The Emic, the Etic, and the Electronic: Digital Documentation in Northwestern Belize

Author(s): Sarah Jackson; Linda A. Brown; Brett A. Houk

Year: 2017


Twenty-five years of archaeological research in northwestern Belize have yielded a robust regional database, allowing a rich and diverse picture of ancient Maya life to emerge. As part of this research, multiple projects have recently adopted innovative digital technologies using new methods to record and envision ancient sites in novel ways. This paper presents some of the ways in which researchers have engaged with digital technologies that allow for the collection of new types of data, as well as renewed engagement with traditional archaeological data, with the overall goal of highlighting the array of methods used in this region and how they might be translatable to other Maya sites. In particular, our paper focuses on digital approaches used by the Say Kah and Chan Chich Archaeological Projects. Both projects use tablet-based paperless recording systems to streamline data collection. At Say Kah, the relational database is unique as it provides interpretive transformations by recording artifacts and features according to two cultural perspectives: archaeological and Classic Maya. The project at Chan Chich employs drones to map vast cleared areas and includes Structure from Motion documentation of excavations as a standard recording practice.

Cite this Record

The Emic, the Etic, and the Electronic: Digital Documentation in Northwestern Belize. Sarah Jackson, Linda A. Brown, Brett A. Houk. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431527)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15410