The Digital Dilemma and the Future of Archaeological Publication: Stories from the Gabii Excavation

Lecture: ARF Brownbag | April 12 | 12-1 p.m. | 101 2251 College (Archaeological Research Facility)

 Matt Naglak, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Classical Art and Archaeology

 Archaeological Research Facility

In the past month, the first major publication of the Gabii Project excavation was released, a large-scale international archaeological initiative led by Nicola Terrenato and the University of Michigan since 2009. What makes this publication unique is its entirely digital nature, where the standard textual narrative is intricately combined with the 3D recording and reconstruction inherent to our documentation strategy as well as the use of the Unity gaming engine for the final product. This new approach to archaeological publication, while seemingly inevitable due to the onset of digital techniques and vast increase of digital data collected in the field, nevertheless raises interesting questions with respect to the future of publications, peer-review, user-interaction and interpretation, as well as the requirement for digital storage. Here I propose to review the in-the-field data gathering methodology of the Gabii excavation as well as its digital publication strategy and open-source release of its collected data for the Area B Republican period house. It is hoped that such a discussion will lead to a beneficial conversation on the future of both excavation methodology and archaeological publication.