After twenty years of publication, conducting a quantitative, retrospective survey on the use of computers in archaeology represents a considerable challenge. Besides a frequency analysis of the distribution of the articles by year and nationality of the contributors, diverse subjects have been examined. These include inventory systems, databases, computer graphics, GIS and digital cartography, multimedia systems, Internet applications and museum documentation systems.
These applications are recontextualised within the main archaeological research areas involved in the process of data digitisation: Cultural Resource Management, classification of archaeological finds, surveys and excavations, data diffusion and education. They also open more complex theoretical perspectives suggested by the use of computers: data encoding and formalisation; evolution of languages, standards and metadata; the geographical dimension of knowledge; from reality to virtuality; and communicating archaeology through the web.