Digitizing the Past to Protect and Preserve History

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When Adam Rabinowitz was 15 years old, his aunt, an archaeologist, invited him to join her on a dig in Sicily.

More than two decades later, Rabinowitz, now the assistant director at the Institute of Classical Archaeology at the University of Texas at Austin, is still travelling around the world getting dirt under his nails. And though much remains the same about archaeology since he first picked up a trowel, a lot has changed.

In previous eras, researchers logged their data in notebooks, which were preserved along with photographs, maps and objects, in a physical archive. Rabinowitz can still access the notebooks and negatives of people who conducted research more than a hundred years ago at the same sites he is exploring. Today, archaeologists are more likely to take thousands of digital photos, make notes in a database on a laptop or a tablet, and record careful, geographically referenced information that only a computer can interpret....

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