Archaeological Communities Online (Part 1)


When you type in “archaeology” or “archeology” in Google search, you find a plethora of web sites and pages (25 million and counting) but who actually produces these? Which groups within the larger archaeological community produce online content? Do they overlap? Do they work together? Are they interlinked?

Actually, a lot of these search results point to non-academic sources. Using for instance Clusty, a clustered metasearch site using primarily Microsoft’s Live and search engines, the top domain clusters for “arch(a)eology” (out of 311 results) are:

  • .com 32%;
  • .org 23%;
  • .edu 19%;
  • .uk 12%;
  • .gov 4%.

Of course, the .uk top domain is further subdivided into subdomains such as .co, .org, .ac, etc. Reallocating those results to their respective equivalent top domains however does not significantly alter the clustering pattern: .com 36% (commercial), .org 26% (non-profit), .edu 24% (academic) and .gov 5% (government). Note that professional organizations such as the Society for American Archaeology and the Archaeological Institute of America have non-profit domain names. The metasearch site Grokker uses the Yahoo! search engine and Wikipedia. A search for “arch(a)eology” yields 916 results which are grouped as follows:

  • .org 55%;
  • .com 17%;
  • .edu 14%;
  • .uk 4%;
  • .gov 3%.

The non-profit sector is totally dominant in these results. The metasearch clusterings reflect the bias of the search engines used. gives preference to commercial sources while Yahoo! with its human-edited-directory background emphasizes non-profits. Let’s go back to the mother of all search engines, Google, and using the domain filter find how its results tally up:

  • .com 38%;
  • .org 10%;
  • .uk 9%;
  • .edu 8%;
  • .gov 1%.

It is not really a surprise that Google prefers commercial sites too.


Another way of looking at archaeologists at work online is according to “community” or specialization. There are societies and professional organizations catering to all these types of research of olden times. A community, which is a group of archaeologists with common research interests, can be based on the type of artifacts studied:

Other communities gather around a geographic area:

Still others are grouped in regard to time period:

Furthermore, a combination of place and time (a culture or civilization) may define some archaeological researchers:

A theme can cut across time periods and geography:

Even methodology can lead to groupings:

Finally, archaeologists identify with their employment status:

A good list of archaeological associations can be found on ArchNet.

* To be continued *Part 2

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