Time to tie up the tape measure?

The impact of new technologies and techniques in archaeology

Organiser(s); Mike Nevell (Buildings Archaeology Group, M.D.Nevell [at] salford.ac.uk), Ed James (Buildings Archaeology Group, edward_a_james [at] hotmail.co.uk) and Steve Allen (Graphics Archaeology Group, sallen [at] yorkat.co.uk)

The development of new technologies and methodologies for the archaeological investigation of standing buildings is continuing to yield exciting results. From the use of complex computer modelling to innovative new survey methods, the advances in technology in the last 15 years within the field of buildings archaeology has the potential to revolutionise the way we approach their study, and the level of understanding we are able to attain.

This first part of this session will be organised by the Buildings Archaeology Group and seeks to highlight some of these methods and assess their commercial and academic impact, whilst providing a flavour of where buildings archaeology and visualisation is headed in the 21st Century.

During the second part of the session, Steve Allen will consider the use of new technologies and methods in terms of their appropriateness to more traditional alternatives, and their ability to convey the messages we need them to. The visualisations which have been produced as a direct result certainly provide ‘impact’ in terms of impressive graphics and sometimes stunning new ways of looking at sites or artefacts. Yet have we ever actually stopped to ask whether these methods are always the most appropriate for the information we want to convey? Does the power of the image enhance our understanding of the subject and how easy is it to acquire the skills to operate and interpret cutting edge technology in the first place? If the skills to obtain this knowledge are not widely accessible, what does this mean for the future of current practitioners in the graphics field or indeed for new starters in the discipline?

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