UWM prof helps edit book on digital archaeology

In the 21st century, archaeology is conducted with laptops, tablets, drones and sophisticated software as much as with shovels, picks and pith helmets. From drones in the Andes to iPads at Pompeii, to digital workflows in the American Southwest, technology provides both solutions and novel challenges for field archaeologists.

A new digital book, “Mobilizing the Past for a Digital Future: The Potential of Digital Archaeology,” brings together 20 papers authored by the most creative thinkers on technology and archaeological field practice.

Derek B. Counts

Edited by Derek B. Counts, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee professor of art history, with Erin W. Averett (Creighton University) and Jody M. Gordon (Wentworth Institute of Technology), the volume is a survey of new technology that opens with a sweeping survey of the intellectual and practical issues surrounding digital practices in archaeology and concludes with two critical reflections.

“‘Mobilizing the Past’ originated as an effort to understand the potential of digital tools in archaeological workflows, stemming from our own experience with mobile technology on the Athienou Archaeological Project in Cyprus,” Counts said.

The book emerged from a workshop (funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, for which Counts was a co-principal investigator) held in 2015 at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston that convened many of the leading practitioners of digital archaeology in the U.S. for a weekend of dialogue.

The book is being published digitally by Digital Press at the University of North Dakota during International Open Access Week (Oct. 24-30) and is available as a free, open-access download with online supplemental material or in paper form from Amazon.com.

“It was particularly important to develop and release this book as an open-access, peer-reviewed publication because so many of the most technologically-sophisticated archaeologists have embraced the open-source and open-access movement,” said Bill Caraher, the publisher and a contributor. “It’s great that the book appears during International Open Access Week.

Note: Check UWM Report in the coming days for an excerpt from this book.

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