Teaching with Digital Archaeological Data: A Research Archive in the University Classroom
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- Agbe-Davies, A.S., Galle, J.E., Hauser, M.W. et al. J Archaeol Method Theory (2014) 21: 837. doi:10.1007/s10816-013-9178-3
Digital tools and techniques have revolutionized archaeological research and allow analyses unimagined by previous generations of scholars. However, digital archaeological data appear to be an underappreciated resource for teaching. Here, the authors draw on their experiences as university instructors using digital data contained in the Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery (http://www.daacs.org) to teach in a variety of higher education settings, from method-intensive thematic courses for graduate students to general education science courses for undergraduates. The authors provide concrete examples of how they use digital archaeological data to accomplish a range of pedagogical goals. These include teaching basic artifact identification and simple statistical methods as well as developing skills in critical thinking, inference from data, and problem solving and communication. The paper concludes with a discussion of how archaeologists can use digital data to address ethical and curricular issues, such as preservation, professional training, and public accountability that are crucial to the discipline and relevant to the academy at large.