The Internet, images, and archaeology: a tutorial

1. The range of resources available, and issues affecting their use

The range of online resources available for archaeology is vast, covering all periods and places. Archaeologists exploit new technologies to present sophisticated collections and reconstructions, and to support varying levels of interaction. These duplicate and extend accepted styles for presenting material:

A longer list of multimedia resources for archaeologists is available

General issues regarding the use of image-rich resources


In general, evaluating Web-based resources relies on approaches used for printed works, though because anyone can publish on the Web, the range of material to which students are exposed is far greater than their main source of information, the library (whose collections will have been selected by subject specialists). Undergraduates, particularly first year students, need assistance to read critically, to identify useful Web sites from the mass of dross. A short set of questions is included in this tutorial.

Technological challenges

Probably the most significant factor limiting the exploitation of multimedia online resources is their development for particular types of computer, reliance on specialist software, and delays between opening a page and seeing its content. Teaching rooms equipped with online computers may not have a layout conducive to one's teaching needs – rooms impose limits on class size; their layout supports particular kinds of interaction between student and tutor; technical assistance will be needed with medium and large sized groups. The computers and the software they hold also impose limits on the range of multimedia resources that can be used in teaching. The more elaborate multimedia Web sites use special software to read moving images, sound and so on, and these plug-ins need to be available on teaching machines. Some plug-ins will only run on PC, or Macintosh, and some are specific to particular Web browsers and versions:

Copyright issues

If you are thinking about using or re-using digital resources in your teaching or research, you need to be aware of restrictions imposed by copyright.


Last updated: Wed Aug 21 2002

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