tDAR digital antiquity

tDAR Software Update (Prehistoric)

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.



The Antiquities Act: Historical background and Continuing Relevance

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.

Congratulations Saarah Munir!

The annual thrill of graduation is just receding at Arizona State University, but before it is overcome by the summer heat, we recognize the achievements and promise of recent grad Saarah Munir.  Last month, Saarah received her Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology. During the fall and spring semesters of her last year at ASU, Saarah worked at Digital Antiquity.  She provided valuable assistance in the creation of a digital archive for Salt River Project’s cultural resource management program.  She exhibited great care and diligence in scanning and organizing documents and preparing metadata records for reports that were entered into the new digital library.

Congratulations, to Saarah and her family, from all of us at The Center for Digital Antiquity!

In the fall, Saarah will enter the graduate program of Columbia University, working on a Master of the Arts in Museum Anthropology.  She hopes eventually to obtain a Ph.D. in Anthropology.  But, wherever her professional development leads, Saarah plans to work at broadening access and representation of marginalized communities through the study and presentation of material culture.

Before landing in NYC this fall, she will spend the summer at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, working as an intern in Archaeological Collections at the Anthropology Department of the National Museum of Natural History.  There she will assist in research related to ongoing projects, cataloging, and artifact identification. The projects she is likely to work on include Iron Age sites from Senegal, Post Classic Maya sites from the coastal areas of Chiapas, and a site on the Cocle Province in Panama.

2017 SAA Abstract Project

Once again Digital Antiquity has partnered with The Society for American 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

Enter your last name, or the title of your 2015, 2016, or 2017 SAA Poster or Paper

  1. Search for your abstract.
  2. Request access (will require a free registration).
  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. You may save your work at any point along the way, but when your edits are complete, make sure to change your resource’s status from “draft” to “active”.
  6. Click save and you are done!
  7. As always, please call or email Leigh Anne at (480) 965-1593 or with any questions along the way!

Were you a presenter in 2015 (San Francisco), or 2016 (Orlando) but haven’t uploaded your presentation yet?  Not to worry–those abstracts are also in tDAR and can be found in the search bar at the top of this page too.  Help other researchers find and cite your SAA presentations by making them available today!

Additionally, the tDAR SAA Member Benefit allows retired members, student members, members from countries with discounted rates, and members from Tribal Historic Preservation Offices to upload ten files (up to 100MB) annually to tDAR.  Contact to request your voucher.

Featured Content : Texas Department of Transportation “Peering Through the Sands of Time, The Archeology of the Caddo at the Kitchen Branch Site (41CP220) in East Texas”

Beginning in 2004, archeologists working on behalf of the Texas Department of Transportation conducted several phases of investigations at the Kitchen Branch site (41CP220) in northeast Texas’ Camp County. The Kitchen Branch site, situated on the northern bank of the Kitchen Branch of Prairie Creek (the site’s namesake), was located within the footprint of a proposed bridge slated for construction during expansion of FM 557 and would (within the expansion area) be destroyed as a result. For compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (as amended) and the Antiquities Code of Texas , those impacted areas were investigated and excavated in detail prior to bridge construction. While the site contained evidence of occupations that ranged from among the earliest humans in the New World through the 20th century, researchers focused on the remnants of a single-family home site attributed to the later phases of Caddo native history, the peoples who dominated the region of northeast Texas, eastern Oklahoma, northwest Louisiana, and western Arkansas from A.D. 800 through the age of European contact.

Extensive investigations beginning in 2004 revealed some 236 prehistoric features and collected roughly 20,000 artifacts, shedding light on a lesser-known period of Caddo culture in this particular area.  The results have been interpreted for the public by Texas Department of Transportation and AmaTerra Environmental, Inc., and are available in tDAR now!  We encourage you to visit tDAR and download a digital copy of this report, designed to be approachable and interesting to a lay audience.

Peering Through the Sands of Time, The Archeology of the Caddo at the Kitchen Branch Site (41CP220) in East Texas. Mason D. Miller, Timothy K. Perttula, Rachel J. Feit. 125 East 11th Street, Austin, Texas 78701: Texas Department of Transportation Environmental Affairs Division Archeological Studies Program. 2014 ( tDAR id: 407094) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8P55QG4

Digital Antiquity Awarded NEH Grant to Develop the Digital Archive of Huhugam Archaeology

How do you preserve the legacy of a group whose irrigation, craft specialization, trade, ceremonial networks, and large towns transformed the desert Southwest? The National Endowment for the Humanities has done its part by funding the Center for Digital Antiquity to begin producing the world’s biggest and most complete archeological research library on the ancient Huhugam (Hohokam). This new resource will be called the Digital Archive of Huhugam Archaeology.

Identification and collection of reports for the archive will begin in Summer 2017 and will build on the existing research records for this group within tDAR, which are already heavily used. This effort will be done in partnership with Arizona’s Amerind Museum and the digital library will include Amerind’s  reports on its many important archaeological investigations of the Mexican borderlands.

To tailor this online database to its users’ requirements, the NEH grant will also fund a crowd‐sourcing effort to better understand the needs of DAHA’s diverse user communities.  This includes an initial workshop of digital humanities and Native American scholars to explore new research opportunities the collection would offer, including to descendant peoples. Look for more information and coverage on this project coming soon!



Please Note: Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this post do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

tDAR seeks a new Software Engineer to join the team

The Center for Digital Antiquity is seeking a creative and innovative Software Engineer to help build and maintain tDAR (the Digital Archaeological Record), an international digital repository for archaeological and cultural heritage data.  This is a unique opportunity to leverage and expand your skills while preserving information crucial to describing and understanding the past by developing new and unique tools for digital data management, preservation, and use.

This position works with the development team to design, implement, document, and support tDAR, Digital Antiquity’s repository. tDAR is a set of Java-based web applications built using Struts 2, Hibernate, SOLR, Spring, PostgreSQL/PostGIS, JQuery, and AngularJS. This position reports to the Director of Technology.

For more information or  to apply:


Applications for this position will be reviewed beginning on April 10.

Visit Digital Antiquity in Vancouver!

As we make our final preparations for the Society for American Archaeology’s 82nd Annual Meeting, excitement is building for the event and the presentations we have planned for the conference.  There are numerous ways to engage with the Digital Antiquity team in Vancouver.  Stop by our booth (#213) in the exhibitor’s hall Thursday through Saturday, 9:00AM to 5:00PM to test drive tDAR and win a prize, enter our drawing for a digital preservation package, or speak to one of our staff about your digital archiving challenges.  You can also learn more about tDAR by attending one of our presentations throughout the week (see below).

Thursday March 30th, 2017



Room: East Meeting Room 8 (VCC)

Time: 8:00 AM–11:00 AM

Francis P. McManamon “Online and In-Person Professional Training for Archaeological Data Management and Digital Curation, ” 9:00 AM



Room: East Meeting Room 4 (VCC)

Time: 1:00 PM–3:00 PM

Francis P. McManamon, discussant



Room: East Ballroom C (VCC)

Time: 1:00 PM–5:00 PM: 4:15

Keith Kintigh, Katherine Spielmann, K. Selçuk Candan, Adam Brin and James DeVos – “Data Integration in the Service of Synthetic Research,” 4:15PM


Friday March 31st, 2017



Room: East Meeting Room 5 (VCC)

Time: 8:00 AM–10:00 AM

Adam Brin, panelist



Room: East Exhibit Hall B Poster Entrance (VCC)

Time: 10:30 AM–12:30 PM

Leigh Anne Ellison – “Digital Archiving for Archaeological Projects,” location  191-i


 Forum: “WHAT GOOD IS SECONDHAND DIGITAL DATA?” (Sponsored by Student Affairs Committee) Room: East Meeting Room 4 (VCC)

Time: 1:00 PM–3:00 PM

Francis P. McManamon, moderator


Saturday April 1st, 2017



Room: Georgia B (H)

Time: 09:00 AM–10:30 AM

Leigh Anne Ellison, workshop leader


Safe travels, and we look forward to seeing you in Vancouver soon!

Join Digital Antiquity workshops @ SAA in Vancouver!

With less than 1 month left for Advanced Registration at the 82nd Annual SAA Meeting, the Center for Digital Antiquity (Digital Antiquity) is prepping for our trip to Vancouver where we will be holding two workshops this year: “Best Practices for Digital Data Management and Curation” and “Taking Care of Your Digital Data – Developing Good Digital Curation Habits for Students.”  We encourage archaeologists, both students and practitioners alike, to join us for one or both of our workshops as we cover a wealth of knowledge on the importance of data management, preservation, and use of digital archaeological data.

Register now, as part of the SAA Annual Meeting registration, for the 4-hour workshop: “Best Practices for Digital Data Management and Curation,” led by Francis P. McManamon and Leigh Anne Ellison, scheduled for Wednesday 29 March, 1 to 5 pm.  The workshop will cover ways of organizing digital files for economical, effective data management.  In addition, workshop attendees will learn methods and tools to incorporate good digital data management practice into standard procedures and workflow for academic and CRM project and research procedures.  Participants will be introduced to types of digital data and information repositories that are available and where they can browse, access, and download archaeological documents, data sets, and images. The workshop will include a “hands-on” exercise during which participants will create a metadata record and upload a document, image, or data set file to tDAR (the Digital Archaeological Record) repository managed by Digital Antiquity. Participants should bring a personal computer and file to upload to the workshop to take part fully in this exercise. Only 25 spaces are available for this workshop and a number already have been claimed, register soon to guarantee a space.

A more condensed workshop for SAA Student members is scheduled for Saturday, 1 April from 9 to 10:30AM.   This workshop: “Taking Care of Your Digital Data – Developing Good Digital Curation Habits for Students,” led by Leigh Anne Ellison, will describe how to integrate good digital data management habits into current research workflows to ensure easy access to data and research results long into the future.  The workshop will emphasize strategies that can be employed when planning for new projects, as well as ways to introduce digital data management into ongoing or completed research projects that initially lack a digital archiving strategy.  There is no cost for student members to sign up for this workshop, but advance registration is required.

Registration for both events is limited so be sure to register for them as soon as possible!  We look forward to seeing you there!

BLM Carlsbad Adds New Content to tDAR

The Carlsbad Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management uses tDAR to preserve and make available resources created under the Permian Basin Programmatic Agreement.  To date, three projects and 18 additional resources have been added to tDAR as part of this PA.  Contractors perform the work, and upload redacted, public-appropriate resources to tDAR on behalf of the BLM.  Read on for a taste of some of the fascinating work at the Merchant Site carried out by Versar, Inc., and visit the Digital Repository of the Bureau of Land Management, Carlsbad Field Office’s collection in tDAR for all of the completed work that is currently available to the public.

The Merchant Site:  A Late Prehistoric Ochoa Phase Settlement in Southeastern New Mexico

By Myles R. Miller, Tim B. Graves, and Robert H. Leslie

The Merchant site (LA 43414) is a Late Prehistoric Period pueblo settlement located in the southeastern corner of New Mexico near the boundary where the basin-and-range region merges with the southern Plains.  The Merchant site is representative of the Ochoa phase, a poorly understood time period of southeastern New Mexico dating from around a.d. 1300/1350 to 1450.  The Ochoa phase, and the El Paso and Late Glencoe phases of the closely related Jornada Mogollon region to the west, are contemporaneous with the Pueblo IV period of the greater Southwest, the Antelope Creek phase of the southern Plains, and the Toyah phase of central Texas.  As such, Merchant and other Ochoa phase settlements were part of the widespread patterns of population aggregation, migrations, and diasporas and accompanying developments in social and ritual organization that occurred throughout the Southwest, northern Mexico, and southern Plains during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

The Merchant site was first excavated by the Lea County Archaeological Society (LCAS) between 1959 and 1965, but the results of the excavations were never fully reported.  The excavated units and features were never backfilled. In order to remedy this situation, the Carlsbad Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management contracted Versar, Inc. to perform remedial mitigation and investigation of the Merchant site under the Permian Basin Programmatic Agreement.   The 2015 fieldwork included a high-resolution Transect Recording Unit survey, surface mapping and collections, remote sensing, hand and mechanical excavations, and geomorphic studies.  The entire site of LA 43414 was surveyed and mapped, identifying several areas of prehistoric occupations including possible agricultural fields.  The primary focus of the fieldwork was the village area excavated by the LCAS and the possible agricultural fields located 100 meters to the north.

The primary occupation of the Merchant site consists of a group of domestic rooms with stone foundation walls, two deep pit structures, and extensive trash middens.  Excavations in two large and deep pit structures excavated by the LCAS in 1959 and 1960 determined that they served as civic-ceremonial structures.  One of the potentially most significant findings was the discovery of possible agricultural gridded fields to the north of the village area.  Geomorphological, archaeological, and botanical studies were conducted in two possible agricultural features but the results are equivocal.  If future investigations confirm the presence of such features, they will represent the easternmost expression of Southwestern intensive farming practices.

The most significant finding of the reinvestigation of the site is that the architecture and material culture of the Merchant site and other Ochoa phase settlements represents a mixture or hybrid or something entirely new of Southwest and Plains traditions. The collective observations on architecture and material culture establish that the inhabitants of the Merchant site—whether involving one or several resident groups—forged new social identities and perhaps even some manner of hybrid material culture on the southern Plains of the 1300s and early 1400s.  The creation of the unique Ochoa Indented Corrugated ware among the Ochoa phase people of southeastern New Mexico is a visible and prominent identifier of the new social identity of the Ochoa phase migrant communities.  The manner in which the Plains hunters and pueblo agriculturalists interacted—whether symbiotically through exchange, by merging and creating new expressions of ethnicity and identity, or through conflict and warfare—is an important and fascinating topic of investigation for Southwestern and Plains prehistory and broader anthropological theory. The Merchant site and other Ochoa phase settlements of southeastern New Mexico have much to offer for such pursuits.

Archives by Year:

Archives by Subject:


Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America