Matt Edgeworth. The shifting location of the act of discovery, and the implications for the study of the production of archaeological knowledge

Matt Edgeworth, Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, University of Leicester

Where does the act of archaeological discovery reside? Does it take place during excavation, in practical transactions between the subject and the object? Or does it also happen in digital space – on a computer screen, or in pulses of light travelling along fiber-optic cables? Computers and the internet play an ever-increasing role in investigation of archaeological evidence. Programs like Google Earth, and the immense detail of satellite imagery displayed, provide a new ground within which discoveries can be made. This paper takes an overview of the ‘shifting ground’ referred to in the title of the conference. It looks at how the act of discovery has changed its location and scale in connection with rapid advances in technology, taking up multiple sites distributed across the digital and physical worlds, occupying even the emerging virtual realities. The Implications for the study of the production of archaeological knowledge are profound.