Making People Believe – Article in British Archaeology Magazine

British Archaeology Magazine 100The 100th edition of British Archaeology magazine contains a feature article co-written by myself, Leif Isaksen, and Paul Cripps. I am lucky (or unlucky?!) to grace the front cover (that’s me, bottom left next to the giant flint).

The article, entitled “Making People Believe” is about the state of archaeological computing today, where it has come from, and where we believe it is going. The official blurb is as follows:

When computers were new, the buzz was about science and sums. Now digital technology is commonplace, say Leif Isaksen, Tom Goskar and Paul Cripps, the impact on archaeology is to assist open participation and intuitive analysis. They show just a few of the ways this might happen.

I came up with the idea of writing the article after a discussion about the dwindling numbers of people studying archaeological computing at universities. Many people are still surprised when I explain what I do – the connection between archaeologists and computers isn’t one that is very often made.

We perhaps are responsible for remaining too “back stage” with our work. I felt that it was time that we did something positive for our profile, beginning with an article in an archaeology publication that people could actually buy in shops for not much money. Most archaeologists prefer to publish in relatively (relative to interested people outside the profession) obscure peer-reviewed journals that only large university libraries can afford to buy. We publish to ourselves an awful lot.

In a few months time, the text of Making People Believe will be available for free online on the British Archaeology website. It doesn’t get much more open and accessible than that (other than printing it and posting it through letterboxes).

A quick word about the title. We (the authors) had a working title, the rather unimpressive but descriptive “Archaeology in the Digital Age”, but the editor decided to choose something else for the final cut. Personally speaking, it’s not a title I particularly like, but hopefully the words of the feature itself will speak for themselves.

So if you’d like to learn how archaeologists use computers, and how silicon has become more ubiquitous than steel, as well as a raft of other excellent features, head down to your local newsagents (well, Borders and WH Smith at least) and for £4.25 the most excellent 100th edition of British Archaeology can be yours.


  1. Making People Believe text now online at Past Thinking - 17 July, 2008

    […] in April, I blogged about a new article on archaeological computing written by myself and two colleagues. It is entitled “Making People Believe” and […]