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Archaeology data and non-archaeological professionals: Why do people need archaeology?

Prof. Rimvydas Laužikas, Dr. Ingrida Kelpšienė, Indrė Jovaišaitė-Blaževičienė, and Prof. Andrius Šuminas

Vilnius University, Lithuania

11 December 2023, 16.00-17.00 GMT

Image source: Rimvydas Laužikas

The proliferation of digital information technologies (IT) has created new practical opportunities for improvement in many fields, but, more importantly, it has caused major changes in how society functions. This transformative shift is explored through concepts like the Network Society put forward by scholars such as Manuel Castells and Jan van Dijk. Heritage, traditionally associated with the past, representing historical culture and knowledge, now assumes a dynamic presence in the present – serving as a versatile instrument for contemporary culture, education, the entertainment industry, social identity construction, political communication, and personal inspiration, among its multifaceted roles. 

The focus of this seminar is on the intersection of archaeology and non-archaeological  audiences, delving into the intriguing question of why and how individuals outside the realm of archaeology, who may not have formal academic training or professional certification in the subject, seek access to archaeology, heritage and associated knowledge and materials. Within this context, “archaeology-related” encompasses the wide spectrum of public interests and relationships to archaeology, encapsulating tangible elements such as immovable objects, artifacts, and ecofacts, as well as the vast realm of data, information, knowledge, education, and intangible facets like archaeology-connected traditions and practices. The term “non-professional” serves as an identifier for those individuals who may not have formal academic education, training, or official certification in archaeology, and whose primary vocation lies outside the domain of professional archaeology. How do these individuals search, filter, use, reuse, and recreate archaeology’s data for different purposes in various contexts? How do they interact with the interfaces of digital archaeology data archives? And what kind of good practices, and barriers to reuse do they find?

About the presenters

Prof. Rimvydas Laužikas is a digital heritage researcher and communication professor at the Faculty of Communication at Vilnius University. His education is in the interdisciplinary fields of educational sciences, history, archaeology, communication, and information sciences. Rimvydas’ research interests cover the communication of cultural heritage and museology, history and heritage-based identities, and the history of gastronomy. He has written four monographs (with co-authors) and more than 50 scholarly articles in the fields of his interests. He participates in international expert groups (such as the Evaluation Body of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage), heritage projects (such as CARARE, LoCloud), and COST Actions (Saving European Archaeology from the Digital Dark Age (SEADDA)) and Archaeological practices and knowledge work in the digital environment (ARKWORK). 

Dr. Ingrida Kelpšienė is an Assistant Professor at Vilnius University, Faculty of Communication. She holds two BAs in Archaeology and Economics, as well as MA in History and Cultural Heritage, and DPhil degree in Communication and Information sciences from Vilnius University. Ingrida’s research is on heritage communication in social media and digital memory in the field of digital humanities, cultural heritage and communication science. Her doctoral dissertation focuses on participatory heritage, a new shift in heritage practice, and the investigation of heritage communities and people engagement on social networking sites. She has over 15 years of work experience in the field of archaeology and cultural heritage, conducting archaeological excavations and doing research in digital humanities, communication and information sciences. She has contributed to several accomplished European digital heritage projects (e.g. Europeana Archaeology CARARE, LoCloud, Europeana Food and Drink) and participated in several COST Actions (i.e. Slow Memory, SEADDA, NEP4Dissent, ARKWORK).

Indrė Jovaišaitė-Blaževičienė is founder, director and educator of the Toy Museum in Vilnius, creator of the exhibitions based on the principles of new museology, coordinator of exhibitions, author of the museum’s educational publications for children and families. She is a doctoral student at the Faculty of Communication, Vilnius University, researching the significance of play and games in presenting cultural heritage to society. Interests: cultural heritage, museology, play pedagogy, history of toys and play. In her professional work, she focuses on the presentation of cultural heritage to the public, especially the information obtained during archaeological research.

Prof. Andrius Šuminas (Ph.D.) currently holds a professor position at Vilnius University, Faculty of Communication (Lithuania). During 2015-2017 he was employed at Warsaw University, Faculty of Journalism, Information and Book Studies (Poland). In 2010-2021 he was editor-in-chief of peer-review journal Parliamentary Studies (publisher Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania). Currently, he is an active member of EU COST Action 18230 INDCOR Interactive Narrative Design for Complexity Representations. His main research areas are communication theories, political communication, eye tracking, publishing, interactive networking and social media.