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Editor's Corner

I am pleased to announce a new column: Interface--Archaeology and Technology. Archaeologists have been fascinated by technology and its change through time, and many of our most successful explanations about the transformations of past cultures have been driven by technological factors. We have also been avid consumers of new technologies and their progressive improvements. Radiocarbon dating, laser transits, magnetometer surveys, SLAR images, gas chromatography, and other, often acronym-labeled techniques have become part of our tool kits. We depend on technology, and many of us use it to make up for deficiencies, both real and imagined, in our data sets.

There are prices to be paid for this dependence, and one is the need to keep up with the rapid pace of change of our technological tools. Anyone who tries to keep track of sites on the World Wide Web, or has watched the explosive growth of the Internet knows what I mean. Yet rapid change is characteristic of other technologies as well, such as in DNA analysis of animal bones, pot residues, and blood stains, geographical information systems (GIS), and image processing and enhancement in service of lithic microwear studies, to name a few. More than ever, we need help in discovering new technologies.

That is the fundamental goal of Interface. It is simply one more filter, one more organizer, to help search for useful new technologies for archaeology. Obviously, I cannot sift through the literature of many different disciplines in search of the best and the latest. And it is possible that what gets published here will be passé to the ever-growing number of technofreaks in our field. What I can promise, however, is that I will solicit articles on promising useful technologies, broadly defined, that many readers may find interesting. Our first column is about the use of hand-held computers; these devices have been around, but there has been little published and disseminated about their use in field settings. Faline Schneiderman-Fox and A. Michael Pappalardo demonstrate how this computer can be profitably integrated into the research process.

I am especially interested in your thoughts on the content of this column. Please send me ideas, names of possible authors, or manuscripts. I'm looking forward to learning a lot, and I hope that as Interface grows, you'll feel the same.


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