Session at CAA2011, Beijing: Digging with words: e-text and e-archaeology

Submissions are invited for the session, Digging with words: e-text and e-archaeology, at Computer Applications and Archaeology 2011, Beijing, April 12th-16th 2011. For further details, including author guidelines and submission information, please go to|default.

Deadline is 15th November 2011.

Digging with words: e-text and e-archaeology

text, digital libraries, text mining, grey literature

There are many complex ways in which archaeology is written about. Formal publications in journals, books, site reports, so-called ‘grey literature’, field notes, excavation daybooks, diaries and, latterly, websites and blogs, all contain a collective written discourse about the past, and how it is discovered. Added to this may be historical sources about sites and artefacts: if excavating a site of the Classical period in Greece for example, it is likely that the excavator will wish to consult Classical authors such as Strabo or Thucydides. Furthermore, evidence from text bearing objects such as inscriptions will heavily influence the interpretation of any site at which it is found. Hitherto, an excavator is likely to have accessed most secondary documentary evidence via institutional libraries and catalogues, or via booksellers or publishers. However, the relatively recent provision on a large scale of such documentary evidence digitally — the Perseus library at Tufts, and online inscriptions corpora such as the Inscriptions of Roman Cyrenaica and Inscriptions of Aphrodisias are good examples — combined with increasingly sophisticated techniques for interrogating that content, and extracting information automatically, prompts us to rethink the very nature of the evidence with which we can form interpretations about the past. Once distinctions between text and artefact, history (or philology) and archaeology were clear. Now however (for example) texts can be parsed for formal units of information and databases of entities built, which can then be used to underpin new knowledge or enhance resource discovery. On the other hand, the bases of comparanda for assessing archaeological data are becoming more widely available in digital form, along with digital representations of those artefacts, allowing deeper comparison and (textual) annotation. This prompts questions as to how the digital medium can be used in their interpretation. This session will seek to explore these distinctions by bringing together archaeologists with interests in textual evidence, textual scholars, historians and philologists. Themes will include, but are not limited to:

* Theoretical considerations of the nature of textual and archaeological evidence
* The use of standards and mark-up schemas in digitized archaeology texts
* Text mining and parsing (especially including geoparsing), and automatic entity extraction
* Linking textual evidence with archaeological evidence using linked data and semantic web technologies
* Provision for non-Latin texts in digital libraries for archaeology, with an emphasis on Chinese and other Asian scripts particularly encouraged

Author: Stuart Dunn

I do various things, but mainly I am Professor of Spatial Humanities at King's College London's . My interests include things computational, cartographic and archaeological.

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