Cyber-archaeology and Grand Narratives: Where Do We Currently Stand?

  • Ian W. N. Jones
  • Thomas E. LevyEmail author
Part of the One World Archaeology book series (WORLDARCH)


In the past two decades, rapid advances have been made in the application of digital technology to archaeology, which have led to the creation of the field of cyber-archaeology. Much of the work in this field, however, has focused on the technical aspects of applying specific technologies to archaeological field and laboratory work. As cyber-archaeology matures, however, it is necessary to consider how these novel methods can contribute to the development of archaeological theory. The chapters in this volume do this by examining potential contributions of cyber-archaeology to “grand narratives” of human history.

This introductory chapter sets the stage for the chapters that follow. It opens with a description of recent advances in cyber-archaeology—defined, in the context of this volume, as “the integration of the latest developments in computer science, engineering, science, and archaeology” (following Levy 2013: 28)—as well as problems that remain to be solved. One lingering problem is the difficulty of bringing disparate datasets together into digital databases, and this is explored using an example from the Digital Archaeological Atlas of the Holy Land (DAAHL). This limitation suggests that while cyber-archaeology is not applicable to some archaeological questions, it is particularly well suited to questions concerning long-term change, or “grand narratives.” Following this example is a theoretical introduction to grand narratives in archaeological theory. While long-term change fell out of fashion several decades ago, it has returned to the theoretical forefront, particularly in Mediterranean archaeology. The chapter ends with a brief introduction to each of the chapters in the volume.


Cyber-archaeology Data avalanche Databases Digital Archaeological Atlas of the Holy Land (DAAHL) Grand narratives 


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anthropology, Center for Cyber-Archaeology and SustainabilityUniversity of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA

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