“Biblical Archaeology and the Digital Age: how new technologies, methodologies and paradigms influence an age-old discipline”

2014 Winter Meeting

March 8, 2014
Matthew L. Vincent, Archaeology PhD student, University of California, San Diego

Digital Cultural Heritage, Virtual Archaeology, Cyber-Archaeology…these are just a few of the current “buzz-words” that describe an emerging discipline, or better yet, a transdisciplinary science that blends many disciplines to achieve one common goal: investigate, preserve, and disseminate our past.  Since 2011, Mr. Vincent has been studying and working at the Center for Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture and Archaeology at the Qualcomm Institute, at the University of California, San Diego branch of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology. This center has been developing new methodologies for documenting and visualizing archaeological contexts, as well as partnering with many other departments to create a holistic, multidisciplinary approach for archaeology today.  Matt will describe a few of these new methods, tools and approaches to archaeology and how they can help Biblical Archaeology be a more objective discipline in today’s digital age.

The following topics will be explored and illustrated:

·         New visualization techniques (LiDAR, Digital Photogrammetry, Structure from Motion, CAVEcams), and why we should care about them (i.e. preservation, dissemination, and analysis).

·         Shifts in methodologies: Introduction of new technologies that increase the objectivity of field archaeology today.

·         3D Scanning of Objects and Artifacts: How digitizing artifacts allows archeologists to work on a much larger scale when comparing and analyzing and, more importantly, adds a new level of objectivity.

·         Increased Precision: From “dumpy-levels” to RTK-GPS; challenges and benefits of the “data avalanche.”

·         How today’s technology trends, specifically the “Maker” revolution, are contributing to the discipline.

·         Data recording and dissemination: challenges for data recording and, more importantly, data sharing.

Matthew L. Vincent is originally from the Pacific Northwest and earned his BA in Theology and Biblical Languages at Walla Walla University.  While at WWU Matthew spent considerable time volunteering in the pottery lab where his love for archaeology grew with each pottery piece he reconstructed.  In 2004, he went on his first excavation to Tall al-‘Umayri, thinking that it would be a once-off adventure.  Ten years later, he is still digging in Jordan, not having missed a single season at ‘Umayri since his first.  Following graduation from Walla Walla, Matthew worked as a youth pastor in England for three years before returning to the US to continue his education.  He is currently attending the University of California, San Diego where he is a PhD student in Anthropological Archaeology, focusing in “Cyberarchaeology,” the use of technology to improve archaeology.  As Matthew continues his studies, he is passionate about finding new ways to employ technology to aid archaeology, whether it is using new tools or developing new methods.

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