Willem BEEX1 / Benno RIDDERHOF2

(1 National Museum for Antiquities, Amsterdam, Niederlande / 2 Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, Niederlande)

This paper is based on the final discussions of the past years of the conference. Emphasis will be put on the method and development of IT-education in archaeology during the past fifteen years. At that time the expectation was that IT would become an equal partner for the methods of analysis in archaeology. Unfortunately this development did not happen. The reasons for this are manifold. First of all the development of hard- and software made it easier to use an application, however not to understand the implications of a certain technique that goes with the application. This caused an immediate devaluation of IT and IT-education. The consequences were that IT-education and IT-implementation were put on the same level as other basic tools as dendro-chronology and paleo-zoology.

Secondly the IT-specialist, as many of us are, became introvert and viewed the tool as being more important than the final result. Also the incorporation of traditional methods, as basic surveying and basic knowledge of the creation of drawings experienced a drawback. This is due to the belief that modern equipment prevents any mistake.
Today the situation is even worse. IT is viewed as a production-tool and not as a scientific method for analysis. As a result IT-education is nowadays focussed on creating nice pictures, and no longer focussed on correct analysis. The implications of this change in attitude are grave. A huge amount of digital data is being generated that is almost impossible to validate, but that is being used for predictive modelling and heritage policy.
We would like to invite every speaker during this conference to review their own images, and to decide whether these images are transparent and controllable. The real challenge will be self-criticism. The results of this inquiry and its implications will be presented at the beginning of this conference’ final discussion.