Making Quality Interpretations in the Ever-Expanding World of Digital Data

Author(s): Jennie Sturm

Year: 2018


Digital data collection is often efficient, cost-effective, and a tremendous accompaniment to other archaeological collection methods like excavation. Furthermore, digital data can be used to generate measurements that are simply not possible with analog data. However, as computing technology continues to become faster, more powerful, and cheaper, and the ease of collecting massive amounts of data increases, it is fair to ask: Are our abilities to analyze and interpret these data keeping up? This paper addresses this question at a time in archaeology when digital methods are more accessible than ever, and where processing data requires little more than the push of a button to run "black box" functions without really understanding the theory behind it. In turn, the interpretation of such data often takes a back seat and little is ultimately added to the anthropological understanding of a site. By refocusing efforts to use digital data the way analog data was once used (i.e., intentionally applied with full knowledge of the method and theory behind such data), archaeologists will be in a better position to use digital data that supports efficient and well-informed research.

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Making Quality Interpretations in the Ever-Expanding World of Digital Data. Jennie Sturm. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444869)

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Abstract Id(s): 20484