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Computational and Digital Archaeology Laboratory

Computational and quantitative methods are now essential and ubiquitous elements in modern archaeological research. They aid data collection in fieldworks, whether providing a digital support to old recording techniques, or by offering new ways to capture features and artefacts directly in three-dimensions. They sit at the core of archaeological sciences, bridging big questions to chemical, genetic, biological, and geographic data by means of statistical analysis. They can even provide a framework of generating new theories by modelling human behaviour using computer simulations and answer what if questions. They also play a pivotal role with our engagement with a wider audience whether through visualisations and 3d reconstructions or even creating video-games. Archaeologists are no longer passive users of these technologies, but are increasingly standing at the front-end, developing new methods and engaging into the theoretical consequences of their use in archaeological research.

The Computational and Digital Archaeology Laboratory (CDAL, /ˈsiːˌdɑːl/) brings together researchers at the doctoral, post-doctoral and faculty levels that are committed to this endeavour in the University of Cambridge. Members are experts of a variety of computational and digital methods, including GIS, agent-based simulation, network analysis, spatial statistics, remote-sensing, and digital support for fieldwork tasks. Current research spans from the detection of archaeological sites by means of remote-sensing analysis in Central Asia, to the modelling of ancient routes and the computer simulation of cultural transmission of pottery decorative styles.

The laboratory hosts a variety of meetings, including a journal club where cutting-edge papers are discussed fortnightly, a bootcamp where expert members will showcase details  of specific computational techniques, and a workshop series with international speakers presenting their latest research.