We got the good news last week that the panel put together by Kostis Kourelis and Sharon Gerstel for the 2010 AIA Annual Meeting in Anaheim has been accepted. The panel is titled First Out: Late Levels at Early Sites and will feature papers by Jack Davis, Kathleen Quinn, Anne McCabe, Adam Rabinowitz, Guy Sanders, and Tim Gregory and myself. Here's a link to the abstracts and overview statement.
Tim Gregory and I plan to re-examine the data produced by the decades old Ohio Boeotia Project around the ancient city of Thisvi. This survey data was initially analyzed in a series of publications in the 1980s. Since that time, digital analysis tools have become considerably more powerful and there is a growing body of work in the region, particularly associated with the Cambridge Boeotia Project and its various spin-offs, that promises to add significance to any re-examination of the OBE results. Returning to excavation and survey results -- so called legacy data -- has taken on new importance in recent years as excavation permits have become more difficult to acquire, a vigorous ethical discourse has put pressure on project directors to make unpublished finds available, and the digital archaeology "movement" has improved our ability to make published and unpublished data alike visible and accessible to the professional public. A recent issue of the leading electronic journal in archaeology, Internet Archaeology, has dedicated an issue to the reanalysis of "legacy data" taking advantage of the intersection of digital distribution, new technologies, and the remarkable potential of the existing pool of archaeological data to inform contemporary research questions. We hope our paper frames not only some of the methods and procedures at stake in the re-examination of survey data, but also makes the argument that this kind of secondary analysis marks the coming of age of intensive pedestrian survey. It marks the potential of survey data to go beyond its applicability to narrowly defined research questions and to have the kind of enduring value that excavations have nurtured by long standing methods and carefully cultivated archival practices.
Proving that survey data is available for re-analysis is absolutely critical for its persistence as an archaeological methodology in the Mediterranean. And the recent transformation of post-Classical landscapes from spaces seen as stagnant and unchanging to dynamic "contingent" countrysides makes the study of the post-Classical world ideally suited as a test case.