In the history of archaeological computing, some leading institutions have played a key role in the development of computer applications, both in documentary and field research. Still sporadic and isolated in the 1950s and 1960s, applications became widespread in public administration, research centres, and academic environments.
Public bodies, generally reporting to central Ministries, had an extensive involvement in the national inventory of Cultural Heritage, strengthening the role of computer science in documentation strategies. Research centres and Universities were assigned the task of experimenting new analytical methods in ad hoc laboratories that revolved around leading scholars endowed with considerable innovative skills. Finally, Associations attracted members who were specialised in specific archaeological research areas and new forms of data analysis, giving rise to debates, meetings and publications.
Our historical journey includes two key milestones, i.e. the institutions that act as curators of this virtual Museum: the Centro Linceo Interdisciplinare “Beniamino Segre” of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei and the Istituto di Studi sul Mediterraneo Antico (now Istituto di Scienze del Patrimonio Culturale) of the Italian National Research Council. They both immediately recognised the fundamental role of interdisciplinary studies and tenaciously worked for spreading Humanities computing. To better illustrate the long and fruitful activity of these two institutions, a meaningful selection of some of their scientific products is provided, making them freely available to the general public.
The Centro Linceo was established under the initiative of the Italian mathematician Beniamino Segre in 1971, with the aim of encouraging scientific interdisciplinary research in Sciences and Humanities. Over the years, it has promoted many important projects, seminars and publications, which today can testify to the development of computers and IT applications in the Humanities in general and in archaeology in particular.
The Istituto di Scienze del Patrimonio Culturale has been established in 2019, but it has brought together a number of Institutes with a longstanding tradition in the study of new and less developed archaeological areas of investigation. In particular, since the early 1980s the Istituto per l’Archeologia Etrusco-Italica specialised in digital archaeology. This early commitment has resulted in the regular annual publication of «Archeologia e Calcolatori», an international scholarly Journal founded in 1990.