RT6 Thinking between the lines: conceptualising the future of archaeological databases

Alan Greene, Ian Johnson

This session will combine 5 minute lightning talks – appropriate for describing specific database examples, solutions, or methodological approaches – with a concluding round-table discussion that pulls together the threads of a more reflective approach to the conceptual structure of archaeological databases and the ways in which databases influence our thinking through constraints and facilitation. The last decade of innovation and development in archaeological DBMS has provided a multitude of platforms, techniques, vocabularies, and movements in the management of complex datasets collected in the field and laboratory, not to mention the incorporation of materials from GIS and other sister disciplines. Beyond their most common usage as simple storage and visualization receptacles, what are archaeological databases for and where are they headed? How do the rarely unified goals of data sharing, publication, and analysis influence the types of databases sought or produced by archaeologists?

How do data management models affect the types of analysis and argument made by archaeologists as they interpret the past? Participants presenting lightning talks are invited to bring a poster to the conference, which will be displayed during the sessions. Each block of lightning talks will be followed by a significant networking period (approx. 40 minutes) around the posters to allow immediate person-to-person discussion of the ideas presented and the development of new connections. In the concluding roundtable, we aim to bring together representatives of the major archaeological database platforms, as well as those concerned with semantic structure, metadata standards and repositories. Panelists will be invited to address the fundamental concepts and theoretical commitments that underlie archaeological databases, from HCI and software architectures, through relationships with the web and social media, to an increasingly connected internet of things.

This higher-level debate often takes a back seat to the practical issues of management, maintenance, and facilitation of other peoples’ data. We encourage submissions on any topic related to archaeological databases including, but not limited to: the database structures and concepts essential to the management of archaeological data; the relationship(s) between goals of data curation, analysis, and publication; data sharing standards and DBMS communication, interaction, and translation; appropriate chains of data production and curation from data collection devices to tertiary HCI and data export; integration of archaeological databases with the internet of things; the benefits and hindrances of ‘social’ archaeological databases; long term database sustainability as a possibility and goal; and the growing and changing roles of data management personnel, database administrators, and field archaeologists as data managers.

Comments are closed.