Andrew Reinhard

Research project

Archaeological tools and methods for documenting machine-created culture in digital built environments

Supervisor: Sara Perry
Digital games and virtual worlds are both archaeological sites and artefacts. These born-digital built environments contain their own material culture, sometimes created by people directly, and at other times created by algorithms triggered via code one step removed from the programmer. This thesis seeks to apply/amend current archaeological tools, method, and theory to these incorporeal spaces while searching for a greater understanding of how hardware begets culture through both human and non-human agency and computational complexity. Any rules derived from the study of games/worlds might then be applied to real-world sites as predictive models for settlement patterns and artifact distribution.


Andrew earned his BA in art history and archaeology from the University of Evansville (Patrick Thomas, supervisor) and his MA in art history and archaeology from the University of Missouri - Columbia (William Biers, supervisor). His MA thesis covered Attic janiform head vases of the 6th and 5th centuries BC. He has excavated in Italy (Poggio Civitate), Greece (Isthmia), Illinois, and Kansas, and most recently excavated the so-called "Atari Burial Ground" in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

Andrew is one of a handful of PhD students at York studying the intersection of archaeology and digital games. He runs the Archaeogaming blog at In his non-academic life, Andrew is the publisher for the American Numismatic Society, and was the publisher for the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. Prior to that, he worked in museum software for ten years before returning to Classics and archaeology. Andrew is part of the Punk Archaeology collective, and also plays bad music loudly and loud music badly.

Contact details

Andrew Reinhard
Department of Archaeology
University of York
The King's Manor

Tel: (44) 1904 433931
Fax: (44) 1904 433902