PROJECTS

Past and present applications, the global circulation of information, the frequency of conferences and seminars, the dynamic library formed by manuals and specialised journals, all together undoubtedly give a strongly positive image of the activity implied in archaeological computing. Therefore, even confining the analysis of computer projects to the first twenty years of research, any descriptive attempt would be incomplete. For this reason, Projects are focusing on a key issue: the Corpora of archaeological objects.

The institution of computerised archaeological corpora, which turned out to be far more flexible and easy to update as opposed to the traditional paper edition, brought about the creation of archaeological data banks in which some features of formal description of archaeological information are investigated (for an early progress report on archaeological data banks, see Chenhall 1971). In the introduction to the international Conference dedicated to this subject ("Les Banques de données archéologiques", Marseille 1972), J.-C. Gardin defined data banks as a systematic formalised collection of all kinds of archaeological information in a form suited to their retrieval and scientific processing.

In order to better show how complex and ramified the beginnings of “digital archaeology” were, the choice of corpora has involved specific case studies, which are characterised by their duration in time and continuity in scientific endeavours. A particularly representative example is the Beazley Archive Computer Project, which started in 1979 to promote the computerisation of the original archives of Sir John Beazley on ancient Greek painted pottery.