Geoff Carver


A number of recent works have attempted to begin addressing the problem that recent developments in post-processualist theory have not had much effect on archaeological practice. One of the most promising approaches is reflexivity, essentially a recognition of questions one might have about the quality of data or an interpretation. As with any question regarding the personnel employed on any archaeological project, this has important implications for the apparently unrelated field of computing. One is the human component, and related to the problems of data quality: garbage in, garbage out. Reflexive archaeology requires workers skilled not only in manual field techniques, but also schooled in interpretive theory. Another reflects the impact the recognition of alternate interpretations will have on – for example – database design, the necessity of comparing and testing the validity of these alternatives by integrating simulations and other forms of post-excavation analysis in project design, and possibly the need for new forms of hardware and new theories about what it is we’re actually digging.