(Texas A&M University, USA)
The future ways of thinking about the past depends on the cultural heritage professionals. The way they formulate their approach to the archaeological remains, and examine the findings constitute the basis of archaeological inquiry. The technological medium is an interphase that aids us to pursue the archaeological quest. The main objective of this paper is to develop a critical examination of how the utilization of technological tools invokes different meanings of archaeology. Hence, I discuss the utilization of three-laser scanner as a case study. Laser scanning has indisputably accelerated and facilitated the collection of data in the field. It is also creating a need for a new type of expertise among heritage professionals who are responsible for collecting field data and processing the scanned data. Thus, this paper also suggests a methodology for archaeologists who now face a host of new kinds of decisions when planning and implementing scan data in their projects.
Archaeological sites are finite nonrenewable resources. The priority of any archaeological research is to retrieve maximum information through recording, sampling, and analysis. Archaeology embraces the technical means to record, document, analyze and communicate archaeological information. Today we have more tools and methods available than ever before to capture the physical characteristics of an archaeological site. Now, it is easy to envision a time through computer-based predictive models, determine the soil type by ground penetrating radars, locate the artifacts by hand-held GPS units, and decide the future excavation area by using satellite imagery and aerial photogrammetry. However, every technological tool is a dialect that transforms the definition, treatment, interpretation, and uses of the past today. Each technological solution affects the way the archaeological data is being collected, contextualized and disseminated; and each digital tool transcribes its own method to operate within the project. Thus, a critical examination is required of how the utilization of technological tools invokes different meanings of archaeological information. Three-dimensional laser scanner is a surveying tool that captures the digital image of a surface. Archaeologists use this medium in their projects due to its high accuracy, ability to collect data remotely, rapidity of capture, instant ability to input to the computer and the capability to record massive archaeological structures. However, as any technological medium, the scanner reveals archaeology with its own principles and procedures. This paper examines how the use of laser scanner mediates the archaeological pursuit through Heidegger’s inquiry of technology. The methodology consists of examples that use laser scanner as a recording tool such as the Documentation Project of the Mayan Archaeological Sites in Belize, and the Documentation Project of the Seddülbahir Fortress in Gallipoli, Turkey. The future of archaeology depends on how well it adapts to new chnologies. Hence, this paper suggests a balance between the growing trend of technological applications in the field and the archaeological inquiry.
Archaeology, three-dimensional laser scanner, Heidegger, technological-medium