The availability and accessibility of digital data are increasingly significant in the creation of archaeological knowledge with, for example, multiple datasets being brought together to perform extensive analyses that would not otherwise be possible. However, this makes capturing the silences in those data—what is absent as well as present, what is unknown as well as what is known—a critical challenge for archaeology in terms of the suitability and appropriateness of data for subsequent reuse. This paper reverses the usual focus on knowledge and considers the role of ignorance—the lack of knowledge, or nonknowledge—in archaeological data and knowledge creation. Examining aspects of archaeological practice in the light of different dimensions of ignorance, it proposes ways in which the silences, the range of unknowns, can be addressed within a digital environment and the benefits which may accrue.
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