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.