tDAR digital antiquity


Digital Antiquity Announces the Dyess Air Force Base Archaeology Collection

This project, created by the Center for Digital Antiquity under contract with the United States Air Force covers documents and other digital resources from archaeological research conducted at or for Dyess Air Force Base (Dyess AFB). Dyess AFB, established in 1942 as Abilene Army Air Base (AAB), is a B1-Bomber base on 6,409-acre located in the southwest corner of Abilene, TX in Taylor County. The archaeology of the Taylor County area dates the human occupation of the area from about 12,500 B.C. into the present. Dyess AFB has at least seven recorded archaeological sites and 300 Cold War era facilities. A number of archaeological investigations of varying intensity and detail have been conducted since the 1920’s on or around Dyess AFB. The Dyess AFB cultural resource staff and US Air Force archaeologists collaborated with Digital Antiquity curators to create a digital repository of these archaeological documents and other materials.

In the tDAR archive these reports and other digital data are now readily accessible for necessary management reviews and decision-making, research and educational uses, and to ensure their long-term preservation. Air Force cultural resource staff will be able to use tDAR to access information about the archaeological resources at Dyess readily whether they are at the base, where they might be able to find a paper copy, or not.  The goal of this digital archiving effort is to identify archaeological documents, data sets, images, and other materials relevant to the area within and near Dyess; obtain or create digital copies of reports, data sets, images, and other appropriate materials; check the text and illustrations of each report and redact information that should be kept “confidential;” and deposit the materials into tDAR, where they can be accessed (as appropriate) and preserved for future use.

The overall digital archiving project for the Air Force is continuing with similar efforts underway for Shaw AFB (South Carolina) and Avon Park AFB (Florida). Regarding the Dyess materials, which have never before been widely available, only a few of the documents are regarded as having confidential information, so most of the items are generally available to registered tDAR users.  This tDAR collection of documents will be particularly useful for CRM contractors, teachers, and researchers who are interested in the archaeology in the area. Of special note for anyone interested in a good overview of the archaeology of the area is Nancy Kenmotsu’s 2011 report, Archaeological Needs Assessment for Dyess Air Force Base, Taylor County, Texas.  

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