Illustration credit: Ainsley Seago

Earlier this year the Board of the American Cultural Resources Association (ACRA) @acracrm endorsed and posted on the ACRA website two important documents promoting the sharing of data (e.g., reports and other documents, images, data sets, and other kinds of digital files) among archaeologists and other cultural resource specialists in CRM, academic and museum positions, public agencies, and other organizations.  One is a three-page policy document focused on promoting greater synergy between academic professionals and the CRM industry.  The document, which stresses the benefits of and need for greater communication and collaboration, presents recommendations of an ACRA task force, led by Duane Peter, that worked on the issue.  The second document, “Digital Data Curation and Access:  Why You and Your Organization should be Actively Involved”, summarizing the reasons for and benefits of greater sharing of data.

Additional publications concerning digital archaeology and data curation, including reports, case studies, and other helpful materials, can be found on the Digital Antiquity Publications page.

Digital Antiquity staff and Board of Directors members were out in force at the 84th Annual Meeting of the SAA in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

With the highest attendance the SAA has seen – over 5,300 attendees! – the 4-day conference was filled with various meetings, sessions, and discussions with people at the exhibitor booth.

Rachel Fernandez with the Electric Symposium Group
Rachel Fernandez and Leigh Anne Ellison at the SAA tDAR Booth

Between the Digital Antiquity staff alone, we participated in over four sessions, sat on two committee meetings, lead a hands-on Digital Curation workshop, and spent countless hours at the exhibitor hall discussing the benefits and uses of tDAR.

Dr. Frank McManamon and Rachel Fernandez at the SAA tDAR booth
The tDAR Booth was visited by Meagan Dennison, Winner of the 2019 SAA Student Paper Award! As part of her prize, Digital Antiquity provided Meagan with 50 Files (up to 525 MB!) of repository space in tDAR to preserve and share her current and future research.

A meeting highlight of particular note was the Symposium 188, “Attention to Detail: A Pragmatic Career of Research, Mentoring, and Service, Papers in Honor of Keith Kintigh” in which our own Dr. Kintigh was recognized for his considerable contributions to the field of archaeology and advocacy for digital preservation. Among the speakers lauding Dr. Kintigh’s accomplishments were tDAR’s Founding Director Dr. Frank McManamon and Digital Antiquity Board Member, Jeffrey Altschul, further marking the session as a truly special event.

Dr. Keith Kintigh was recognized by his peers, colleagues, and mentees at the SAA Meeting
Dr. Frank McManamon speaking at Dr. Keith Kintigh’s SAA Symposium
Dr. Keith Kintigh Speaking at his SAA Symposium

Utilizing your SAA-Digital Antiquity Good Digital Curation Agreement Benefits

In order to preserve and readily share the incredible work of SAA Meeting presenters, the Center for Digital Antiquity has continued its Good Digital Curation Agreement partnership with the SAA, now into its fifth year. Through this partnership, all session abstracts from past conferences (2015-present) can be found on the tDAR website.  Further, if you are the author of an abstract(s), you can utilize your SAA Member Benefits to upload your presentation, paper, poster, or other supplementary data into tDAR for free (up to 30MB).

In addition to presenter benefits, the SAA also supports up to 10 free uploads (totaling 100MB) into tDAR for retired members, student members, members from countries with discounted membership rates, and members from Tribal Historic Preservation Offices.

Preserving and making your archaeological data accessible has never been easier! We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to enrich future research by uploading your archaeological information into tDAR. You can find your abstract and learn more about your SAA benefits here: https://www.tdar.org/saa

SAA Member Benefits page in tDAR

Recently, ASU archaeology Professor Keith Kintigh and Founding Director Frank McManamon were interviewed by Alexandra Witze, a writer for the Archaeological Conservancy’s “American Archaeology” Magazine.  The Archaeological Conservancy is a non-profit organization whose mission is to identify, acquire and preserve significant archaeological sites in the U.S. That mission dovetails nicely with our mission at Digital Antiquity: to acquire, preserve and make accessible the digital data associated with archaeological research.  In the article, Frank and Keith recount the urgent need to upload digital archaeological data to repositories like tDAR.

Most archaeologists aren’t curating their digital data at public repositories like tDAR. Kintigh stressed that proper curation is more important than ever because now much of this information is, so to speak, “born digital” and exists in no other form. Without it, future generations of scientists won’t be able to reanalyze and synthesize the information and make fresh discoveries of their own. “It’s a tragedy that we’re not adequately capitalizing on the potential uses of the data,” he said.

This follows on the heels of a forthright article by Keith last fall in “The Conversation,” where he argued strongly that “agencies must ensure that the full digital record of their archaeological investigations is deposited in a recognized digital repository.” tDAR has worked effectively with a number of agencies (Dept. of Defense, Bureau of Land Management, and the Bureau of Reclamation, among others) to make archaeological information discoverable, accessible and preserved permanently for future use.

Check out the “Disappearing Data” article on the Archaeological Conservancy website.

Digital Antiquity is pleased to announce some recent staffing changes.  In November 2018, our long serving Director of Technology, Adam Brin, accepted a new position at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, CA.  Digital Antiquity is a small team of highly skilled people who, together, have built an amazing online repository backed by sophisticated data management services.  None of that would have been possible without Adam’s work over the years. We will miss him, and wish him great success in his exciting new career with the Getty.

When one door closes, another opens, as the saying goes.  So it is with tDAR, as we now welcome (back) Digital Software Engineer Jim deVos.  Jim worked at tDAR in the early days, and now has rejoined our team to help us move forward into our second decade. It’s an exciting time with several new projects in the offing. Jim’s background – from Qwest, to Honeywell, to the ASU Library and back to Digital Antiquity – brings a wonderful mixture of skills and experience that will enable us to continue to deliver the highest quality technical services.

Also joining the tDAR team is Administrative Specialist Charlene Collazzi.  Charlene has a strong background in archaeology, participating in fieldwork projects in Chile, Panama, and Egypt on the way to earning her Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology at UCLA. Before joining Digital Antiquity in December, she held various Administrative positions at the UCLA Medical Center and most recently at the Boulder County Land Use Department in Colorado. Charlene is in charge of our business processes, manages the office, and heads up tDAR communications duties including website and social media posts.

The 84th Annual Society for American Archaeology meeting is just around the corner, and Digital Antiquity staff look forward to participating in a variety of symposiums, forums, and other events throughout the week of April 10-14, 2019 in Albuquerque, New Mexico! Digital Antiquity highlights will include a symposium honoring the illustrious career of Keith Kintigh (4/12), a workshop geared towards helping SAA members utilize tDAR’s digital data curation services (4/13), and many other exciting happenings listed below.  

Digital Antiquity staff will also be on hand at Exhibit Hall booth #505 throughout the week, so be sure to stop by with any tDAR or digital curation related questions, learn more about the SAA/Center for Digital Antiquity Good Digital Curation Agreement, enroll in our raffles to win some great prizes, or just stop by to say hi!

Follow us on Twitter @DigArcRec  and Instagram at digitalantiquity for up-to-the-minute tDAR news throughout the conference!

  • Thursday, April 11, 2019
    • Digital Antiquity Booth
      • Room: Exhibit Hall in Hall 4 (ACC)
      • Booth #: 505
      • Time: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    • Symposium: [34] Zooarchaeology and Technology: Case Studies and Applications
      • Room: 140 Aztec
      • Time: 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
      • Highlight: 8:15 AM “Mapping Faunal Data to tDAR Ontologies to Address Data Comparability and Archaic Period Use of Animals in the Interior Eastern United States” —Bonnie Styles, Mona Colburn and Sarah Neusius
    • Electronic Symposium: [134] Towards a Standardization of Photogrammetric Methods in Archaeology: A Conversation About ‘Best Practices’ in an Emerging Methodology
      • Room: 10 Anasazi
      • Time: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
      • Highlight: Digital Curation of Photogrammetric Data —Rachel Fernandez

  • Friday, April 12, 2019
    • Digital Antiquity Booth
      • Room: Exhibit Hall in Hall 4 (ACC)
      • Booth #: 505
      • Time: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    • Symposium: [188] Attention to Detail: A Pragmatic Career of Research, Mentoring, and Service, Papers In Honor of Keith Kintigh
      • Room: 275 Ballroom B
      • Time: 8:00 AM – 11:00 AM
      • Highlight: 10:15 AM “Promoting an Archaeological Perspective in Repatriation, Consultation, National Monuments, and Data Science —Francis McManamon
    • Forum: [225] From “Saving the Past for the Future” to “Saving the Future with the Past”: Building Arguments for Contemporary Relevance
      • Room: 220 Ruidoso
      • Time: 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
      • Highlight: Keith Kintigh and Jeffrey Altschul, Moderators
    • Symposium: [237] Beyond Collections: Federal Archaeology and “New Discoveries” Under NAGPRA
      • Room: 130 Cimarron
      • Time: 1:00 PM – 3:30 PM
      • Highlight: 3:00 PM Discussant —Francis McManamon
    • Symposium: [256] I Love Sherds and Parasites: A Festschrift in Honor of Pat Urban and Ed Schortman
      • Room: 280 Ballroom A
      • Time: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
      • Highlight: 2:15 PM “Lessons That Can’t Be Taught: Applying Anthropology in Honduras and Beyond” —Claire Novotny, Anna Novotny and Leigh Anne Ellison

  • Saturday, April 13, 2019
    • Digital Antiquity Booth
      • Room: Exhibit Hall in Hall 4 (ACC)
      • Booth #: 505
      • Time: 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    • Workshop: Using tDAR: A Workshop for SAA Members Benefiting from the SAA–Center for Digital Antiquity Good Digital Curation Agreement
      • Room: Enchantment C-D, Foyer
      • Time: 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM
      • Workshop Leaders: Leigh Anne Ellison and Rachel Fernandez

We hope to see you all there!

Happy Centennial, Grand Canyon National Park from Digital Antiquity and tDAR

The Grand Canyon is an astonishing natural resource that has enchanted humankind for thousands of years. As evidence, this national treasure is filled with ancient and historical archaeological sites, cultural landscapes, and historic structures. 

In honor of Grand Canyon National Park’s Centennial, we invite you to dig into the Grand Canyon’s near and distant past by accessing maps, photos, research, and other resources available in tDAR!

As always, tDAR’s wealth of archaeological resources are free to access and share! Register for free to learn more about the incredible cultural landscape of the Grand Canyon!




Parashant tDAR webpage

The Center for Digital Antiquity is seeking a visionary Lead Software Engineer to help develop and expand the software infrastructure and services of tDAR (the Digital Archaeological Record), a state-of-the-art international digital repository for archaeological and cultural heritage data. This is a unique opportunity to lead the technical development of innovative systems and tools for digital data management, preservation, and sustainable access to the digital repository.

This position works with the development team to design, implement, document, and support tDAR. The ideal candidate will possess knowledge of general programming paradigms and languages, full-stack development, open source data repository platforms, and experience with full-text search platforms including but not limited to: Java, Python, Ruby, PostgreSQL, Apache Solr, Fedora, DSpace, HubZero, and Dataverse. This position reports to the Center for Digital Antiquity’s Executive Director and Board of Directors.

To learn more and to apply, visit the Arizona State University employment website. Applications will be accepted through January 21, 2019.

Workshop Dates: November 19- 23, 2018

Location: University of Ghana, Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies

Participants: University of Ghana, Dept. of Archaeology and Heritage Studies Faculty and Students, Ghana Museum and Monuments Board Staff, University of Ghana, Institute of African Studies

Workshop Instructors: Ann Stahl, University of Victoria, Dept. of Anthropology, Lisa Goddard, University of Victoria Libraries, Rachel Fernandez, Center for Digital Antiquity

Recently, our Senior Digital Curator, Rachel Fernandez, along with Ann Stahl and Lisa Goddard from the University of Victoria, had the opportunity to lead a week-long workshop at the University of Ghana in Accra. This workshop is part of a larger Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada Partnership Development grant titled, “Improving African Future Using Lessons from the Past” (IAfF). Partners on this grant include the University of Victoria, the University of Ghana, Ghana Museums and Monuments Board, Center for Digital Antiquity, and the Banda Traditional Council. The grant focuses on creating digital heritage collections that are not only relevant to scholars but to local communities and the broader public, with the idea of fostering digital heritage “communities of practice.”

At the kickoff workshop for the grant, a great group of 30 students, faculty, and staff participated in a series of lectures and hands-on activities throughout the week that touched upon topics such as best practices for digital data management and converting slides into digitized files.

By the end of the intensive week, the group had the chance to digitize documents, sort and digitize color slides, take photos and videos with audio, organize documents and add important metadata, and lastly, make draft digital data management plans to help them organize their own projects.  

Rachel was able to not only talk about the curation and planning activities that the Center for Digital Antiquity is able to provide, but also learned  about the challenges and innovative projects that are happening in Ghana. This partnership and workshop is a great example of how the archaeological community can come together with broader local and national communities to provide greater accessibility and increase preservation of valuable cultural heritage resources. We look forward to continuing working on this project and assisting in the workshops to come.

This past fall, Digital Antiquity had the opportunity to work with a new student intern, Lauren Tennison. As part of her internship, Lauren helped with adding content to tDAR for the Digital Archive of Huhugam project as well as learning skills in curation and redaction of archaeological reports. We are so happy to have had Lauren on board!

Fort Vermilion, Alberta, 2018

Name: Lauren Tennison

Position/Title: Digital Curation Intern

Degree: Currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in anthropology with a concentration in archaeology at Arizona State University.

Previous Work Experience/Research Focus: I excavated, surveyed, and did research at a Colonial era fur trading site in Alberta, Canada.  I also excavated and surveyed at a few Hohokam sites in Phoenix, Arizona.

Favorite Places to Travel to: My grandmothers in Cottonwood, Arizona and anywhere new.

Fun fact: I graduated with an Associate of Science degree from Weatherford College, Weatherford, Texas.  Then, I transferred to Arizona State to get my Bachelors of Business in Global Logistics Management.  After a few semesters of that I realized where my real passions were and changed majors.

Favorite Collection: I’ve really enjoyed working on DAHA, the Digital Archive of Hohokam Archaeology. I love seeing how widespread their empire was. 

The Center for Digital Antiquity is currently seeking an Administrative Specialist and we invite all qualified applicants to apply. This position plays a vital role within our organization. We are seeking applicants who are motivated, self-directed, and shows professionalism in working directly with the Executive and Associate Directors on administrative matters related to general operations, financial resources management, client relations, and project coordination.

To learn more and to apply, visit the Arizona State University employment website. Application deadline is October 22, 2018 at 3:00pm (MST).