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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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!

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.