Is big digital data different? Towards a new archaeological paradigm

Huggett, J. (2020) Is big digital data different? Towards a new archaeological paradigm. Journal of Field Archaeology, 45(sup1), s8-s17. (doi: 10.1080/00934690.2020.1713281)

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Abstract

Archaeological data is always incomplete, frequently unreliable, often replete with unknown unknowns, but we nevertheless make the best of what we have and use it to build our theories and extrapolations about past events. Is there any reason to think that digital data alter this already complicated relationship with archaeological data? How does the shift to an infinitely more flexible, fluid digital medium change the character of our data and our use of it? The introduction of Big Data is frequently said to herald a new epistemological paradigm, but what are the implications of this for archaeology? As we are increasingly subject to algorithmic agency, how can we best manage this new data regime? This paper seeks to unpick the nature of digital data and its use within a Big Data environment as a prerequisite to rational and appropriate digital data analysis in archaeology, and proposes a means towards developing a more reflexive, contextual approach to Big Data.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Huggett, Dr Jeremy
Authors: Huggett, J.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Archaeology
Journal Name:Journal of Field Archaeology
Publisher:Taylor and Francis
ISSN:0093-4690
ISSN (Online):2042-4582
Published Online:12 February 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Author
First Published:First published in Journal of Field Archeology 45(sup1):s8-s17
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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