Submitted by Sammy Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lately, the Society for American Archaeology has included an Electronic Symposium as part of its annual meeting. This year’s annual meeting is scheduled for 14–18 April, 2010. The topic of this year’s Electronic Symposium is “The Canvas of Space: Method and Theory of Spatial Investigations in the 21st Century.”
Eleven papers are posted online so attendees may read them prior to the symposium. This spurs discussion. It also means that anyone who can get online can download and read these papers.
You may find Brian D. Jones’s paper An Exploratory Data Analysis Approach to Artifact Density Correlation interesting, for example. He considers the problem of establishing statistically significant correlations among data (artifact locations) that are plotted in three dimensions—such as from typical excavation data. Archaeologists commonly try to figure out such associations, either what absence means (a house in an artifactually empty space) or what patterns of distribution mean. Jones’s model is interesting, and provides some food for thought. In short, Jones is seeking to fine-tune analysis of context, which is vitally important in archaeological interpretations.