Challenges in Digital Archaeology

Modern archaeology is increasingly reliant on digital technology, from the documentation of finds and features – often directly in the field – through subsequent analyses and up to the resulting publications. This is, of course, quite wonderful, but this trend also presents archaeologists with previously unexpected challenges. Under the title “Archaeo-Informatics: Challenges in Digital Archaeology”, the Istanbul Department of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) and the Department of Settlement Archaeology of the Middle East Technical University (METU) are organising a conference series in which we aim to highlight digital archaeology’s problems and challenges and provide a platform for discussing these issues and developing new solutions.

For our inaugural meeting, to be held on 23.-25. November 2022 at the Istanbul Department of the DAI, we have decided to focus on three important topics in archaeo-informatics:

Digital documentation and documentation standards in archaeology. What are the challenges of digital documentation in the frame of archaeological research? What are our current documentation standards, how do these differ from project to project, and would implementing a set of common standards for all projects be a curse or a blessing?

Digital data analysis and archiving. What are the strengths and weaknesses of automated classification programmes? What is our experience working with database systems, and what are the practical challenges of working with databases in small, medium and large-scale projects? What are the difficulties of long-term archiving, and how can we ensure that a database remains technically accessible over time?

Digital data publication. What is the current demand for digital data publication in archaeology? Are the necessary platforms available? How accessible are these publications inside and outside of academia?