Final Project: Archaeology and the Age of Technology

Hello Reader,

The following post is part of my final project assessment in my Digital Humanities course; it explains my reasoning for creating this blog in the first place.

For my final project in Intro to Digital Humanities I created a blog through WordPress dedicated to my major, archaeology. I chose to create a blog because I thought it would be interesting to discover whether blogging could be found beneficial within my field. Also my field has the reputation for being conventional, mostly consisting of book work, boring, and out dated. My ambition with this project is to dispute those claims and increase interest into archaeology again. As human beings I think it is essential that we are aware of our heritage and strive to preserve the achievements humanity has accomplished, not only to remember where we have been, but to learn from ourselves and better humanity in the future.

“If you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development.”
-Aristotle

In my blog I focused mainly on incorporating the use of technology, various forms of digital media, and several other topics discussed in class. Furthermore I wrote about my current research, archaeological topics that interested me, excavations and archaeological surveys I am involved in, and several other projects I am working on. To my surprise I found blogging to be beneficial. Before hand I did not regard blogging in an academic sense.

However I found the most innovative features that blogging possessed were receiving/sending feedback and gaining mass exposure. It was flattering to receive feedback and “likes” from fellow archaeologists, professors, researchers, and other individuals from across the globe. Not only was it flattering, but the mass scale of exposure was astonishing. To further increase my blog exposure I posted links and attention grabbing prompts within the Archaeology Page on FaceBook. It was intriguing to witness how instantaneously I received responses. Even more surprisingly once I really got into blogging I had accumulated 93 homepage views in a single day, a current amount of 14 Word Press subscribers, 1,625 FaceBook subscribers, and an unexpected total of 737 total homepage views within only two months. After viewing these statistics it was clear to me blogging can most definitely be used academically and benefit any individual in any major.

I found the responses to be additionally useful and encouraging. I was offered guidance, given encouragement, suggested solutions to my questions, provided other people’s opinions and I found it rather entertaining to tee off controversial debates. Blogging made it possible to further expose my mind to new thoughts and ideas that I otherwise wouldn’t have come across. I think it is important that individuals in all fields of study take advantage of technology and what it can offer. Technology such as blogging encourages interaction and compels an individual to acquire knowledge through additional means and further expand one’s thought process.

Links

Homepage
About Author
Site, Ayn Abu Nukhaylah: TU Page
Digital Humanities Course
Archaeology FaceBook Page

Blog Posts (beginning from oldest to most recent)

Hello World
Multimedia and Archaeology
Archaeology Podcast
What’s Your Archive?
Mapping & Social Network Analysis in Archaeology
Archaeological Humor
New Manners of Thinking
Digitalization of Text
Reading & Textuality in Archaeology
Archaeological Survey in Hominy, Oklahoma
Archaeological Time Machine?? Think POSSIBLE

Thanks for reading and THANK YOU to all of my followers and those of you who responded to my posts! You all made this a very positive experience and I look forward to bettering my blogging potentiality. 🙂

Ashley Brown

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Video Games, Digital Fiction & Poetry

I found many of the digital fictions and poetry we went over in class to be very similar in nature and function as video games. I play many video games and find it hard for one to successfully incorporate literature along with that. When looking at the digital poetry and fictions I found the “video game” aspects distracting and felt like they took away from the meaning of the literature. I also did not even find the meaning that the author was trying to convey and felt like the effort was a waste of time on both parts. However I can see how these forms of literature can further expand the potential of a work, but that all depends on the presentation.

Ashley Brown

Video Games

How do you see the relationships between video games and some of the other media we’ve looked at this semester?

Video games, and some of the online videos, poems and interactive sites we have seen this semester both make you learn about the story and purpose by going deeper into it. In video games you complete quests and do missions to dive into the story and game. In pomes like the ones from last class you have to interact with the story and media to read the poem.

Both use media interaction and give you control to search through the stories and learn about their purpose.

The Nature of Text

I was particularly interested in the website, Dreaming Methods. The Digital Fiction Projects were impressive and innovative in presenting text in a nontraditional way. I first viewed the project called, The Diary. It is a fictional diary based on an eight year old girl named Anne Sykes. I found the presentation to be rather depressing in nature. The media attached along to the text contributed to the perception of depression. I found the images to be rather dark and creepy; the music full of rage, anger, and suspense. Unlike a physical book the text is presented in an extremely alternative manner. The text is out of order, is presented to the reader at various different paces, and the reader can interact with the various objects within the project. Moreover I found it rather difficult to follow along with the story line, I was distracted by the music and various interactions, and was not able to read all of the text because it simply vanished before I could. However I think that this text presentation technique can be useful and ultimately bring alive a literary work in an effective way. After further analysis of The Diary I came to the confusion that it was the author’s intention to present this text in such a contradictory manner. The contradictions I had with the lab created feelings of confusion, annoyance, and so on. These emotions put the reader in the place of the character by causing one to feel a taste of the emotions that the character does. Along with the obvious interactions the metaphysical ones are the most effective and bring the literary work to new potential.

Ashley Brown

Reading & Textuality

What is hypertext and hypermedia?

According to Ted Nelson who coined both the terms in the 1960’s:

“Hypertext” has become generally accepted for branching and responding text, but the corresponding word “hypermedia”, meaning complexes of branching and responding graphics, movies and sound – as well as text – is much less used.— Nelson, Literary Machines, 1992

How can hypertext and hypermedia be incorporated into my discipline of anthropology and archaeology?

Subject matter in the field of anthropology is profoundly vast. Therefore any sort of technology that simplifies the effort of research would be most appreciated by those who are researching. Rather than lugging around a profuse amount of publications, hypertext and hypermedia enable a researcher access to even more information at their convenience and at their immediate demand. Not only does this benefit researchers of anthropology, but any field for that matter.

My focus in anthropology is in prehistory, near/middle-eastern archaeology. All of the cultures during prehistory did not possess a writing system; therefore there is no written record that exists to inform one on the culture’s way of life. Archaeologists have to act as if they were detectives at a crime scene and piece together the information to reconstruct what took place in the past. Hypertext and hypermedia could be very useful in my study. They allow me to search through an almost infinite amount of information as well as save time that it would have taken to find the same information in a library. This saved time can now be used to further work on my research and speed up the date in which the results are to be published. Also by using hypertext and hypermedia I can interact with others who are working on similar subjects. I can receive instant feedback, opinions, and advice from other researchers. This is something a physical book cannot provide, well at least to this extent and speed.

There are contradictions however. According to the article, Ancient History, Archaeology and Hypertext Publishing:

The first problem is one which you may well have already overcome. Reading papers on the internet is a very bad idea, unless you actively seek out a migraine. A slightly more spurious argument against internet publishing is that you cannot read electronic papers in the bath. This is both wrong (if you own a PDA) and irrelevant. The costs of printed journals are astronomical…The cynic will point out that any web page can be printed. The best argument for not doing so from the browser is that it often looks awful.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

Additionally problems exist in the accuracy of the hypertext and hypermedia. Often times on accident, information is inaccurately recorded and this can severely hinder the intended interpretation and meaning of the information. Another problem with inaccuracy is that anyone can instantly publish information onto the internet and a researcher may come across the information believing the claims are true. This can be easily exemplified within the website of Wikipedia.

In conclusion:

Despite the contradictions I have mentioned I think hypertext and hypermedia can help those in my field and virtually any other. But when using these technologies one should be aware of these contradictions and take them into account when researching.

Ashley Brown

Mapping and Social Networking 10/25

It is somewhat difficult for me to imagine how exactly mapping is utilized in my field, but that is not to say that it is not used. Mapping could potentially provide an accessible way of looking at land ownership, particularly in the case of split ownership or overriding royalties. The various links that mapping provides offer an effective way to keep track of large amounts of information in one area.

Social networking is easier to imagine. Most companies, energy companies included, already enjoy widespread use of social networking. People can follow oil and gas companies on twitter for updates on developments on certain projects or announcements on new deals. Leases can be negotiated via skype. One of the greatest developments of the information age for the world of business is the invention of social networking. It provides companies with a way to instantly recieve feedback from the populace. Companies who wish to compete in today’s market must utilize social networking.