The Compelling Computer Image - a double-edged sword

Harrison Eiteljorg, II

Director, Center for the Study of Architecture and the Archaeological Data Archive Project, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010, USA. Email:

Cite this as: Eiteljorg II, H. 2000 The Compelling Computer Image - a double-edged sword, Internet Archaeology 8.


The use of computer images of ancient monuments provides scholars with a double-edged sword. We can present more compelling and believable images than ever before, and we need few artistic skills to do so. On the other hand, the images can be so compelling that even rather sophisticated viewers may accept uncritically the information presented. Thus, if we use the power of the technology without taking great care, we risk doing archaeology a disservice, because we may inadvertently imply certainty where it cannot exist and agreement where it does not exist. It is probably too early in the history of archaeological computing to determine answers, but perhaps we can begin here by trying to ask some of the right questions.

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