Archives of Archaeology

July 31, 2012

Ancient technologies, like phones mounted to the wall or floppy discs, are often important steps in the advancement of knowledge and understanding. They can, though briefly, be the height of popularity and transform the way we go about our life. Microcards were none of these things, though it might have been. Intended to make it easier (especially for libraries) to store large amounts of information, the microcard was invented in the mid-1940s and reached peak use within the next 15 years. Soon, microcards were eclipsed by microfiche and eventually, digitization and the Internet.

The Society for American Archaeologists took a chance on the short lived technology and published 39 volumes of the Archives of Archaeology on microcard. This publication, made up of 29 archaelogical reports, has been long neglected since so few people have ever heard of microcard, let alone have access to a reader. With the hard work of Professor Joe Tiffany at the UW-La Crosse as well as libarians Anita Evans and Bill Doering at the UW-La Crosse Murphy, the publication is now fully searchable and online. The series was edited by the late David A. Baerreis, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Through the digitization of Archives of Archaeology, scholars can now easily learn about tools, housing, trade goods and more of the peoples of such diverse geographic locations as Iowa, California, Mexico and Belize (then known as British Honduras).