The first session of the Institute for Digital Archaeological Method & Practice was held successfully at MSU August 17 through 22, thanks to a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Organized by Michigan State University’s Department of Anthropology and MATRIX: The Center for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences, this two-year institute is training 32 archaeologists and students in critical digital skills and technologies. The goal of the institute is to build capacity beyond the typical digital tools used by archaeologist (such as databases and GIS) to strengthen innovation in how archaeology is taught, researched, and disseminated to the public.
Participants hailed from a wide range of sectors, including national parks, private cultural resource management firms, academic programs, and museums. This first session provided participants with hands-on instruction and experimentation in a wide variety of critical digital technologies such as digital project management, linked open data, web mapping, and augmented reality. At the end of the 6 days of workshops and lectures, each participant envisioned and pitched a project which they will further develop and build over this year at their home institutions, with ongoing mentorship from the institute faculty. “The projects (all) represent an exciting trend in archaeology – integrating digital methods into the core practices of archaeological research, scholarly communication, outreach, and engagement,” says Dr. Ethan Watrall, who is co-Director of the Institute with Dr. Lynne Goldstein.
During this academic year, participants will post to the Institute’s website (digitalarchaeology.msu.edu) with updates on their project’s progress. Next summer’s meeting will allow them to refine their plans, attend sessions on other topics (such as sustaining digital archaeology projects, copyright, and intellectual property) and then launch their projects at the end of the Institute. The directors will also be launching an online community that will continue the mission of supporting digital archaeology into the future.
Images, top to bottom: Participants at the conference, with Dr. Lynne Goldstein presenting; Dr. Ethan Watrall addresses the participants
This article is in the Department of Anthropology’s Fall 2015 Newsletter, see the entire newsletter here.