The Future of Recording the Past
Web Archives as a Resource for Public Archaeology
Keywords:archaeology, digital communications, digital data, media archaeology, web archives
The rapid and continual advancement of the internet as a platform for communication on archaeological topics has brought permanent changes to the methods through which we present information from the sector to the public. This article discusses the potential for an exploration of the UK web archives for information about the history of archaeology online, and a case study undertaken as part of a Big Data project at the British Library by the author. The article concludes that we have a significant issue for media archaeologists in the future; the lack of material evidence for these iterations means we risk losing an understanding of our social, economic, cultural, and technological histories and our perception of these developments over time. It suggests that further exploration of these archives from an archaeological perspective could be beneficial both as an investigation of the iterations of digital archaeology (the creation of a history of public engagement with the subject), and as a study of the use of archaeological techniques for archival research.
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