Plenary Session

The plenary session will run between 4pm and 6pm on Monday 26th March in EEE building.

Disciplinary issues: the research and practice of computer applications in archaeology

Dr Jeremy Huggett University of Glasgow

CAA has been meeting annually for almost forty years, so one might expect that we would have a reasonable idea of the nature and role of archaeological computing. However, some see it as an emerging field (e.g. Bimber & Chang 2011) while others suggest the need for a new archaeological speciality: Archaeological Information Science (e.g. Llobera 2011). Even the Wikipedia page on computational archaeology describes archaeoinformatics as an emerging discipline. Is this a sign of a lack of confidence in forty years-worth of enterprise and development or is it instead an indication of growing self-assurance in the subject? In recent years other fields, including GIScience and Information Systems, have sought to evaluate their intellectual core and identity; perhaps it is time that archaeological computing does likewise.

Computational photography’s emergence and the ascent of digital image transparency

Mark Mudge Cultural Heritage Imaging

The talk will demonstrate that computational photography can capture rich data about our world and make the means and circumstances of the information’s generation transparent.

Computational photography encompasses a family of digital techniques. They are all based on the computational extraction of relevant information from a sequence of digital photographs. This extracted information can be integrated into new digital representations to yield rich data not found in the original, individual photographs.

The talk will discuss several emerging computational photography techniques that can capture information about our world and track their changes over time. These tools can capture:

  • 3D positions in space and generated surface geometry
  • Surface orientation (normal fields)
  • Optimization of 3D geometry by integrating 3D positions and surface orientation information
  • Multi-spectral reflectance properties of the light reflected from the material’s surface
  • Features revealed through signal processing of multi-spectral reflectance, RGB color, and surface orientation
  • Changes to 3D shape and multi-spectral reflectance

Computational Photography tools feature high degrees of automation. The talk will explore this nearly automatic nature and how it enables automatic record keeping of each event and resource involved in the original information capture and all subsequent events that occur in this data’s processing into a final digital representation. These records can be collected into a “digital lab notebook”. The lab notebook’s metadata can be automatically structured using international standards such as ISO21127, the International Council of Museum’s (ICOM) Documentation Committee’s (CIDOC) Conceptual Reference Model (CRM).

The digital lab notebook makes the means and circumstances of the completed digital image generation transparent. Transparency permits scientific evaluation of the digital representation’s quality, reliability and potential for reuse. Transparency is also a key factor for improving the chances of the digital representation’s long-term preservation.

See how computational photography can illuminate the Digital Dark Age!

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