Thinking Archaeological Science Symposium


Friday, May 16th, 2014: 9:00am-3:00pm 

Location: Stanford Archaeology Center, Bldg. 500, 488 Escondido Mall


The Thinking Archaeological Science symposium brings together scholars from a wide variety of research foci and material cultural specialties to deconstruct current archaeological scientific concepts, examine the socio-technical histories of popular instrumentations, and (re)theorize instrumental materials analysis more generally. Anglo-American archaeology has recently witnessed tremendous growth in the application of geochemical, isotopic, and micro-structural techniques that help document the material parameters and social histories of the people, animals, artifacts, and ecofacts of the past.

But while materials analysis, technique development, and data management activities forge ahead, surprisingly little attention has been paid to a thorough consideration of archaeological scientific theory--the concepts, frameworks, and technical histories that connect instrumentation, methods, analysis, and data management with the interpretation of past human social life. Participants will present accounts of their materials analysis, data management, and technique development efforts that make explicit many of the theoretical issues in archaeological science that are often taken for granted or unaddressed: initial forays into the territory of a formal body of archaeological scientific theory. Themes touched on during the symposium will include the position of chemical, physical, and computational technique development within the broader historical trajectory of anthropological archaeology; issues of identity and discipline between the titles of  "archaeologist" and "archaeological scientist;" current disciplinary problems in the instrumental analysis of different material classes; and technological strategies and barriers to the management of increasingly large digital datasets in archaeology.



Conference participant info here


  • Andrew Bauer, Assistant Professor of Anthropology; University of Illinois, Urbana-Champagne
  • Marie-Claude Boileau, Research Associate; University of Pennsylvania Museum
  • Claudia Engel, Lecturer, Dept. of Anthropology; Stanford University 
  • Alan Greene, Postdoctoral Scholar, Dept. of Anthropology and Stanford Archaeology Center; Stanford University
  • Karl Grossner, Digital Humanities Research Developer; Stanford University Libraries
  • Ian Hodder, Dunlevie Family Professor, Dept. of Anthropology and Stanford Archaeology Center, Stanford University
  • Elijah Meeks, Digital Humanities Specialist; Stanford University Libraries
  • Jessica Pearson, Senior Lecturer in Bioarchaeology; University of Liverpool
  • David Peterson, Affiliate Professor of Anthropology; Idaho State University
  • Andrew Roddick, Assistant Professor of Anthropology; McMaster University
  • Krish Seetah, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Anthropology and Stanford Archaeology Center; Stanford University


Conference program here




This conference is sponsored by the following Stanford departments: Stanford Archaeology Center, Department of Anthropology, and the Cantor Arts Center and Science Laboratory.


        Click on flyer (left) to download a PDF version