Digital Heritage and Archaeology in Practice

Data, Ethics, and Professionalism


Presentation, Teaching, and Engagement

“Expertly surveys the rapidly expanding terrain of digital heritage studies in ways that will appeal to both newcomers and experts. The chapters skillfully weave together methodological experimentation, pedagogical innovation, and ethical responsibility.”—Edward González-Tennant, author of The Rosewood Massacre: An Archaeology and History of Intersectional Violence  
“Champions diversity in the voices it brings to the table. Should be core reading material for any and all digital heritage and archaeology programs.”—Catriona Cooper, Royal Holloway, University of London    
The two volumes of Digital Heritage and Archaeology in Practice bring together archaeologists and heritage professionals from private, public, and academic sectors to discuss practical applications of digital and computational approaches to the field. Contributors thoughtfully explore the diverse and exciting ways in which digital methods are being deployed in archaeological interpretation and analysis, museum collections and archives, and community engagement, as well as the unique challenges that these approaches bring.

In the first volume, Data, Ethics, and Professionalism, essays address methods for preparing and analyzing archaeological data, focusing on preregistration of research design and 3D digital topography. Next, contributors use specific case studies to discuss data structuring, with an emphasis on creating and maintaining large data sets and working with legacy data. Finally, the volume offers insights into ethics and professionalism, including topics such as access to data, transparency and openness, scientific reproducibility, open-access heritage resources, Indigenous sovereignty, structural racial inequalities, and machine learning.

The second volume, Presentation, Teaching, and Engagement, begins with discussions of digitization at museums and other heritage institutions, including ethical questions around access to archives associated with descendant communities and the use of metadata standards to preserve records for the future. Next, case studies provide several examples of public and community engagement with archaeology using digital tools. The volume concludes with information on ways archaeologists have taught digital methods to both students and professionals, addressing field school contexts and open source software for mapping and 3D imaging.

These two volumes highlight the importance of community, generosity, and openness in the use of digital tools and technologies. Providing a purposeful counterweight to the idea that digital archaeology requires expensive infrastructure, proprietary software, complicated processes, and opaque workflows, these volumes privilege perspectives that embrace straightforward and transparent approaches as models for the future.  
Ethan Watrall is associate professor of anthropology, director of the Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative, and director of the Digital Heritage Imaging and Innovation Lab at Michigan State University. Lynne Goldstein is professor emerita of anthropology and founding director of the Campus Archaeology Program at Michigan State University. She is the coauthor of Aztalan: Mysteries of an Ancient Indian Town. Goldstein is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for American Archaeology.

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