Acta Anthropologica Sinica ›› 2022, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (01): 169-179.doi: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2021.0009

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Data science in Paleolithic Archaeology

GUAN Ying1,2(), ZHOU Zhenyu3   

  1. 1. Key laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins in the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100044
    2. CAS Center for Excellence in Life and Paleoenvironment, Beijing 100044
    3. Institute of Archaeology in Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing 100710
  • Received:2020-06-01 Online:2022-02-15 Published:2022-02-14


The examination and interpretation to the abstract data has been going since the born of Archaeology. In terms of Paleolithic Archaeology, artifact is considered as the main carrier to convey the prehistoric material and cultural information, and the scientific interpretation of the data extracted from the artifacts has become a key step in the restoration of ancient human history. Data science is the science of dealing with data, which was proposed since 1960s by computer scientist. This discipline has been applied in Archaeological studies within a context of rapid development of computer science and New Archaeology trend since later part of 20th century, especially in Paleolithic branch, which refers to natural science research avenues. According to the definition of data science, the application of this discipline in Paleolithic Archaeology could be summarized as a study of Archaeological data by statistic and mathematical method, with the help of computer program and language, and aiming at the interpretation and reconstruction of prehistoric human society. In this paper, we review the associated definitions and research history, and introduce the main areas of data science which have already engaged with Paleolithic Archaeology research.

Key words: Data Science, Paleolithic, Statistic, Human Behavior, Lithic Technology

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