Multimedia in Archaeology

Multimedia (and hypermedia) are hot topics these days, and around the world, archaeologists are increasingly taking advantage of them to enhance their research. This began in 1997 with the influential Special Review Section on ‘Electronic Archaeology’, edited and introduced by Sarah Champion (Antiquity 71, 1997, 1027-1076).

But as much as they like applying new technology, few archaeologists are interested in reading about it. After all, they say, new media really belongs to the world of computer programmers, graphic designers and commercial managers. Archaeologists may use some of its tools, but its relevance to archaeology is minimal and it has nothing ‘directly’ to do with archaeology. Or does it? In the past decade, we can witness that far from being marginal, technology is rapidly moving to the centre of archaeology (see publications such as Kamermans and Fennema 1996, Altekamp and Tiedemann 1999, Barceló et al. 2000, Lock and Brown 2000, Lock 2006, Richards and Robinson 2000, Morrison, Popham and Wikander 2000, etc.). New media is revolutionising both practice and theory as well as methods of engagement, publicity and media relationships in archaeology. With its speed and simplicity of explanation, new media can - in fact, has already begun to - alter the way we as specialists view our work (Myrup Kristensen 2007:73). It has also shifted the way the public regards archaeology (Biehl and Gramsch 2001, 271-273).