The history of archaeological computing has generally been ordered into decades. This evidently facilitates the chronological order of events, but also highlights how computer applications have consolidated over time and taken up innovative forms.

The 1950s and 1960s were the years of solitary experimentation, when mechanisation was gradually substituted by computerisation and an increasing enthusiasm towards new theories and tools gave birth to the “New Archaeology” movement.

The 1970s were the years of quantitative archaeology, with the use of statistics for typological classification of archaeological artefacts and the modelling of spatial distributions and cultural systems. At the same time, the spread of archaeological data banks resulted from the progress made in Information Retrieval Systems.

The 1980s were the euphoric years of the technological development, mostly related to the introduction of PCs on the desk of Humanities researchers, as well as to the diffusion of highly sophisticated excavation techniques.

The 1990s were the years of the birth of the Internet, with its new communication philosophy, and the development of GIS, a new computer platform for hosting and processing archaeological data, allowing archaeologists to integrate spatial and thematic information, by following an investigative methodology under different scientific points of view.

And lastly the new century, in which the expectations are linked to the ever growing miniaturisation and portability of instruments, with the consequent development of new data acquisition and location techniques, as well as to the overwhelming appearance of archaeology in the so-called information society, with tangible effects on cultural transmission.

The Origins