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Open Source Platforms and Mission Oriented Archaeology - Livestream


Archaeological research is only made possible by the collaboration and cooperation of dozens if not hundreds of individuals in the field and in the laboratory world-wide. Like other field sciences, teamwork is at the core of our practice. To that end, archaeologists have been early adopters of many computational and mechanical technologies to assist in the generation, storing, and sharing of data for all stakeholders. Nevertheless, while archaeologists have written extensively about method and theory in this regard, relatively less focus has been given to the social dynamics of our teams themselves (with important and overdue recent exceptions regarding harassment and bullying). In this talk, I will argue that archaeologists ought to give equal consideration to the organizational and decision-making structure of archaeological team-based research. First, I will present a brief summary of common themes from interviews I have conducted with individuals who took part in the NASA mission to the asteroid Bennu, NOAA expedition to the Arctic ice pack, or have long experience in the video game industry (ex-Riot, thatgamecompany). I argue that despite obvious differences, there are core commonalities between what I am calling creative-scientific and high-risk mission oriented enterprises dependent on teamwork for success. Second, I will show how open source platforms, such as the kind I am developing in my consulting work as Sciscope Solutions, can play a role in fostering more of a "mission oriented" approach among team-members by making data accessible and transparent regardless of expertise. Finally, I conclude by highlighting some of the successes and current structural limitations of this approach, and invite feedback and discussion.

Speaker: Alan Farahani, SciScope Solutions

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Wednesday, 12/01/21


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UC Berkeley

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