Data legacies, epistemic anxieties, and digital imaginaries in archaeology

Huggett, J. (2022) Data legacies, epistemic anxieties, and digital imaginaries in archaeology. Digital, 2(2), pp. 267-295. (doi: 10.3390/digital2020016)

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Archaeology operates in an increasingly data-mediated world in which data drive knowledge and actions about people and things. Famously, data has been characterized as “the new oil”, underpinning modern economies and at the root of many technological transformations in society at large, even assuming a near-religious power over thought and action. As the call for this Special Issue recognizes, archaeological research is socially and historically situated and consequently influenced by these same broader developments. In archaeology, as in the wider world, data is the foundation for knowledge, but its capacity is rarely reflected upon. This paper offers just such a reflection: a meditation on the nature of archaeological digital data and the challenges for its (re)use. It asks what we understand by data: its etymology and comprehension, its exceptionality and mutability, its constructs and infrastructures, and its origins and consequences. The concept of the archaeological data imaginary is introduced to better understand approaches to the collection and use of archaeological data, and a case study examines how knowledge is mediated and remediated through the data embedded in grey literature. Appreciating the volatility and unpredictability of digital data is key in understanding its potential for use and reuse in the creation of archaeological knowledge.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Digital data, data practice, data journey, data friction, imaginary, grey literature, digital archaeology.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Huggett, Dr Jeremy
Authors: Huggett, J.
Subjects:C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > Archaeology
Journal Name:Digital
ISSN (Online):2673-6470
Published Online:19 May 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 The Author
First Published:First published in Digital 2(2): 267-295
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License
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