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Crafting cosmos: The development of digital media in archeology

Research project The project aims at creating a web based model for presenting, visualizing and analyzing archeological and anthropological material.

The project will result in a web based model which aims at a better understanding of an archeological excavation and the interpretation of the findings, both to specialists and to a more general audience. One goal is to construct an interactive interface for documentation of different media and various kinds of information, in order to be able to inter-relate different primary sources to each other, and also to visual and reconstruct the past in time and space. One other goal is to use the digital presentation when interpreting the sources.

Project overview

Project period:

2007-12-14 2009-09-30

Funding

Finansår , 2007, 2008, 2009

huvudman: , finansiar: Kempestiftelserna, y2007: 100, y2008: 200, y2009: 100,

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Humlab

Project description

As a Postdoctoral Fellow in digital humanities at the HUMlab, Lopiparo work on completing development of a hypermedia project, Crafting Cosmos: The Production of Classic Maya Households, Communities, and Landscapes, as a model for the integration of digital media in anthropological archaeology. This web-based publication utilizes the unique potential of multimedia to represent the results and interpretations of my archaeological research in the southern Maya Lowlands through multiscalar and multivocal reconstructions of households, communities, and landscapes during the Classic period (200-1000 AD) in northwestern Honduras. The goal of the project is to create innovative digital representations and interfaces that interweave the diverse kinds of information through which we reconstruct past societies, juxtaposing the process and results of archaeological fieldwork and analysis with the interpretations that they generate. From the presentation and navigation of primary data, to technical and stylistic analysis of artifacts, to spatial reconstructions of excavations, to representations of archaeological sites and landscapes, this project will allow users to explore the many avenues through which archaeological interpretations of everyday life in Classic Maya societies are crafted.

This project will take advantage of the unique capabilities of digital media to create visually rich and data-intensive interpretations well beyond the possibilities of traditional archaeological monographs. While traditional publications tend to focus on the final, monolithic (and monologic) product of the interpretive process, archaeology is a field that is inherently collaborative and dialogic (Joyce, et al. 2002; Hodder 1997; Tringham 1991). Print publications often erase the multivocalic processes of archaeological investigations by subsuming the diversity of sources and subordinating the material traces from which these interpretations were constructed. A primary goal of Crafting Cosmos is to create embodied representations of social processes at multiple scales by interweaving the many sources that archaeologists draw on to formulate their interpretations.