Planning Archaeological Infrastructure for Integrative Science

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description

PLANNING ARCHAEOLOGICAL INFRASTRUCTURE FOR INTEGRATIVE SCIENCE PROJECT SUMMARY The goal of the proposed project is to prepare a compelling plan for how computational infrastructure investments in the data-intensive discipline of archaeology can most effectively serve the needs of the scientific community and contemporary society more broadly. This goal will be achieved by a sequence of two small conferences coordinated by a steering committee. Based on the conference outcomes, the steering committee will produce a report that describes and provides budget estimates for proposed infrastructure investments in archaeology, bioarchaeology, and paleoanthropology, broadly construed. The effort will be guided by a steering committee of six individuals who will together select the conference participants, set the agenda, and craft the final report detailing the proposed infrastructure initiative. The first conference will primarily be composed of archeologists who generate or use primary data and transform it into more broadly usable inferences, and a second will incorporate both archaeologists and scholars in other fields who are potential scientific consumers of archaeological data. Both conferences will include specialists in information and computer science. Intellectual Merit. A fundamental challenge of science is to confront the complexity of human societies and their interactions with the natural environment. Societies are shaped by evolutionary processes and constrained by their natural and social environments, which they simultaneously modify. Because of this complexity, understanding coupled human and natural systems must be seen as an enterprise that broadly engages social, behavioral, and economic sciences, as well as range of natural sciences. A transdisciplinary science that proposes to systematically understand the complex processes that operate on centennial or millennial scales and that encompasses segments of societies that are absent from or under-reported in recorded history must take advantage of archaeological data and knowledge. Reconstructed archaeological sequences are effectively completed experiments in the long-term operation of social and ecological dynamics played out in highly diverse social and natural environments. The outcome of the project will be a report that details the needs for and expected benefits of substantial investments in cyberinfrastructure in archaeology, bioarchaeology, and paleoanthropology that are essential to address transdisciplinary (not just anthropological) problems at long temporal and large spatial scales. Broader Impacts. Although the project focuses on investments in archaeology and closely related fields, its explicit and fundamental objective is to propose investments that will directly and importantly enhance the infrastructure for scientific research. This includes addressing the needs of transdisciplinary researchers who are attacking fundamental questions about the longterm interactions of human societies and their environments. It also addresses the needs of researchers in other disciplines for archaeological data, such as ecologists investigating longterm biodiversity using dated animal and plant remains from archaeological sites. Archaeological data and research results are essential to addressing such fundamental questions as the origins of the human species and culture, the origin of civilizations and their waxing and waning, the response of societies to long-term climate changes, and the systemic relationships of human induced changes in the environment.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date1/15/126/30/13

Funding

  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $49,999.00

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