Selected Publications

This chapter examines digital archaeology in the Canadian context through postcolonial and Indigenous perspectives. The chapter demonstrates that diversity practices can serve as both gateways and gatekeeping for Indigenous and racialized scholars in Canadian archaeology. Through the case of archaeology in New Brunswick, it is shown how barriers prevent First Nations peoples from ownership of their heritage and how Indigenous data governance principles can re-centre First Nations narratives, and open opportunities for Indigenous and racialized students to gain research experience and advanced training in digital method and practice.
Digital Heritage and Archaeology

Map Indian Archeology (MINA) is a Web-based open map platform. It is also an invitation to open conversation on and collaborate in Indian archaeology by asking questions about unknown patterns and relationships, promote the development of digital geospatial tools, and encourage greater engagement with critical cartography. The map platform is not a definitive statement on Indian archaeology. Rather, the latter is an opening for critical digital archaeological research in the Indian context.

The data governance framework includes knowledge making and strategies for data management, preservation and curation, accessibility, quality issues, as well as legal and policy concerns over data ownership and data security. These practices impact data discovery and thus processes and actions affecting the data are highlighted as specialists and the general public engage in the collection, sharing, and re-use of digital geospatial data.

Preparation of archaeological data for spatial analysis and the documentation of these procedures is now seen as key for effective management, analysis, interpretation and potential re-use of digital archaeological data.
Archaeological Spatial Analysis

In our view, digital archaeology as a field rests upon the creative use of primarily open-source and/or open-access materials to archive, re-use, analyze and communicate archaeological data, and the sharing of digital archaeological data, code and workflows. Our reliance on open-source and open-access is a political stance that emerges in opposition to archaeology’s past complicity in colonial enterprises and scholarship that rested on secrecy and restricted training and prevented access to archaeological data. Digital archaeology resists the (digital) neo-colonialism of Google, Facebook, and similar tech giants that typically promote disciplinary silos and closed code and data repositories. Just like in Hotel California, they aim to keep you on their platform indefinitely. Digital archaeology encourages innovative, reflective, and critical use of open access data and the development of open digital tools that facilitate linkages and analysis across varied digital sources.

Recent developments in geographic visualization are pertinent as archaeologists amass vast new bodies of geo-referenced information and work towards integrating them with traditional archaeological data. Greater effort in developing geovisualization and geovisual analytics appropriate for archaeological data can create opportunities to visualize, navigate and assess different sources of information within the larger archaeological community, thus enhancing possibilities for collaborative research and new forms of critical inquiry.

This guest edited issue of the Ontario Archaeology, titled Multidisciplinary Investigations into Huron-Wendat and St. Lawrence Iroquoian Connections, brings together two ends of a circle. The circle is a contemporary expression of the way the Wendat used to do things in the past. In other words, it is a significant example of a contemporary chain of alliance.

Few scholars today would argue that archaeology is practised in a social and political vacuum, or insist that the history of archaeology offers little more than a “nostalgic retreat” as David Clarke (1968: xiii) once remarked. But this does not mean that archaeologists are in agreement regarding the relationship between the history of archaeology and the practice of archaeology. These fault lines are especially evident when we consider national styles of archaeology and the colonial history of the discipline.

Who studies the historiography of archaeology? Who reads the history of the discipline? Recent years have seen growing interest in the history of archaeology as is reflected in works such as Christenson (1989), Trigger (1989; 2006), Chakrabarti (1988; 2003), Singh (2004), Díaz-Andreu (2007), and special issues in Antiquity (Schlanger 2002) and Complutum (Moro Abadia & Huth 2013). The target audience for these publications is specialists. So what is novel about geographic and spatial approaches in the history of archaeology?

This chapter examines cultural continuity in the practice of Indian archaeology and questions essentialist models of race, language, and caste.
Human Expeditions

Visualizing where and when archaeologists carried out fieldwork is a first step to understand how and why social tensions emerge and to address what we have yet to know. Through the case of post-colonial India, this paper presents innovative spatial approaches to the history of recent archaeology and aims to create the conceptual space to understand how societal factors such as political instability and social unrest, national styles of science, competing research traditions and culture influenced Indian archaeology.

Recent Publications


Course syllabi available

  1. Digital Arts and Humanities Seminar (Graduate level)
  2. Introduction to World Archaeology (100-level)
  3. Archaeological Inquiry & Practice (200-level)
  4. Digital Methods in Archaeology & Heritage (300-level)
  5. Settling Down: An Archaeology of Early State Societies (300-level)
  6. Digital Anthropology (400-level)
  7. Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (200-level)
  8. Scientific Applications in Archaeology (400-level)

Recent Talks & Workshops


Digital Heritage Governance at Westbank First Nation

This is a collaborative project between Westbank First Nation Archaeology and UBC Okanagan that focuses on enacting Indigenous data governance principles such as OCAP® (ownership, control, access and possession) in digital heritage. The principles can help guide appropriate ways to share digital heritage within and beyond Westbank First Nation, while simultaneously reaffirming community caretaking and possession of its digital heritage. This is one way to minimize the potential for misuse of Westbank First Nation’s knowledge and heritage. Westbank First Nation is one of eight members of the Okanagan Nation Alliance, and represents syilx people and their interests within Westabank First Nation’s area of responsibility.

Visualization of Digital Archaeological Collections

UBC Okanagan and Open Context have developed an interactive visualization that can be used to learn about digital archaeological collections. The team is comprised of Dr Neha Gupta (CCGS), Dr Fatemah Fard (CS), Dr Eric Kansa (Open Context) and Mohammad Hadi, a graduate student in Computer Science. Visualizations summarize large amounts of digital information and allow options like grouping and filtering of data. With interactive tools, Indigenous peoples, archaeologists and members of the public can engage with digital archaeological information.

ODATE: Open Digital Archaeology Textbook Environment

ODATE is an e-textbook project funded by the Province of Ontario’s eCampus Ontario Open Content Initiative. Digital archaeology encourages innovative and critical use of open access data and the development of digital tools that facilitate linkages and analysis across varied digital sources. Led by Dr Shawn Graham (Carleton University), this e-textbook was prepared to promote digital methods and practices in archaeology and to facilitate learning in, and through a digital environment.

MINA | Map Indian Archaeology

MINA is a public digital Web-based platform that maps Indian archaeology through time and that can enable linking with other dynamic and static geographically-referenced sources of information such as newspapers, journal articles and archaeological reports. MINA aims to promote interest in the archaeology of India and facilitate broader collaboration in developing digital tools and technologies for archaeology.

Northern Kerala Archaeology Project

Northern Kerala Archaeology Project, NorKAP for short, is a collaboration between Memorial University and the University of Kerala. The project, led by Dr Neha Gupta and Dr Rajesh SV (Kerala) examines long-term change in the social and political organization of past societies in the Bharathapuzha River Valley in northern Kerala. Preliminary results were presented at the Society for American Archaeology meetings in April 2017.

Circles of Interaction

Circles of Interaction aimed to enhance collaboration between archaeologists and the Huron-Wendat Nation and to facilitate discussion between them regarding the collection and interpretation of archaeological data and the preservation of cultural heritage. Led by Dr Alicia Hawkins (Laurentian University), the project culminated in the publication of conference proceedings in a special issue of Ontario Archaeology (Volume 96).

Health & Social Services for Linguistic Minorities

The Training and Human Resources Development Project at McGill University aimed to address inequalities in the availability of health and social services for linguistic minorities in Quebec, Canada. The project is based on the principle that a person must have access to health and social services in their first language. Quebec is the only Canadian province with a French-speaking majority. The project focused on service availability for English-speakers, a linguistic minority in the province.

Parc Safari Burial Detection

The project was a collaboration between archaeologists and geographers at McGill University. The project aimed to develop tools and technologies in the detection of clandestine graves for the investigation of human rights abuses. The team carried out interdisciplinary field studies at an animal cemetery that Parc Safari had used between the 1970s and early 2000s. Parc Safari is a zoological park in Hemmingford, Quebec.