Mukurtu CMS: Differential Access for the Ethical Stewardship of Cultural and Digital Heritage

Presenter: Michael Ashley (Center for Digital Archaeology – UC Berkeley)

Archaeological research projects rarely occur in vacuums, but are situated in often-complex circles of interested parties – the stewards and stakeholders who may have rightful claims to the archaeological places and to the archaeological knowledge being withdrawn from them. As archaeologists, we are afforded a powerful position of deciding what is knowledge, what is data, who gets access, under what circumstances, if at all.

In this discussion, we will look at where we’re failing and succeeding to connect with stakeholder priorities for differential access to cultural content, and what this means for all of us in developing informed exchanges for digital archaeology. We’ll explore Mukurtu CMS, a free and open source platform designed specifically to address some of these challenges and how community based agile software development can help to humanize our discipline.

Mukurtu CMS has been built in collaboration with indigenous communities worldwide, and addresses the need for differential access to knowledge based on cultural protocols that are in practice within and around communities, and that define interactions with the public, researchers, governmental organizations, and archaeologists. Mukurtu CMS is both an ethos and real software, designed to promote ethical exchange from planning to publishing. We will discuss the roadmap and demonstrate the applications, released and forecast, including Mukurtu CMS, Mobile, Exhibit, and, and how they can be weaved into any archaeological endeavor.