will often find it difficult to reuse and reinterpret the analysis of a collection of artefacts when these have been classified in a different way to that which best meets the needs of the researcher. One possible future approach might be to apply the use of an overarching structured thesaurus to unify or concord the disparate classification schemes Dan Miles, Historic England, pers. Thesauri could allow for multiple labels, for example type attributions taken from different archaeological classification schemes, to be applied to the same concept.

An exciting new possible application could be to use computerised image recognition techniques to speed the process of identifying pottery types. Many different theories have been suggested and applied in archaeology. Among these are predictive theories like materialism and Darwinism, but also less predictive perspectives like semiotics, feminism and many others [9]. Research paradigms and theories influence the way researchers look at the world, the questions asked, the methods used, the interpretation of data etc.

We must therefore also expect that different paradigms and theories have important implications for classification of data in archaeology. Trigger pointed out an important connection:. Rouse presents and discusses kinds of classification in archaeology and call attention to the way in which archaeological analysis and taxonomy complement each other. Adams and Adams is an important investigation of classification in archaeology which is written by an archaeologist and a philosopher of science. That book relates classification to archaeological theory.

The analysis of pottery vessel forms by archaeologists illustrates the way in which data derived from real-world observation, classified to yield well-structured information, can contribute to the pursuit of knowledge — in this case as deeper understanding of the past. As a simple model for describing and conveying the process the three-tiered knowledge pyramid is considered relevant and useful. The fundamentally incomplete nature of the data at the base of the pyramid and the complexities of creating information structures that can be synthesised are continuing problems.

These indicate the over-simplification inherent in the pyramid model. The culture is named for the presence of large bell-shaped pottery beakers, often in association with bronze implements and tools Figure 3. These are found in many parts of Western Europe on site dating to around 2, to 1, BC. The knowledge that an archaeologist seeks is an understanding of the meaning of the comparatively rapid and widespread appearance of this culture.

Does it imply a large-scale movement of people using these beakers, bringing them with them to new lands? Or the presence of widespread trade or other forms of social contact between many different peoples, each adopting this new style of pottery?