tDAR digital antiquity

South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology Reports Now Available in tDAR

Recently over 200 reports of archaeological investigations in South Carolina were added to tDAR by the Office of the State Archaeologist, South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology (SCIAA).  Dr. Jonathan Leader and several of his students created a tDAR collection that is organized to hold all the archaeological grey literature and related data for South Carolina from the last 50 years. Within the statewide collection, reports are organized by county with the majority of reports so far included from Aiken, Charleston, and Beaufort counties, but other reports from around the state also can be found.  The plan is to build content using this geographic framework.

Leader and his team have uploaded both complete reports, for which access can be requested by contacting his office, and redacted versions of the reports.  The latter are available through tDAR to registered tDAR users.

This project, enabling easier access to archaeological information, is expected to alleviate a large number of time-consuming requests.  The intent is to provide a major research tool for people conducing archaeological work and historical research in South Carolina and the adjacent states. Numerous groups and teams of people will benefit from these available records including, researchers, land stewards, county planners, agency staff (state, local federal), non-profits, tribal archaeology and preservation organizations, educators, and interested members of the public.

The Center for Digital Antiquity is pleased to have worked with the  Office of the State Archaeologist on this use of tDAR to provide a means of managing South Carolina’s archaeological data. We look forward to collaborating on additional future projects with SCIAA and other State Archaeologist offices and SHPOs.

New Collection from the New York State Museum and the Public Archaeology Facility, Binghamton University

Selected reports from New York State are now available in tDAR, thanks to the New York State Museum and the Public Archaeology Facility at Binghamton University. The collection currently contains over 30 reports from 16 different counties, with plans to add more resources in the future. The reports cover CRM work done over the past three decades and will be a valuable resource for those interested in prehistoric and historic archaeology of New York State. Browse the New York State Museum and the Public Archaeology Facility, Binghamton University Archaeological Collection today!

tDAR Data Now Available in the Arctic Data Explorer

In collaboration with the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), Digital Antiquity has begun a partnership to include tDAR’s Arctic data into the NSIDC’s Arctic Data Explorer. The Arctic Data Explorer is a web application that searches for research data across a number of repositories. Including data from tDAR furthers Digital Antiquity’s mission of enabling discovery and use of digital archaeological data. The new functionality in Arctic Data Explorer ensures that when scientists search for Arctic data, archaeological data will be discovered alongside interdisciplinary data from NOAA, NASA, USGS and other repositories. Try a search now and let the Arctic Data Explorer team know what you think (contact Digital Antiquity at or NSIDC at

Congratulations to Mike Karam

Excitement is in the air at Arizona State University as graduation is upon us. One of our very own, Mike Karam, will receive his Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from ASU today. The staff at The Center for Digital Antiquity has been fortunate to work with Mike, an undergraduate Research Apprentice, since August 2014. He excelled in his work on improving the content of archaeological data in tDAR, specifically improving access and preserving legacy data from the Dolores Archaeological Program. Mike also updated over 30 other digital files and metadata records within tDAR. He greatly enhanced the content of tDAR and provided other tDAR users with more detailed information about important archaeological investigations. Congratulations, to Mike and his family, from all of us at The Center for Digital Antiquity!

SAA 2015 tDAR Abstract Project

We are back in Tempe after a whirlwind week in San Francisco for the annual Society for American Archaeology meetings.  It was a pleasure to meet so many tDAR users and contributors (current and future) face-to-face!  If you were a presenter at this year’s meetings we hope you will take advantage of the SAA 2015 tDAR Abstract Project.  We’ve collaborated with SAA to make it possible for all presenters to add a copy of their paper, presentation, poster or other supplementary data (up to 3 files/30 mb) to their abstract in tDAR.  You can also edit the metadata for your record by adding more information.  Here are some instructions for getting started:

  • Register for tDAR.
  • Contact us at via email at or by phone at (480) 965-1593 and let us know your name, presentation title and how many files you plan to upload (up to 3/30MB).  
  • We will give you access to the abstract record(s) and email you a voucher to cover the cost of your upload.
  • Log-in to tDAR  
  • Head over to tDAR’s pricing page (
  • Enter your voucher number in the “Redeem Code” field
  • Click “Next: Review & Choose Payment Method.” Your credit will be added to your account and you can begin uploading files! 
  • Navigate to your abstract record, either by locating it from among your resources under the “browse resources ” section of your dashboard (accessed by clicking “dashboard” along the top menu), or by searching for it on the search page.
  • From your abstract page, select “edit” from the top menu.  You may now add or change any of the metadata or keywords as well as attach a file.

SAA 2015 News

We are gearing up for the San Francisco SAA meetings and we want to see you!   You can find us at our booth in the exhibit hall (#501) from 9AM to 5PM Thursday through Saturday. 

We have a lot to share—first and foremost, if you haven’t seen tDAR live and in action one of our expert digital curators will be able to walk you through finding materials in the archive, as well as the simple steps necessary to preserve a digital file.  We can discuss how to go about conceptualizing and creating a digital archive, or how to organize your materials in tDAR. 

If you are a presenter at this year’s SAAs we have an exciting opportunity for you to experience contributing to tDAR at no cost.  All 2015 SAA abstracts will be available in tDAR as citation records.  Presenters are able to upload a copy of the presentation and associated data (up to 3 files totaling 30MB) to tDAR.  Stop by the booth  and we’ll walk you through the upload process or provide you with instructions for completing the upload at a later date. This is a great opportunity to share and preserve your archaeological data!

Budgeting your digital data archive can be a challenge, but we are here to help.  Ask any of our staff for guidance on developing a budget for a grant proposal or scope of work that will ensure all of the digital material you generate is properly cared for in perpetuity.   We’d be delighted to tell you about our new, reduced rates for long-term digital curation!

Where else can you find us?

Booth: The Center for Digital Antiquity and the Digital Archaeological Record (tDAR), Thursday-Saturday 9AM to 5PM, Exhibit Hall #501

Workshop: Best Practices for the Curation of Digital Archaeological Data and Information, Francis McManamon, Jodi Reeves Flores, and Leigh Anne Ellison, Wednesday 1-5PM, Continental Ballroom Parlor 3 (advance registration required)

Forum: Diverse Digital Archaeologies, Francis McManamon, Thursday 8-10AM, Union Square 25

Forum: The Prospects and Challenges of Faunal Data Integration and Comparative Analysis, Katherine Spielmann and Keith Kintigh, Thursday 1-3PM, Golden Gate 1

Poster: Best Practices for Good Digital Curation, Francis McManamon and Julian Richards, Thursday 6-8PM, Grand Ballroom A

Poster: Evaluating a Cooperative Approach to the Management of Digital Archaeological Records (ECAMDAR): A Defense Legacy Project Assessing tDAR for the Department of Defense, Sara Rivers Cofield and Jodi Reeves Flores, Thursday 6-8PM, Grand Ballroom A

Poster: Synthesizing Legacy Data: Using tDAR’s Data Integration Tool, Leigh Anne Ellison and Adam Brin, Thursday 6-8PM, Grand Ballroom A

Poster: The Digital Legacy of Public Archaeology in the Phoenix Basin, Arizona, Lauren Jelinek, Jon Czaplicki, and M. Scott Thompson, Thursday 6-8PM, Grand Ballroom A

Paper: Managing ‘A Mountain’ of Rock Art Digital Data, Jodi Reeves Flores and M. Scott Thompson, Saturday 3:30PM, Imperial Ballroom A

We’ve also got new swag and great giveaways.  Visit our booth in the exhibit hall early to secure your Digital Antiquity sticker or tDAR jump drive, and enter to win one of our daily giveaways that include books, digital storage media, and a grand prize digital preservation package in tDAR!

Best Practices for the Curation of Digital Archaeological Data and Information Workshop @ SAA 2015!

Modern archaeological investigations both produce and rely upon digital data: photographs taken in the field, GIS information, analytical and descriptive data sets, project reports, etc. These new data add to an existing, although underutilized, backlog of archaeological information, some of it in digital formats, some not. Without a well thought-out approach to data management, important information, whether in digital formats or not, will be overlooked or lost because it is forgotten, misplaced or damaged. Good digital data management requires attention to the means of data storage, aspects of archiving data, how data are to be preserved, and the curation of data so that is discoverable, accessible, and usable.

Digital Antiquity Staff will be hosting a workshop at the 2015 Society for American Archaeology meetings in San Francisco, on the background of data management, how good data management is organized, and tools and methods that they can integrate into their existing project and research workflows to ensure good management of digital data. Participants in the workshop will be introduced to the types of digital repositories that are available and where they can browse, access and download archaeological documents, data sets, images, and other kinds of archaeological information. Archaeologists, whether they work in CRM, for government agencies, or in academic positions, can use digital repositories to store, organize, and promote their archaeological work.

The workshop will focus on case studies and examples in tDAR (the Digital Archaeological Record). Participants will learn how to access and use resources in the repository and curate and manage CRM reports, data sets, photographs, GIS files, and other archaeologically relevant digital resources. Participants will need to bring their own laptop computer with wireless capabilities and a file (such as a report, dissertation, dataset, etc.) to upload to tDAR as part of the workshop.

Participants will receive a voucher for one free file (up to 10 MB) and a free copy of Caring for Digital Data in Archaeology: A Guide to Good Practice (for a total value of $80).

We also encourage you to stop by our booth in the exhibit hall.  Digital Antiquity staff will be on hand all week to answer your questions and give you a personalized tour of tDAR.  You can even sign up in advance for a 15 minute meeting with one of us to ensure you don’t have to wait!  Click here to access the calendar and select your time.

Faunal Data Entry and Integration in tDAR Workshop @ SAA 2015!

Katherine A. Spielmann (Arizona State University) and Tiffany Clark (Arizona State University) will be hosting a workshop to train participants in the uploading, mapping, and integrated analysis of faunal datasets in the Digital Archaeological Record (tDAR) at the San Francisco Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting.  tDAR provides an innovative and powerful approach to the synthesis of original archaeological data through the use of an analytical tool that makes it possible to integrate databases (or spreadsheets) that were recorded by different investigators using different analytical protocols. The resulting unified database can then be used to address a diversity of research questions.

During the workshop the instructors will introduce tDAR and explain what coding keys and ontologies are, and how they fit together in tDAR. They will then work with each participant to upload one faunal dataset and its associated coding key, and on mapping their coding key to the general ontologies for a broad range of faunal variables that are available in tDAR. Towards the end of the workshop they will demonstrate the integration of multiple datasets using the tDAR data integration tool.

If you register for the workshop, instructions for what you should do before leaving home will be emailed to you.

Sign up for the workshop when registering for the meeting. Have you already registered? You can edit your registration through the SAA registration page to add this and other workshops and events.

Wednesday, 15 April, 1:00pm–5:00pm;

maximum 10 persons;

$90 meeting attendees

We also encourage you to stop by our booth in the exhibit hall.  Digital Antiquity staff will be on hand all week to answer your questions and give you a personalized tour of tDAR.  You can even sign up in advance for a 15 minute meeting with one of us to ensure you don’t have to wait!  Click here to access the calendar and select your time.

Resources on Digital Curation, Preservation and Access

Digital Antiquity staff often get requests for information on curating, preserving and accessing digital archaeological material, and we try to share as much of our knowledge as possible through our blog, online seminars and in person workshops. Inspired by a recent conversation on Twitter, we thought we’d share resources we’ve put together and that people interested in these topics will find helpful.

Contributors to tDAR’s blog have addressed issues regarding curation, preservation and access in the selection of blog posts below:

Digital Antiquity and the Archaeological Data Service have also produced guidance on good practices for caring for digital archaeological data:

If you would like to learn more about curation, preservation and access for archaeology we encourage you to sign up for one of our workshops or online seminars offered through the Society for American Archaeology:

Do you have a specific question or topic you think we should explore? Feel free to leave a comment! Register for SAA 2015 Annual Meeting and sign up for our in person workshops. If you have already registered you can always log in and edit your registration through the SAA website. In addition to the workshops our staff are giving papers and posters and will be on hand in the exhibit hall all week.  We hope to see you there!

Preserving our Archaeological Legacy

The Center for Digital Antiquity (Digital Antiquity) and the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory (MAC Lab) are proud to announce that digital archaeological materials associated with the archaeological collections from Department of Defense bases and facilities that are curated at the MAC Lab and the Fort Lee Regional Archaeological Curation Facility (RACF) are now active and available on tDAR.  Making this wealth of archaeological information accessible was made possible through “Evaluating a Cooperative Approach to the Management of Digital Archaeological Records (ECAMDAR)” – a project funded by the Department of Defense Legacy Program. The two collections contain a wealth of archaeological data from 23 Army and Navy bases and facilities in the Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC area that has been collected over the past three-plus decades.

The purpose of the ECAMDAR project–led by Sara Rivers Cofield, the Federal Curator at the MAC Lab–was to evaluate tDAR as a potential repository for the DoD’s digital archaeological records. The study used collections from the MAC Lab at Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum (JPPM), and the RACF at Fort Lee. Together, the MAC Lab and RACF curate collections from 25 DoD installations. Existing digital data files from these installations were submitted to Digital Antiquity where digital curators, led by Jodi Reeves Flores, checked files, migrated them to current digital format standards (as needed), drafted metadata for each file, redacted very specific site location data (as needed), and uploaded the files to tDAR.  In total, 6,889 files/17.6GB from 23 installations were added to tDAR where they are now protected in perpetuity as irreplaceable records of archaeological sites and are accessible in accordance with 36 CFR Part 79 and DoD regulations.

The project was designed to test whether the features and functionality of tDAR is appropriate and sufficient to manage DoD data in a manner that is secure, cost-effective, and of benefit to the military mission. The process demonstrated that tDAR is capable of meeting these requirements and could be adopted by bases and facilities throughout the DoD. The tDAR software and features are flexible enough to handle files from many different installations. The results were positive, so comments regarding DoD-wide implementation are included in the project report submitted to the Department of Defence Legacy Program and now under final review for approval.

Digital Antiquity would like to thank Rivers Cofield and the project participants from the different installations for their time and commitment to the project, as well as the DoD Legacy Program for recognizing the importance in preserving and making accessible digital archaeological materials.

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