The Center for Digital Antiquity staff and collaborators report a very successful year in the area of grant awards.  Last spring, Keith Kintigh (School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University), a member of the Center for Digital Antiquity Board of Directors, and a group of co-investigators were awarded a three-year grant, “The Digital Archive of Huhugam Archaeology,“ by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Division of Preservation and Access, Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Program.   The Digital Archive of Huhugam Archaeology (DAHA) project will create a comprehensive digital library of reports on archaeological investigations of the ancient Huhugam (Hohokam). These central and southern Arizona inhabitants once tamed the Sonoran desert through sophisticated irrigation, far-flung networks of ceremonial ball courts, specialized craft production, extensive trade, and large, long-lived towns. When complete, the archive will contain copies of 1600 major archaeological reports, estimated to total roughly 400,000 pages.  The DAHA archive content is already being built in tDAR.

Drawing of Compound A, including the Great House, at Casa Grande Ruins National Monument


The digital archive will reside within Digital Antiquity’s tDAR(the Digital Archaeological Record) online repository that preserves and provides access to archaeological and cultural heritage data and information. The archive will provide scholars with crucial long-term data for comparative studies, indigenous communities with access to a wealth of research on ancestral populations, teachers at all levels with firsthand research texts for classroom use, and the general public with a reliable, valued resource to learn about this fascinating ancient culture.

Kintigh is the lead PI for the grant for which Digital Antiquity Executive Director, Frank McManamon is one of the co-PIs.  Digital Antiquity Director of Technology Adam Brin, Program Manager, Leigh Anne Ellison, and Lead Digital Curator, Rachel Fernandez also have substantial roles in the project. Digital Antiquity is partnering with the Amerind Museum (Director, Christine Szuter) on the project.  Other collaborators and co-PIs on the grant include ASU colleagues in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change (David Abbott and Richard Toon), ASU Libraries (Michael Simeone), and American Indian Studies (David Martinez).

Also in the spring, the National Science Foundation Archaeometry Program awarded a two-year grant to Digital Antiquity, “Advancing Synthesis, Open Access, and Reproducibility in Archaeological Research,“ Kintigh again is the lead PI and McManamon co-PI with substantial involvement by Brin, Ellison, and Fernandez at Digital Antiquity.  For this grant, Digital Antiquity is partnering with the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center and the CRM firm Brockington and Associates.  The award will enable the research team to simplify the procedures, or workflow, from data collection to deposit of useful data and information in a digital repository where they can be discovered, accessed, and used for future research, education, public outreach, and resource management.

During the summer, we learned from Michael E. Smith, our colleague at the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, that the National Science Foundation Archaeology Program was funding a two-year grant, “Documenting, Disseminating, and Archiving Data from the Teotihuacan Mapping Project,“ for which Smith is the lead PI and McManamon co-PI and Angela Huster is the post-doc for the project.  The digital data created and updated will be added to a tDAR collection for the project, now under construction, where it will be broadly accessible for future research and educational uses.

At the beginning of December, our colleague Michelle Hegmon (School of Human Evolution and Social Change,  Arizona State University) was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Digital Humanities Program.“  The award will provide support for the development of tools to enable online analysis and research of digital collections, in particular for images, the testbed for the project is the Mimbres Pottery Images Digital Database (MimPIDD) in tDAR.

This new work will build on earlier developments that have made available and accessible many of the striking images from ancient Mimbres pottery through tDAR.  Assembled by Hegmon and colleague Steven LeBlanc (Harvard, retired), MimPIDD contains over 10,000 images of Mimbres ceramic vessels, among the most spectacular and renowned prehistoric pottery in North America. The Mimbres archaeological culture, concentrated in southwest New Mexico, is particularly noted for its stunning black-on-white style bowls, which were often decorated with naturalistic designs (especially ca. A.D. 1000-1130). MimPIDD digital images illustrate the painted designs on each vessel, along with associated descriptive information about archaeological context, temporal style, and vessel form and size. For the new project Hegmon will work with Center for Digital Antiquity Director of Technology, Adam Brin, DA Executive Director, Frank McManamon, and ASU Libraries’, Mary Whelan.


Left image:  #10050, Style III Bowl from Swartz site (2012), Right image: #140, Style III Bowl from Deming area (2012)

At Digital Antiquity, additional grants work continued on projects begun in 2016.  Work on the dataARC project  with colleagues at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, Colleen Strawhacker (dataARC  PI), the North Atlantic Biocultural Organization, the Center for Advanced Spatial Technology, plus researchers in Iceland, Scotland, Sweden, and other parts of northern Europe and the North Atlantic.  dataARC is producing online tools and infrastructure to enable researchers from a broad range of disciplines to study the long-term human ecodynamics of the North Atlantic, including Iceland, Greenland, and the Orkney Islands. Digital Antiquity Director of Technology, Adam Brin serves as the technical lead for DataARC.

Further work also is underway on the SKOPE II (Synthesizing Knowledge of Past Environments) project. Kintigh, Kohler, and Brin are involved in the project, which provides an online resource for paleoenvironmental data and models. It enables scholars to easily discover, explore, visualize, and synthesize knowledge of environments in the recent or remote past. Through a 2016 collaborative award to Arizona State University (ASU), the University of Illinois at Urbana -Champaign (UIUC), and Washington State University (WSU), the National Science Foundation is funding the ongoing development of SKOPE (SKOPE NSF proposal page).

Congratulations to Michelle Hegmon (School of Human Evolution and Social Change,  Arizona State University) for her recently awarded grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Division of Preservation and Access, Promotion of the Humanities Program,  “From Library to Laboratory:  Developing Tools to Enhance the Use of Digital Archaeological and Other Humanities Collections.”  The award provides support for the development of tools that will allow online analysis and research of digital collections, especially those with images.  The testbed for the project is the Mimbres Pottery Images Digital Database (MimPIDD), a large collection of archaeological pottery images from the Mimbres region of the US Southwest that is contained in tDAR (the Digital Archaeological Record).

This new work will build on earlier developments that have made available and accessible many of the striking images from ancient Mimbres pottery through tDAR.  Assembled by Hegmon and colleague Steven LeBlanc (Harvard, retired), MimPIDD contains over 10,000 images of Mimbres ceramic vessels, among the most spectacular and renowned prehistoric pottery in North America. The Mimbres archaeological culture, concentrated in southwest New Mexico, is particularly noted for its stunning black-on-white style bowls, which were often decorated with naturalistic designs (especially ca. A.D. 1000-1130). MimPIDD images illustrate the painted designs on each vessel, along with associated descriptive information about archaeological context, temporal style, and vessel form and size. Numerous collections of Mimbres pottery vessels exist, scattered across many countries and dozens of museum and private collections. The dispersed nature of these collections makes it difficult to undertake comprehensive studies of Mimbres ceramics. The MimPIDD image collection and database brings together in one virtual place visual and descriptive information from many of these collections, allowing easy access to a wealth of disparate data.  The MimPIDD collection is one of the most popular in tDAR.  Tens of thousands of page views and hundreds of downloads of the public version of the database and individual images are recorded.

For the new project Hegmon will work with the Center for Digital Antiquity Director of Technology Adam Brin, DA Executive Director Frank McManamon, and ASU Libraries’ Mary Whelan.

Guest Author: Sharlot Hart, Archeologist and Acting Public Information Officer, Southern Arizona Office, National Park Service

Jeffery Burton’s 1992 report “San Miguel de Guevavi: The Archeology of an Eighteenth Century Jesuit Mission on the Rim of Christendom” has been downloaded from tDAR 41 times (the metadata record that is linked to the report in tDAR has been viewed even more frequently, nearly 1700 times since it was created and the file uploaded in 2010).  That’s a lot for an off-the-beaten-path archaeological site that’s usually closed to the public.  Mission Guevavi, situated along the upper Santa Cruz River, is preserved by the National Park Service (NPS) as a detached unit of Tumacácori National Historical Park.  While the park provides special tours of the site, its remote location and minimal standing architecture makes it less than ideal for visitation from the general public. The figure with this posting (Figure 7.1) is from Burton’s report and shows plan and cross-section of the church at the mission.  Guevavi still has so much to add to the archaeological record, though, and it served as the site for a University of Arizona/NPS/Desert Archaeology, Inc. joint field school from 2013 to 2015.

In this light, it makes a little more sense that the seminal report on Guevavi has been downloaded so many times. Digital access to documents like this one is imperative these days. While NPS managers may have a copy of the report in dead-tree (i.e., paper) form, digital access is especially important for our current college students who often prefer digital form. Even for NPS archeologists, digital access is often times quicker than tracking down the park’s copy (Who’s desk did I see that on?). For other researchers and interested members of the public, who cannot easily visit the park office where a paper copy may exist, digital access through tDAR may be the only feasible way for them to read and use the report.

One of the main goals of the recent field school was to research archaeological remains on lands surrounding the NPS-managed core of the Mission area, to get a better idea of the site’s full occupational history.  And as an NPS cultural resource manager myself, I’ve necessarily researched the areas around Mission Guevavi to write a culture history ahead of preservation work on the church walls.  For all of these efforts, access to and use of Burton’s report has been invaluable.

Burton’s report is part of the Archaeology of Tumacacori National Historical Park project, which includes three other reports, published in 1981 and 1992.  It’s a great way to learn about two different missions, both set up along the Santa Cruz River.  And while not set up in a specific collection, the reports that tDAR houses, combined with its ability to search for projects using the geographical filter, make researching these unique sites, including Precontact, Protohistoric, Spanish, Mexican, and American Territorial periods, fascinating.  The next time you’ve got a free moment, I heartily suggest checking out the archaeology of the Santa Cruz River Valley in Southern Arizona.

On the 6-8 November, Arizona State University hosted the first Army Reserve Mission Resilience and Sustainability (ARMRS) conference, which included over 150 military personnel, civilians, and contractors in attendance. At the invitation of Ms. Kathleen McLaughlin, Deputy Federal Preservation Office for the US Army, Digital Antiquity (DA) staff assisted in the CRM sessions of the training, which Ms. McLaughlin taught.

Like other public agencies, the US Army Reserve is responsible for the care of archaeological and cultural heritage resources on the facilities and land that they manage. Data and information about these resources also must be managed effectively for access, use, and sharing. The DA presentation, “Access, Use/Reuse, and Preservation of Data and Information Using tDAR (the Digital Archaeological Record)” illustrates how the tDAR repository is a tool that the US Army Reserve can use to meets its responsibilities. In addition, use of tDAR by US Army Reserve CRM staff will make managing and using the data much more effective and efficient.

The overall mission of the conference sought to provide training, context, and understanding of sustainability and its importance to the Army Reserve.  ASU, being a pioneer in the field of sustainability, covered multiple subjects from infrastructure and building to reusable energy sources and the processing of wastewater.

This platform provided the ideal opportunity for the Center for Digital Antiquity (DA) to present their commitment to archaeological sustainability and reuse of nonrenewable archaeological sources.  DA’s Executive Director Frank McManamon, along with Program Manager Leigh Anne Ellison and Digital Curator Rachel Fernandez were part of the professional training and discussed with the session participants access to, reuse of, and long-term preservation for digital archaeological data and other cultural heritage resources.  tDAR, as the premier archaeological repository, would present the Army Reserve with the opportunity to preserve and protect the cultural resources that are located on bases and facilities throughout the US, which they are responsible for managing.

Many of the training attendees expressed interest in learning more about the Center for Digital Antiquity and support that tDAR could provide in the Army Reserve’s mission towards continued sustainability.

Since July, Digital Antiquity staff have been working with the Digital Archive of Huhugam Archaeology (DAHA) research team to compile archaeological grey-literature reports on the Huhugam.  A new post is up on the DAHA website about how (and why) we identified Huhugam geographic sub-areas and added these to tDAR basemaps for improved, automatic geospatial metadata generation as we upload files.  Are you intrigued?  You can read the full post by David Abbott, Keith Kintigh, and Mary Whelan here.

Guest Author: Kathy Couturier, Cultural Resource Manager/Archaeologist

tDAR is used by Avon Park Air Force Range (APAFR) as a safe place to store digital documents, images, and other data outside of the cumbersome Department of Defense (DoD) IT system.  When we have new contracts at APAFR we have to send them our past survey work (34 years) which is impossible using the DoD system.  Giving a contractor access to our records, all in one spot, is convenient, safe and easy for both APAFR and the CRM firm doing the investigation for us parties.

Another advantage of using tDAR is as a back-up system for the DoD system.  If my records are wiped out for whatever reason, I can go to tDAR and pull my records for a fresh start with very little effort.

And finally, one of the key advantages of tDAR is other archaeologists can get a glimpse of the research going on at this facility, and request access.  We have 34 years of survey work which is not available to the general public, but could be a great asset to other professionals and professional institutions.  Without tDAR archives they might not be aware this work was even done.

The Center for Digital Antiquity is incredibly excited to announce that for the first time, we have partnered with The Society for Historical Archaeology to preserve the meeting abstracts and make the presentations and data used to support them available in tDAR.  As a presenter you can access your record in tDAR, edit the metadata, and upload a PDF copy of your paper, presentation, poster, or other supplementary data (up to 3 files/30MB).  The project is now live in tDAR.  Here’s how to get started:

Find your Abstract

  1. Search for your abstract.
  2. Request access (will require a free registration) by clicking on the “submit correction, comment (requires login)" on the right-hand side of the page.
  3. Once completed, we will send you a message within one business day with a link to edit the abstract and upload the record.
  4. Scroll down and edit or enhance any of the metdata.  Click on the green "add files" button under "Attach Document Files" and follow the prompt to upload a copy of your paper, poster, or associated data .  If you are adding multiple files (e.g. your paper, a copy of your presentation, and a dataset) you will probably want to create a project.
  5. Click save and you are done!
  6. As always, please call or email Leigh Anne at (480) 965-1593 or with any questions along the way!

For the 3rd year in a row, the Center for Digital Antiquity (Digital Antiquity) collaborates with The Society for American Archaeology (SAA) to publish, make accessible, and preserve the abstracts and presentations from the Annual Meeting of the SAA. Working with SAA, Digital Antiquity staff have uploaded to tDAR all the abstracts for the symposia and presentations that were part of the recent SAA annual meeting in Vancouver.

If you were a presenter at the 2017 SAA meeting you can uploaded your presentation and supporting data to tDAR at no cost.  The symposium and presentation abstracts are already uploaded and in tDAR.  Promote your research and presentations, help other researchers find and cite your SAA presentation by making it available today!  Steps on how to upload your presentation can be found here, for your convenience.

Note that a similar arrangement exists for presentations for the past two SAA annual meetings, 2015 San Francisco and 2016 Orlando. You still can add your presentations made at either of these meetings in the same manner.

In March of this year, Digital Antiquity and the SAA renewed and updated the formal agreement between them to promote good practice in the care, curation, preservation, and use of digital data. The new agreement expands the SAA membership categories for which annual “no cost” uploads of files to tDAR are available, while also increasing the number of file uploads from 3 to 10.  Now, in addition to  student members being eligible for the uploads, SAA members who are retirees, members of Tribal Historical Preservation Office programs,  and members from countries that qualify for “discounted membership rates” will receive this additional benefit of  SAA membership.

These new benefits for SAA members in the above listed categories of SAA allow individuals to upload up to 10 files (up to 100 MB) per membership year at no-charge to them.  We encourage members to take advantage of this opportunity to preserve and promote their work for the purpose of education and re-use by other archaeologists.  Our common goal with SAA is to create a wealth of discoverable, accessible, and useful data for the archaeological research community.

When you are ready to take advantage of these exciting benefits please email to receive your SAA membership benefits voucher.  At Digital Antiquity, we look forward to preserving and protecting your archaeological information for re-use in new investigations and research.

Digital Antiquity is pleased to announce Prehistoric, tDAR’s 16th major release.   This software release showcases: a unified search interface, significant improvements to features related to rights and permission, a redesign of the dashboard, as well as many smaller updates and general improvements.

Unified Search:

The simple and advanced searches in tDAR continue to search active resources, but now also search collections and data integration.   This means that no matter what you’re looking for, you can now search in one place.  We’ve also added a separate “limiting” section on the left to allow you to drill down to a specific type (if needed).

Rights and Permissions:

tDAR has always supported Open Access for materials, but we recognize that not all materials should be publically shared.  In this release of tDAR we’ve added a number of features to assist in the management of rights and permissions.

Rights and Permissions Page:

We’ve moved the rights and permissions section from the collections and resource edit pages into their own dedicated pages.  This allows for faster and easier access to these functions. It also allows us to add a few new features such as timed access and invite a user.

Timed Access:

You can now grant access to a collection of resources or to an individual resource for a limited period of time.  Simply select a person, assign rights, and choose a date after which the permissions will be revoked.  tDAR will email both you and the user to let them know when access has expired.

Invite a User:

Have you ever wanted to share access to a resource or a collection, but the person you wanted to share with wasn’t currently a tDAR user?  In Prehistoric you can add unregistered users to the access page.  You will be prompted by tDAR to customize an invitation email to the unregistered user, and when the new user registers, he or she will be granted access to the item automatically.

New Dashboard:

We’ve separated out the user dashboard into a series of pages, each dedicated to a specific task: “resources”, “collections”, “bookmarks”, “billing accounts”, “my profile”, and “export.”  Each of these pages integrates features from the existing dashboard but provides easier access.

As a final note, we would be remiss without recognizing the significant contributions of Jim DeVos to this and all other releases over the previous six years.  We wish him the best in his new role with the ASU Libraries. We are also glad to have Brian Castellanos join us and look forward to work with him to make tDAR better.



One hundred eleven years ago last month, President Theodore Roosevelt signed legislation that enacted the Antiquities Act of 1906.  Section 2 of the statute provides presidents with the authority to designate public lands of special archaeological, cultural, historical, or natural significance as National Monuments.  Such action provides special management and protection for cultural and natural resources within the area designated.


Before he left office, President Obama made a series of such designations that are being challenged, as are some of the designations made by Presidents Bush and Clinton.  The wide range of political philosophy among these three recent presidents indicates the historically broad appeal and use of the National Monument designation authority by presidents since the Antiquities Act became law over a century ago.


The Department of the Interior is seeking comments concerning possible recommendations that the Secretary may make regarding Presidential action, legislative proposals, or other actions regarding Act.  Comments on this topic are being sought, but must be made before 10 July.  For those who wish to make a comment, you can find the page here.


The Antiquities Act is an important United States law, not only for the National Monuments designation authority, but for other historical and contemporary matters as well.  For those interested in digging deeper into the law, its use by Roosevelt and subsequent US presidents to preserve important cultural and natural resources, and its importance to the historical development of archaeology from information available in a tDAR collection on these and other related topics.


The tDAR collection includes documents related to the history and use of the Antiquities Act of 1906.  The statute laid the foundation for archaeological preservation, conservation and historic preservation laws passed through the 20th century.  It remains an important statute into the 21st century.