Vortrag: Big Data in Archaeology – A Transformative Novel Approach?

Am kommenden Freitag halte ich auf der Digital Cultures – Tagung in Lüneburg einen Vortrag über die Auswirkungen der Big Data Technologie auf die archäologische Wissenschaft.

Worum geht es dabei genau? Hier der englischsprachige Abstract meines Vortrages:

Although archaeologists have lots of experience in multidisciplinary research collaboration and in adopting digital methods, a datafication of the discipline has not yet happened. Nevertheless one can assume that in the near future Big Data will be disrupting the archaeological epistemology, since by now the focus is set on regional and culture specific questions, whereas Big Data will allow much more far-reaching research questions. By this, the Big Data technology will undoubtedly introduce a novel archaeological approach, whose characteristic is “to use a lot of data; to accept messiness; to move from causation to correlation” (Gattiglia 2015: 113). By this, the archaeological practice, theories and paradigms might be radically transformed. On the other hand one has to be well aware that archaeological theories, methods and practice are strongly influenced by general concepts and paradigms which are perpetuated over a long time by archaeological schools. From the historical lessons we’ve learned in the past century, new methods and tools introduced to archaeology do not necessarily mean a shift of these scientific paradigms. The neopositivist culture-historical approach, which dominates in Central European archaeologies, is still nearly as unquestioned as it was a hundred years ago. One has to admit, that this approach “perpetuated within the discipline without much regard for and impact of changes to epistemological approaches outside it” as Karl recently argued (Karl 2017: 93). How will this old approach, focusing on accurate descriptions of archaeological material, go along with the messy Big Data approach? How will our idea of the past be affected by this future shift of paradigms? Will Big Data produce a more global perspective of the past?

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