Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Conference on Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology edited by Stefano Campana, Roberto Scopigno, Gabriella Carpentiero and Marianna Cirillo. 2 vols, 1160 pages, illustrated throughout in black & white with 3 colour pages. Available both in print and Open Access. 228 2016. |
This volume brings together all the successful peer-reviewed papers submitted for the proceedings of the 43rd conference on Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology that took place in Siena (Italy) from March 31st to April 2nd 2015.
Altogether, within the four days of the conference 280 papers were presented in 48 sections divided into ten macro topics, 113 posters, 7 roundtables and 12 workshops. That number, in itself, has prompted a thought or two. Above all it says that CAA is very much alive and kicking, that it is in robust good health, and that it remains a wholly relevant force in the scientific community, fully engaged with the questions of the day, and a continuing focal point for the profession. All of that speaks well for the motto of CAA 2015: KEEP THE REVOLUTION GOING.
Although the significance of the motto is obvious, it is worth some thoughts. Few would deny that in the past 30 years or so, digital technologies have profoundly revolutionised archaeology – in the office and laboratory, in the field and in the classroom. The progressive introduction of digital techniques in the archaeological process has of course led to a general increase in efficiency. But perhaps more importantly it has provided a spur to the discussion of methodology and through that has strongly influenced not only the way we go about things but also the outcomes that we have been able to achieve.
The pioneering phase in the application of digital techniques in archaeological research has clearly been fruitful and today computer applications such as GIS, databases, remote sensing and spatial analysis as well as virtual and cyber archaeology are deeply embedded within our universities. This is all good, of course, but we must not assume that the task has been completed. An intrinsic revolutionary instinct towards technological development has been awakened. But it will only survive by virtue of the results that it brings about. Or using the words of our Chairman Prof Gary Lock: ‘Computers not only change the way we do things, but more importantly they change the way we think about what we do and why we do it’. The general thrust of this statement can be summed up and reinforced by recalling a quote from the philosopher Don Ihde, who has argued we should never forget that all technologies should be regarded as ‘cultural instruments’, which as well as strategies and methodologies implemented in our researches are also ‘non-neutral’.
So KEEP THE REVOLUTION GOING! is a motto that lays stress on the need to maintain innovation in archaeology through technological advances. But innovation must have at its root the fostering of critical thought and the framing of new archaeological questions. So there is much work still to be done, and fresh challenges to be faced in the months, years and decades ahead. -from the introduction by Stefano Campana and Roberto Scopigno
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