Kari Uotila / Isto Vatanen
(University of Turku, Finland / Åbo Akademi University, Finland)
Computer supported archaeological research has made some remarkable progress during the last decade from the mid 1990’s to the present. The less remarkable chapter of the development is the significantly poor diffusion of the digital archaeological practise and pragmatic applications of the new innovations in the archaeological mainstream. It might be argued that almost nothing has happened during the last ten years considering the prevalence of intelligent heritage and digital archaeological approaches in academic archaeology. Like in 1995, university courses in digital archaeology are still almost inexistent, as are the digital archaeology oriented researchers within the established academia.
The purpose of this paper is to discuss the present state of affairs and the future prospects of digital archaeology with special reference to the Nordic context. The problems and directions of academic teaching are considered within the frames of a Nordic doctoral course in digital archaeology planned for the early spring 2006.
Probable reasons for the present chicken and egg situation are diverse. One reason might be pointed out in the conventions of graduate studies. It seems that doctoral students in archaeology are expected to do their work by themselves instead of being able to work in focussed projects. Consequently there are little possibilities to attract and hire expertise to support the individual research efforts. Further, if an expert is consulted, it seems that the computer supported reasoning is far too often externalised to the expert as a whole, leaving little room for archaeological innovation. Additional key issues affecting the planning of more successful curricula and effective education are suggested to be found in the recruitment of the students, practical inexistence of digital archaeology in undergraduate curricula and unestablished co-operation of digital archaeology experts.