Archaeological Data and Small Projects: A Draft

I have completed a draft of my paper, “Archaeological Data and Small Projects: A Case Study from the Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project” for the Archaeological Institute of America’s annual meeting later this week.

I have blogged on this already and circulated the draft for feedback from some remarkable co-authors and colleagues. As they will undoubtedly notice, I took some of their advice and ignored some of it. Most of the advice I ignored was not because it was bad, but because it involved too substantial a reworking of my paper.

As per usual in my papers, I try to do too many things here.

1. I attempt to offer a very abbreviated “sociology” of the data collection processes and decision making from the Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project.

2. In a cursory way, I attempted to define small and large archaeological projects based on their access to resources, and, then argue that these resources shape the way that these projects use technology.   

3. I attempt to hint at the impact our technologies and data structures had on the kinds of analysis we can produce, but I also leave certain questions open. For example, I recognize the tension between the need for data standards and the potential false hope that highly standardized datasets can offer scholars interested in comparative analysis between projects.

These three goals would probably be difficult to carry out in a 10,000 word article, much less a 2,000 word conference paper (and a longer version of this paper is already floating around in my head). On the other hand, this paper does serve as an interesting short exploration of these ideas, and I suppose that’s the beauty of a conference paper (especially one given in the last session of a conference when most participants have departed!).


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