In this essay, we examine the potentials and challenges of mobile computing for a core activity of archaeological laboratory research—the typological analysis of ceramics. We discuss the collaborative development, implementation, and evaluation of the PAZC Ceramics module in the FAIMS Mobile platform. Our deployment of the module yielded significant improvements in the efficiency of data collection, as well as reduced numbers of missing fields and higher user satisfaction scores. However, it did not improve data consistency between users and yielded a classificatory system that was somewhat more challenging to update than our previous mode of operation. These results underscore some of the trade-offs that may be entailed in employing mobile technologies for archaeological applications and highlight the ways in which specific media configurations impact the production of archaeological knowledge.
VanValkenburgh, P., Silva, L. O. G., Repetti-Ludlow, C., Gardner, J., Crook, J., & Ballsun-Stanton, B. (2018). Mobilization as mediation: implementing a tablet-based recording system for ceramic classification. Advances in Archaeological Practice, 6(4), 342-356. https://doi.org/10.1017/aap.2018.12