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Jul 22 / hanreitz

Reports in Digital Archaeology: a Digital Antiquity Publication Series

Digital Antiquity announces Reports in Digital Archaeology, a series devoted to issues related to archaeological information, including:

  • research and practice in digital archiving of archaeological materials,
  • policy and other challenges facing the preservation of archaeological results,
  • advanced uses of tDAR,
  • research projects funded by the DA-tDAR Grants Program, and
  • major data accessions or partnerships.

The Reports series is free of charge and available on the Digital Antiquity website.

The first two Reports have been published and include, “Building tDAR: Review, Redaction, and Ingest of Two Reports Series” (J. Watts, June 2011) and “Policies, Preservation, and Access to Digital Resources: The Digital Antiquity 2010 National Repositories Survey” (J. Watts, September 2011). The first paper focuses on the process of preparing pre-existing archaeological reports for and ingesting them to tDAR, discussing especially the problems presented by a series of reports spanning thirty years of archaeological work and publication. The second is geared toward an analysis of the present state of digital archaeological preservation and access on the national scale, and helps to explain many of the challenges associated with the management of legacy digital resources.

If you are interested in submitting to Reports in Digital Archaeology, please contact Digital Antiquity.

Jun 28 / hanreitz

Digital Antiquity Presents tDAR at Digital Humanities 2011

On June 22, 2011, Director of Technology Adam Brin presented some of the new tools being developed to promote ongoing research using tDAR’s integration engine at Digital Humanities. Digital Humanities is the annual conference sponsored by the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO), which this year was held at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

The presentation, part of a paper session on topics ranging from Roman funeral spectacle to digital resource sustainability, highlighted the fact that tDAR is a tool for information access, a repository for preservation, and a research and practice resource. Each of these facets was visually explained in greater detail: information access through several key screenshots of uploaded resources and data input pages; preservation through a flowchart of how files and file formats are migrated and maintained.

The focus of the presentation demonstrated the new user interface and functionality built into the data integration tools.  tDAR’s data integration and mapping features enable archaeologist-friendly data synthesis and comparison for data sets within tDAR. These include a new drag-and-drop interface for data integration and the display of a pivot-table style summary of results when integration is complete.  After the presentation, a short video was shown in order to demonstrate to conference attendees the ease of using the tDAR interface.

We are looking forward to feedback from Digital Humanities attendees and from our readers. Let us know what you thought of the presentation and demo by sending us your comments and suggestions.

Jun 24 / hanreitz

tDAR Software Update (Eolian)

Regular updates to the tDAR software comprise an integral part of Digital Antiquity’s commitment to digital archaeological data preservation. The Eolian release of tDAR (late Spring/early Summer 2011) includes new resource types and powerful tools, significant improvements to file upload and management, and a focus on increasing usability. The update includes the following primary components:
  • Sensory Data resource type (new)
  • New API to add and update records in tDAR
  • Batch Upload Tool (new)
  • Better management of confidential resources
  • File replacement (new)
  • Improved page loading performance
  • Improved dataset and ontology replacement
  • Autocomplete expanded to all keyword fields
  • Improved validation and help text
  • Faceted search results page
  • Improved ontology display
May 23 / hanreitz

Digital Antiquity Partners with WSU on Dolores Archaeological Program Ingest

As part of its mission to ensure long-term preservation of and access to digital archaeological data, Digital Antiquity has partnered with Washington State University through principal investigator Dr. Timothy Kohler to add the records of the Dolores Archaeological Program (DAP) to tDAR.  This project is supported by the Bureau of Reclamation, which sponsored the original archaeological investigations.

When the Bureau of Reclamation began the construction of McPhee Dam near Dolores, Colorado, federal law required an archaeological investigation of the area that would be affected by the new reservoir. During 1978-86 the Dolores Archaeological Program (DAP) employed more than 500 people and took over eight years to survey and retrieve information from 1600 prehistoric households and villages in the Dolores River Valley. The DAP was the largest public archaeology project ever undertaken in the United States. Archaeologists fully excavated 120 sites, providing an intensive look at Ancestral Puebloan life in the Dolores area. The resulting collections are preserved at the Anasazi Heritage Center, which is a legally-designated federal repository for archaeological materials from public lands.

The DAP digital files document a large amount of data from the recovery project area in southwestern Colorado, which is now submerged under the McPhee Reservoir. This collection is a remarkable acquisition for tDAR in terms of both its scope and depth; these data have been foundational to scholars studying the ecological, historical, and social relationships among ancient populations in the northern Southwest.  Interpretations of human community dynamics based on the DAP data also are of general interest for comparative anthropological and archaeological studies.  Once these data are contributed to tDAR, they will be available to a broader scientific community as well as to interested members of the general public.

May 20 / hanreitz

Digital Antiquity tDAR Workshops

In 2011, Digital Antiquity is hosting a series of workshops to discuss issues and topics related to archaeological information management.  Our organization has as its dual mission improving the ease with which archaeological information can be accessed, as well as ensuring its long-term preservation.  With funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the assistance of our co-sponsor, the SRI Foundation, the workshops provide venues for the discussion of archaeological information management needs.  Participants also consider how Digital Antiquity and the Digital Archaeological Record (tDAR) digital archive can help to meet the needs of data discovery, searching, integration, and preservation for archaeological management, public outreach, and research.

The first workshop, in February 2011, was held in Washington, DC and featured attendees from a variety of federal agencies, state historic preservation offices, and national cultural resource management firms. This workshop provided Digital Antiquity with much-needed feedback and constructive criticism from governmental and corporate contributors to American archaeology.

On May 13, 2011, Digital Antiquity held a workshop at ASU’s Tempe campus for members of the Arizona Archaeological Council (AAC). AAC members were impressed by the access, search, and storage abilities of tDAR.  Digital Antiquity staff guided attendees through a series of demonstrations. Digital Antiquity values its relationship with the AAC and is dedicated, as updates to tDAR move forward, to continue incorporating member feedback and strengthening communication with this outstanding volunteer organization.

The third workshop in the series will take place May 24-25, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. This colloquium includes participants from tribal archaeology programs, the Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, Bureau of Reclamation, National Park Service, State Historic Preservation Offices, and CRM firms. As part of the discussions at the workshop, Digital Antiquity staff will solicit suggestions for improving tDAR so that it can be as useful as possible for public agencies and private firms, as well as to academic archaeologists. We are looking forward to a productive interchange in Denver!

If you or your organization is interested in attending a future tDAR workshop, please contact Digital Antiquity for more information.

May 20 / hanreitz

tDAR Website Updates

The tDAR website has been updated to reflect new information and software improvements available to users. Most of these updates are in the Features and Why Use tDAR pages.  The new information highlights the varied functionality of tDAR, as well as its ease of use. Additionally, the revised pages reflect a more streamlined communication paradigm, with succinct, subject-divided, bulleted lists to deliver necessary information.

Additional updates will be added as the “How to Use tDAR” page is created. Although this page is not yet publicly available, it will soon provide users up-to-date information about improvements to the tDAR user interface and other aspects of using the archive and its tools.

Digital Antiquity and tDAR remain committed to the preservation and management of digital data, including our own websites. Please let us know what you think!

May 20 / abrin

Digital Antiquity-tDAR Grants Program Results

Digital Antiquity is pleased to announce the following grants for the 2011 Digital Antiquity-tDAR Grants Program.  A few additional proposals still are under consideration.  Congratulations are in order to:

  1. Lori Reed of the National Park Service for her proposal, “Aztec Ruins National Monument Digital Archives Project;”
  2. Gregory Brown for his proposal, “Ingestion of Data from Comparative Archaeological Study of Colonial Chesapeake Culture Project;”
  3. Stephen Mrozowski and Christa Beranek of the Fiske Center for Archaeological Research (University of Massachusetts, Boston) for their proposal, “Fiske Center for Archaeological Research; Application to Digital Antiquity”;
  4. Jennifer Haas of the Great Lakes Archaeological Research Center for her proposal, “Great Lakes Archaeological Center Proposal for tDAR Archiving” (adding four large-scale projects from the northern Midwest to tDAR);
  5. David R. Abbott and M. Scott Thompson of Arizona State University and Cory Breternitz of Paleowest, Inc. for their proposal, “A Digital Antiquity Proposal: Ingesting Digital Data Sets and Project Reports from Soil System, Inc’s Data Recovery at Pueblo Grande, Phoenix, AZ;”
  6. Eric Ingbar of Gnomon, Inc., and Robert G. Elston for their proposal, “Publication of Digital Data from Tosawihi Quarries, Nevada;”
  7. Pearce Paul Creasman and Jeffrey S. Dean of the Laboratory of Tree Ring Research (University of Arizona) for their proposal, “Incorporating Archaeological Tree-Ring Dates and Metadata from the US Southwest into the Digital Archaeological Record;”
  8. Matthew T. Boulanger and Michael D. Glascock of the Archaeometry Laboratory at the University of Missouri Research Reactor for their proposal, “Digitization and Dissemination of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Archaeometric and Archaeological Database;”
  9. Stephen Reichardt and Thomas H. Guderjan of the Blue Creek Archaeological Project, University of Texas at Tyler for their proposal, “A Digital Data Archiving Approach to Managing Data from the Ancient Maya Civilization” (data from Blue Creek site, Belize);
  10. Alycia Hayes and Derek Toms of the National Park Service for their proposal, “Casa Grande Ruins National Monument Grant Proposal Award Request;”
  11. Michael Nassaney of Western Michigan University for his proposal, “Digital Storage of Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Data;” and
  12. James Roscoe of the Humboldt State University Cultural Resources Facility for his proposal, “Humboldt State University Cultural Resources Facility; Digital Antiquities Grant Proposal” (records pertaining to archaeology and history of Humboldt County, California).

We thank all who submitted proposals to the Digital Antiquity-tDAR Grants Program, and we are excited to partner with the funded investigators as they work to ingest new data into tDAR!

Apr 5 / hanreitz

Digital Antiquity and tDAR at the SAA

Digital Antiquity staff and collaborators were on hand in Sacramento at the 76th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology (SAA). At the Digital Antiquity booth in the Convention Exhibit Hall, staff demonstrated tDAR to visitors, answered their questions, and provided additional information. We thank all of you who stopped by to learn about tDAR, to sign up for Digital Antiquity eNews, or just to say hello. To those of you who couldn’t make it to Sacramento this year: you can still learn about tDAR by browsing existing content, registering in order to upload your own data, and joining the Digital Antiquity mailing list to receive the eNews.

Digital Antiquity staff also participated in three program sessions held at the SAA meeting. One of these, a SAA Forum, “Using the Digital Archaeological Record (tDAR) for Management and Research,” presented examples of using tDAR in specific archaeological projects. Another SAA Forum, “Planning for Archaeological Digital Data Management,” discussed how tDAR can be used to satisfy the the recently highlighted requirement for data management plans as part of NSF research proposals. A third session, a SAA Electronic Symposium, “Mortuary Practices in the American Southwest: Meta-Data Issues in the Development of a Regional Database,” demonstrated the basic work involved in creating a regional database (and its uses), as well as the value of a tool like tDAR for such a group of researchers.

We hope to see you next year in Memphis!

Mar 28 / hanreitz

tDAR Software Update (Debitage)

Digital Antiquity maintains its commitment to digital archaeological data preservation in part through continuous attention to the tDAR software. The Debitage release of tDAR (Spring 2011) focuses on advanced search and browsing capabilities, as well as significant changes to storage infrastructure. The update includes the following primary components:

  • The finalized version of the Transatlantic Archaeological Gateway to enable searching of Projects across ADS (UK) and tDAR content
  • A completely redesigned infrastructure for processing and storing datasets including improved support for MS Access databases
  • Significantly improved advanced search tools
  • RSS/ATOM feeds for tDAR search results
  • An improved uploading interface
  • Numerous bug fixes