Third lecture of
Integrated Utilization of Advanced Technology in Archaeology and Heritage Preservation Today
Master Course and Continuing Professional Education Course
(University of York)
The Preservation and Re-use of Archaeological Data
There is an urgent need to preserve and integrate existing archaeological research data to enable researchers to use new and powerful technologies. Large numbers of archaeological datasets span different periods, domains and regions; more are continuously created as a result of the increasing use of computer-based recording. They are the accumulated outcome of the research of individuals, teams and institutions, but they form a vast and fragmented corpus and their potential is constrained by difficulties of access and lack of integration. Furthermore, these data are fragile and they will be lost unless they are actively curated. In the UK the Archaeology Data Service (ADS) has taken a lead role in the preservation and dissemination of digital data since 1996. It hosts over 1.3m metadata records, over 35,000 unpublished fieldwork reports, and over 900 data rich archives. This lecture will examine the issues surrounding digital preservation and access, based on 20 year’s experience. Although it describes a national solution, the problems are global, and are relevant to all those involved in the management of archaeological resources.
Julian Richards is a Professor of Archaeology at the University of York. He is Director of the ADS, the e-journal Internet Archaeology, and York’s Centre for Digital Heritage. His direct involvement in archaeological computing began in 1980 when he started his PhD research studying pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon burial ritual using the computing power of an ICL mainframe and an early Z80 micro-computer. Apart from computer applications his research interests focus on Anglo-Saxons and Viking and he has directed numerous excavations in England. He is author of Viking Age England, now in its third edition, and of OUP’s Very Short Introduction to Vikings.