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Computational Science, Convergence Culture, and the Creation of Archaeological Knowledge and Understanding

  • Patrice L. Jeppson
  • Glen Muschio
  • Jed Levin
Chapter
Part of the One World Archaeology book series (WORLDARCH)

Abstract

The NSF-grant funded, 3D Philadelphia Project—Digital Restoration of Thin-Shell Objects for Historical Archeological Research and Interpretation (NSF no. 0803670), brought together computer scientists, a computer engineer, a media researcher, and archaeologists to work on computer vision technologies in aid of a vast assemblage of mass-produced, industrial age ceramics excavated from Independence National Historical Park—a prominent, urban, cultural history unit within the US Department of the Interior National Park Service. The overall research aims for the project involved community participation, collaboration, and outreach beyond both the federal agency and the field of archaeology to advance development of novel computer vision technologies that would allow machine-based reconstructions of 3D objects. Such technology promised to be a boon for archaeologists in terms of collections management and interpretation needs—once fully developed and accessible. But in the short term, it directly contributed to other research communities active in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area: a team of computer scientists and engineers and a team of media arts researchers. For the media arts community, the computational image data produced in the collaborative study could be leveraged as digital assets useful for populating virtual environments being developed as academic research and training projects. For the computer scientists and engineers, the research engaged with artifact shapes and designs useful for their needs of writing mathematical algorithms central to computer vision and pattern recognition development needed for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine-learning (ML) (namely decision tree learning, inductive logic programming, clustering, reinforcement learning, and Bayesian networks used in mimicking of the biological structure of the brain). The project was not something done in collaboration as we (archaeologists) knew it, but rather represented the emergence of a new creative space created beyond the realms of all the participants’ disciplinary (and federal agency) silos. The resulting entirely new community space was possible only through non-archaeologist participation in the planning and carrying out of the research project’s design. Here we examine the interplay of these differing, contributing, knowledge communities in a case study in heritage studies that both refines our understanding of the concept of heritage while reminding us of the necessity and benefits of sharing archaeological knowledge through engagement with “others.” We draw upon Pierre Lévy’s ideas of “Collective Intelligence” and Henry Jenkins’ notion of “Convergence Culture” to explore the relationships, communications, learning, and opportunities that evolved in this “collaboration” between archaeologists and non-archaeologists applying computer vision technology to cultural heritage.

Keywords

Collective Intelligence and Convergence Culture 3D computer vision and pattern recognition Collaborative creation of archaeological knowledge 

Notes

Acknowledgements

An earlier draft of this chapter (Jeppson et al. 2011) was presented in a symposium organized by John Jameson and Harold Mytum at the Society for Historical and Underwater Archaeology annual conference, Austin, Texas (“Toward an Archaeological Agora: the public as participants and creators of archaeological and understanding”), and we are grateful to them for that opportunity as it made us consider how and why this project was different than what we had done before. Those ideas were further flushed out from a technological perspective for a presentation we made at the High-Tech Heritage’s “How Are Digital Technologies Changing Our Views of the Past?” Conference, at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Massachusetts (Muschio et al. 2012). We especially thank project Co-PI’s Ferdinand Cohen, Ali Shokoufandeh, and Ko Nishino, as well as Kamalia Ayafar, Mark, Petrovitch, Debbie Miller and Willie Hoffman, Hannah Winograd, Geoffrey Oxholm, and Matthew Haas.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrice L. Jeppson
    • 1
  • Glen Muschio
    • 2
  • Jed Levin
    • 3
  1. 1.Cheyney University of PennsylvaniaCheyneyUSA
  2. 2.Westphal College of Media Arts and Design at Drexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Independence National Historical ParkPhiladelphiaUSA

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