Becoming Archaeological


  • Ruth Tringham University of California, Berkeley
  • Michael Ashley Center for Digital Archaeology



archaeology theory, digital archaeology, digital preservation, life-histories, serious games


This contribution to the forum on the relationship of “media archaeology” to the practice of “archaeology” reiterates the idea that an uncritical acceptance by “media archaeologists” of what archaeologists actually do has led to unnecessary limitations on the potential value of ‘media archaeology’. The authors suggest that the concept of use lives and life histories of people, places and things that has been a recognized part of archaeological practice for almost 40 years would make an important contribution to understanding the variability in life expectancy of media objects (especially those of a digital nature) and the process by which their use-lives may be prolonged (even for many centuries) or ended intentionally or unintentionally.


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Author Biographies

Ruth Tringham, University of California, Berkeley

Ruth Tringham is Professor of the Graduate School (Anthropology) at the University of California, Berkeley, USA.

Michael Ashley, Center for Digital Archaeology

Michael Ashley is Chief Executive Officer at the Center for Digital Archaeology (CoDA), a non-profit company affiliated with UC Berkeley that creates and leverages data management technologies for the preservation and sharing of cultural heritage.


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How to Cite

Tringham, R., & Ashley, M. (2015). Becoming Archaeological. Journal of Contemporary Archaeology, 2(1), 29–41.