Unintended Consequences of Digitalization in Archaeology: A Cautionary Tale

Author(s): Michael Polk

Year: 2018


We are hurtling swiftly into the digital realm, finding faster and more complex ways to record and excavate sites, analyze data, and publish results. While most of this wave of increasing digitalization seems a good thing, all is never what it seems. In this paper, I explore some pitfalls of this ever speedier and efficient mode of archaeology. Most will recognize the oft described short lifespan of digital formats and the need to migrate data to new formats. But, it is highly unlikely that this will always be done, leaving behind vital data lost to antiquity. In addition, there will be the loss of archaeologists’ analytical skills, a tendency to rely too much on digital archives, the loss of the in-field thought process, losing the opportunity to build on past professionals’ data, and, perhaps most importantly, the creation of the ever-expanding archival black hole

Cite this Record

Unintended Consequences of Digitalization in Archaeology: A Cautionary Tale. Michael Polk. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2018 ( tDAR id: 441323)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 887