3.260 Second World Archaeological Congress (106)

Mon, 17 Jul 89 17:52:34 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 260. Monday, 17 Jul 1989.

Date: Mon, 17 Jul 89 08:16:00 EDT
From: Sebastian Rahtz <spqr@electronics-and-computer-science.southampton.ac.
Subject: conference announcement


The Second World Archaeological Congress:

Communication and Archaeology: a global view
of the impact of information technology


The Second World Archaeological Congress will be held in
Venezuela or Columbia in September 1990, the venue to be
confirmed shortly. Included in the Congress will be a
series of sessions devoted to discussing the past, present
and future effect of information technology on archaeology.
In contrast to several existing forums for the presentation
of specialised contributions in the field of computer
applications in archaeology, the aim of these sessions is to
explore some of the more general issues raised by the new

Contributions are sought relating to three major topics:

+ Data Visualisation, including graphical or statistical
methods for exploring new data: The three-dimensional
data we record have often been reduced to two
dimensions in order to make them more tractable. Modern
data visualisation techniques now enable us to examine
such data from multiple viewpoints, and manipulated
them in ways which can bring out features hitherto
unobserved. In short, archaeologists are now in a
position to :hp3.use:ehp3. their recorded data more
fully than ever before. Although the resulting images
can be transmitted over the new networks, they are not
suitable for traditional publication. However, they
can be stored on such media as videodisc. Will this
have an impact on primary archaeological recording?

+ Information dissemination, and general communication
between archaeologists: Traditional methods of making
archaeological data available are cumbersome,
inadequate and expensive. In Third World countries,
this expense means that availability is usually highly
limited, involving a very small number of libraries and
academic centres. But now, the growing availability of
computer networks in all countries, as a result of
economic and other needs, is likely to mean that such
communication will be increasingly available to
archaeologists in all parts of the world. If
archaeological data dissemination, and archaeological
conversation more generally, take place over such
networks is it naive to hope for what might be termed
the democratisation of archaeological knowledge on a
global basis?

+ Formalising Archaeological Argument: Whether the use of
Artificial Intelligence techniques to enhance
archaeological reasoning processes by either forcing
practitioners to think more deeply about the underlying
nature of their assertions, interpretations and
inferences, or by making expertise more widely
available through computerised assistants, is a matter
for urgent debate.

Clearly, the analytical possibilities offered by new methods
have potential repercussions for both data collection during
the course of archaeological field work and in the higher
level stage of incorporating this information into our
interpretations of past human society.

All papers will be pre-circulated in full, and selected
participants will be asked to elaborate aspects of their
work in short presentations (10 minutes) as a prelude to
discussion. In addition, informal poster sessions will form
a integral part of the meetings. A concluding session will
sum up the overall effect, and discuss the immediate effects
of information technology on archaeological practice.

Abstracts should be received (indicating a firm intention to
participate) by the end of December 1989. The full text of
discussion papers will be required by the end of March 1990.
Enquiries and proposals for papers or posters should be sent

Dr Paul Reilly
IBM UK Scientific Centre
St. Clement Street
Winchester SO23 9DR
United Kingdom.

(e-mail address: reilly@bitnet.vnet)