Publishing in the Digital Age

Since they shift points of entry and viewpoints, new information technologies raise significant problems of authorship and control (Carver 2007: 140-141). Archaeological site reports have increasingly become collaborative, and new technology allows a radical extension of this process. Placed on the web or in some interactive hypertext environment, a site report can be continually commented upon and its original integrity can be enhanced. It can also be lost. As the autonomy and fixed nature of the text disintegrate, the author has less mastery and control over the message, some even speak of "the death of the author" (Hodder 1999).

In the end, there can be as many understandings and interpretations of a text and data as there are users/readers and writers.
Applied to the web site of famous excavation sites such as Çatalhöyük or Troy (www.catalhoyuk.com, www.troia.de), this could open up completely new trajectories for doing archaeological research as well as ways of engaging with the public. For instance, we could link databases, house plans and stratigraphies and the material culture found in them with re-constructions or with personalised diaries of the excavators.


www.troia.de & www.catalhoyuk.com

This would not only bring a new dimension to learning about a find, but would also provide a solid record of how data was collected and teamwork experienced. The data of the excavation report could also be linked to an interactive bibliography, where one could get current as well as past research studies on the site and any related ones. The bibliography and the report could be linked to a virtual reality reconstruction of the site. That site could then be hyperlinked to texts relevant to the discussion that appear in scientific journals and the press. Even a technology-sceptic must admit this would be a profound accomplishment and teaching/learning tool, as well as a completely new way to popularise archaeology.

In summary, archaeological publications based on hypermedia, such as e-books, e-journals, website publishing and books with multimedia CD-ROMS or DVDs, promote and facilitate multivocality .