Chair: David Bibby, Germany

Over the last decade tachymetric survey of archaeological sites perhaps combined with geophysical prospecting and GIS applications has in many places become standard. And at least since the Millennium laser scanning and virtual reality modelling have become increasingly popular, as shown by many excellent contributions to the Workshop on these subjects over the last years. Often contributors have explained how objects have been scanned, models created and survey and GIS projects conceived without giving the question “why” all too much consideration. The emphasis has mostly been on hard and software and on the programs, procedures and routines employed. By now a high technological level has been achieved and is beginning to level out whilst remaining on a high plateau. At this point in time it unlikely that yet another scan or one more VR-model is going to impress well informed Workshop participants on its own merits, unless it has some intrinsic “specialness” or innovative feature. It therefore seems that the time is ripe for taking stock and for asking the question as to “why” it is serendipitous to take the digital road. Surely it is not simply for the sake of technological advance alone. What benefits do the new technologies offer? How do they help us increase our understanding of the past? This session will explicitly consider the advantages of computer applications in archaeology, be they scientific, financial, infrastructural, touristic or museological or even perhaps helpful in increasing accessibility to archaeology for the lay public. Papers are invited which do not just describe the development of a project but consider the advantages of computer aided archaeology above other, methods.