image/svg+xml243 VI/2/2015 INTERDISCIPLINARIA ARCHAEOLOGICA NATURAL SCIENCES IN ARCHAEOLOGY homepage: http://www.iansa.eu A look at the region Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology: National Chapter Czech Republic/Slovakia Ladislav Šmejda a,b* a Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Arts, University of West Bohemia, Univerzitní 8, 30614 Pilsen, Czech Republic b Department of Ecology, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences, Kamýcká 129, 165 21 Prague, Czech Republic 1. Introduction This article provides a concise report on the history of the joint Czech and Slovak Chapter of the Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology organization (CAA). It presents an overview of how this national section of CAA came into existence and where it might be heading in the future.It will be useful to start with some historical background. The CAA conference began as a small meeting of archaeologists, mathematicians and computer scientists at the University of Birmingham (UK) in 1973. Subsequent conferences were organized annually at various other British universities for nearly 20 years. The number of presenters and general popularity of the conferences steadily increased – with a growing number of delegates from many countries of Europe, North and South America, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. At the frst meeting held outside the United Kingdom, at Aarhus University in Denmark in 1992 (Andersen et al. 1993), an agreement was passed that the conference should be held annually in different countries, thus literally travelling around the world. At around the same time, some national chapters (country sections) were offcially established: CAA-UK became the frst local organization in 1995, followed by the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Portugal, India, Germany, North America, Norway, Sweden and others later on. In 2006, the international CAA conference was organized outside of Europe for the frst time: in Fargo, North Dakota in the USA (http://caa-international. org/about/history/).In the Czech Republic, where the interest of archaeologists in the mathematical treatment of archaeological data and application of computer methods had started early on (Soudský 1967; Bouzek, Buchvaldek 1971; Malina 1977; Podborský et al. 1977; Neustupný 1978), an annual meeting of a similar kind has been running since 2002, quite independently of the international CAA meetings. From the beginning, these nationally-organised meetings took their name after the edited volume “Počítačová podpora v archeologii” (Computer support for archaeology), which had been put together and published by Jiří Macháček fve years earlier (Macháček 1997). The very frst Czech meeting, designated at that time as a workshop, was held on the grounds of the well-known Early Volume VI ● Issue 2/2015 ● Pages 243–249 *Corresponding author. E-mail: smejda@kar.zcu.cz ARTICLE HISTORY Received: 22 nd December 2015Accepted: 28 th December 2015 Keywords: digital archaeologyCentral Europearchaeological method and theoryconferenceshistory of archaeology ABSTRACT Computers and information technologies play a very important role in modern archaeology. This article describes the history of group of scholars interested in the use of digital technologies for the study of human past and a later establishment of the “Czech Republic & Slovakia national chapter” affliated to the “Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology” international organization. The author summarizes the main research directions explored so far in this Central European region and considers the potential for further progress. It is concluded that “digital archaeology” is a dynamic research feld here, matching in most aspects the latest developments in the international context. A future more pronounced tendency toward theoretical refexivity in various computer applications and a wider recognition of certain yet under-represented topics as valuable contributions to the general archaeological discourse is foreseen by the author.
image/svg+xmlIANSA 2015 ● VI/2 ● 243–249Ladislav Šmejda: Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology: National Chapter Czech Republic/Slovakia 244 Mediaeval archaeological site of Pohansko (near Břeclav) in South Moravia (Šmejda 2002; Švecová 2003–2004). The next year, a follow-up meeting was organized in the chateau of Nečtiny in West Bohemia (Figure 1) and here it took the form of a conference considerably increased in size, with the attendance of some 100 participants. In subsequent years, the size and format has varied but normally between 15 and 30 papers are being presented at each meeting. Oral presentations have been regularly complemented by posters – as well as by stands of commercial companies, advertising their products, where pertinent to the discussed topics (typically surveying instruments and software for handling spatial data). In most aspects these Czech conferences have resembled similar foreign events elsewhere, for example, the CAA meetings or conference series held annually in Vienna under the title “Archäologie und Computer: Kulturelles Erbe und Neue Technologien”. 2. National Chapter Czech Republic/Slovakia From time to time questions have been raised as to whether it will continue to be possible to bring new themes, methods and results if the annual frequency of the conference was maintained, and whether at some point all possible IT applications would appear to be exhausted. Nonetheless, every individual year yet another conference has materialized and the “annual tradition” has lived on even more vigorously than before (Table 1). The idea of joining the international CAA organization has gradually grown