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Jun 11 / laellison

1960’s Archives of Archaeology Series Finds New Home in the Digital Archaeological Record (tDAR)

In 1960, at its annual meeting, the Society for American Archaeology authorized the establishment of a new publication series making use of Microcards as the medium of publication. This move toward a condensed, durable, and accessible medium of publishing archaeological data and reports was viewed as a new approach to preservation technology in 1960. The University of Wisconsin was chosen to publish the series and a total of 29 archaeological reports on Microcards were published between 1960 and 1967 as the Archives of Archaeology series. Joseph Tiffany, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Executive Director of the Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center, details the process undertaken to digitize the 29 volumes in his article “Digitizing The Archives of Archaeology Series,” published in the May 2012 edition of the SAA Archaeological Record. Today, the Archives of Archaeology series has been integrated into tDAR (the Digital Archaeological Record) in keeping with the original publication’s goals for preservation and access. These archaeological reports, with analysis and descriptions of archaeological investigations and resources from Central America to Alaska to Japan, are reproduced digitally and in their full form in tDAR. Now these once relatively obscure reports are available for access at any time via the Internet. The entire list can be viewed as a tDAR collection at Individual reports can be accessed in tDAR using the list at the bottom of this news item. These archaeological reports contain data that has never been published before in a widely circulating format. They include early investigations into the effects of climate change on prehistoric peoples in Iowa, full survey reports from the 1959-1962 Southwest Archaeological Expedition of the Chicago Natural History Museum (also known as the Field Museum) in eastern Arizona, and a first look at English-translated Japanese archaeological reports that are foundational in current understandings of pre-ceramic Japanese occupations. Examine some of the archaeological documents here:

It is interesting to note that the original intent of the Archives of Archaeology Microcard publication program, to provide an easy and reliable means of access to detailed archaeological reports, is now being fulfilled by a new technology. The Center for Digital Antiquity, which maintains tDAR, has as its mission providing for access to archaeological information and ensuring its long term preservation.