Rethinking Assemblages in the Digital Age

Author(s): Rebecca Bria

Year: 2017


Archaeologists have long drawn on technological advances from other disciplines to create new ways of visualizing and classifying data. Relational databases in particular have been a cornerstone of archaeological inquiry into material assemblages, whether sets of artifacts and their attributes or constellations of sites across regions. But how have new technologies (e.g., spatial, three-dimensional, mobile, and digitally collaborative platforms) enhanced achaeologists' ability to trace, and ultimately understand, complex networks of social and physical relationships between humans, things, and spaces? How can new materialist theories, with their sharp focus on the matrices or assemblages of materials that constitute any archaeological object or subject, lead us to rethink how we develop and apply digital technologies in archaeology? This paper offers insights from multiple years of digital archaeological research in the highland Andes to combine recent developments in digital and theoretical archaeology. It argues that the relational structure and ontology of many digital data applications can enhance archaeological understanding of human-material dependencies. It contends that digital archaeology, with its unique ability to trace human-material relationships across time and space, can greatly contribute to contemporary debates regarding the social and physical environment.

Cite this Record

Rethinking Assemblages in the Digital Age. Rebecca Bria. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431590)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17495