Archeology in the Future
It is arguable that, considering the rate of advancement of technology and knowledge today, the manner in which archeology will be practiced in future will be remarkably different to how it is done today. There will be, besides traditional artifacts, new sources of information like digital data, as well as new methods of extracting the information.
In future, digital data will be the equivalent of ancient manuscripts today, though not without some drawbacks and downsides. A lot of information about culture, medicine, art, politics, social life and other aspects of our lives are stored digitally in servers of such companies as Facebook, Google Scholar, Wikipedia, Twitter and others. The information stored in a series of zeros and ones (digitally) is not vulnerable to distortion or erasure (Earl 13), unlike ancient manuscripts. However, if tech companies collapse and have their servers recycled, or unless copies are continuously made and stored, the information risks being lost.
Other artifacts will be “excavated” as it is done today, only using more advanced methods. The use of more advanced versions of remote sensing, infrared detection and sending tiny robots underground will help future archeologist extract information in completeness, while at the same time preserving the sources of information for future generations. Their discovery of complex architecture, machinery, laboratory equipments and transport and communication infrastructure, among others, will reveal to them our current level of technology and know-how.
Thus, archeologists of the future will have far more information available them than is available to us today; and, coupled with better methods of excavation, they will learn, though not everything, more about us than we have learnt about past civilizations.
Earl, Graeme. Archaeology in the Digital Era: Papers from the 40th Annual Conference of Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (caa), Southampton, 26-29 March 2012. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2013. Print