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.

The Center for Digital Antiquity is excited to welcome Rachel Fernandez as the newest member of the Digital Antiquity team as our Digital Data Curator. Ms. Fernandez recently relocated from University of Colorado at Boulder to join our group at Arizona State University.

With an interest in landscape archaeology and GIS applications, Rachel has conducted fieldwork in several sites across the Mediterranean. In the U.S., Rachel has worked on cultural resource surveys, public assistance grants, and GIS applications for areas affected with natural disasters during her tenure with FEMA. Rachel holds a Master’s degree in Classical Archaeology from the University of Colorado Boulder and a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Classics from the University of Florida.

We are excited for the experience and fresh perspective that Rachel brings to the table and cannot wait to see how her skill set will continue to advance tDAR’s mission and goals.

Digital Antiquity is proud to announce that tDAR is now a formal member node of the Data Observation Network for Earth (DataONE). DataONE enables universal access to data and also facilitates researchers in fulfilling their need for data management and in providing secure and permanent access to their data. DataONE offers the scientific community a suite of tools and training materials that cover all aspects of the data life cycle from data collection, to management, analysis and publication.

DataONE, like tDAR has a deep interest in data archiving, access, and use, as well as reproducible science. Researchers using DataONE’s suite of tools will now be able to discover archaeological materials that have been contributed to tDAR as well as the approximately 1,000,000 files currently part of DataONE.

Guest post by Katherine Spielmann, Professor Emeritus, Arizona State University School of Evolution and Social Change 

When I decided to retire I was faced with making seven seasons of Southwestern excavation data and many, many years of analytical data available to our profession. I spent much of Fall 2015 making that happen through uploading multitudes of excel spreadsheets, associated coding keys, and reports to tDAR. I find tDAR’s functionality in being able to link coding keys to multiple datasets across projects, the ability to integrate my faunal datasets together across projects, and the possibility of future dataset integrations particularly helpful. But there are challenges that I, and perhaps many of us who began our careers relying on paper coding keys need to face while we still have memory and some marbles left. My coding keys for artifact types like lithics, ground stone, fauna, and ceramics evolved over the course of my projects and some of that evolution is documented only on the paper coding keys themselves. Was this ideal? No. A good idea? No. is it reality? Yes. Being the one who worked to upload datasets and coding keys made it possible for me to reconcile the evolving coding schemes and create the appropriately updated digital coding keys where needed. I also grappled with reconciling the multiple datasets on individual artifact types that developed from my first project in the mid-1980s at Gran Quivira when I and the profession in general were just getting a handle on database creation and management. Luckily my students and I had undertaken some of that task years before, but in one case, the black-on-white ceramics, there are two databases that cannot be reconciled (both will go into tDAR with accompanying explanation), and a review of the original collections will be required. If the Western Archeological and Conservation Center makes them available, that would be useful to do.

So my point is to start now on making your past and present part of archaeology’s future while you still have the files and resources at hand and given the ready availability of digital archaeological repositories like tDAR. Working in the Rio Grande area of central New Mexico I’ve always regretted the lack of access to all the information that Edgar Hewett and his henchpeople pulled out of PIV Pueblo sites across the region, and what Nels Nelson found in the Galisteo Basin. They were of the early 20th century. In the early 21st century no discipline can thrive if masses of its data effectively disappear with the passing of each generation.


We had a busy year at the Center for Digital Antiquity in 2016, tDAR continued to grow with significant contributions from the North Atlantic Biocultural Organization , US Air Force, and US Army Corps of Engineers. tDAR had one major software releases, Obsidian which focused on enhancing the collections pages, searching, data integration, and added new APIs for working with data and metadata in tDAR.

We are continuing our work with the Corps of Engineers Veterans Curation Program, putting digital products based on their rehabilitation of physical archaeological collections into tDAR where it can be shared broadly.  We worked with the US Air Force cultural heritage program as program leaders there continued to build digital archaeological archives for their bases and other facilities. We are also still working with the Phoenix Area Office of the Bureau of Reclamation on their rich archives of archaeological material.

Individual researchers and research organizations began or continued to build their archives in tDAR.  A few notable contributions include those from: the Eastern Mimbres Archaeological Project (EMAP) , the ICOM Affiliated Organisation representing archaeological open-air museums, experimental archaeology, ancient technology, and interpretation (EXARC), the PaleoResearch Institute, the Center for Archaeology and Society, SRI Press, and the Dainzú-Macuilxóchitl Archaeological Project. Also notable was an extensive set of tree-ring data uploaded by Tim Kohler and Kyle Bocinsky.

As part of our continuing agreements with Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) and Society for American Archaeology (SAA), we ran workshops highlighting best practices in digital curation at the AIA annual meetings in Orlando and San Francisco respectively. We also continue to provide SAA student members with a number of no cost uploads for contributing their data to tDAR as part of our agreement with SAA.

We continued our existing partnerships with the DataARC and SKOPE NSF awarded projects. We also developed new international partnerships for the use of tDAR by colleagues and organizations in Australia with the Federated Archaeological Information Management System (FAIMS) and in Canada with Sustainable Archaeology at the University of Western Ontario and the Museum of Ontario Archaeology.

Content added to tDAR in 2016

Usage Statistics

While we do not maintain detailed statistics on users or use to protect user and contributor privacy, we can share some interesting aggregate data. Below are the most frequently viewed and downloaded resources.

Resources (most viewed)

Resources (most Downloaded)

Geographic Distribution of ExARC CitationsEXARC, the ICOM Affiliated Organisation representing archaeological open-air museums, experimental archaeology, ancient technology, and interpretation,  migrated it’s bibliographic database into the EXARC Experimental Archaeology Data Collection in tDAR this month, with technical support from the Center for Digital Antiquity. Now, in addition to providing an extensive bibliography for those interested in experimental and experiential archaeology, primitive technology and archaeological open-air museums, EXARC will be able to make publications and supplementary data (images, fieldnotes, large datasets) available, where possible; and preserve the files for the long-term. It will also make the bibliographic citations available to a wider audience by including them with other archaeological resources.

The bibliography was originally compiled by EXARC Director, Dr Roeland Paardekooper. The new collection will be managed by Dr Jodi Reeves Eyre.

In the future, EXARC plans to extend the collection and work with with universities and museums to upload their experimental archaeology data, publications and grey literature into the collection. The long term goal is to establish a board of professionals to oversee the collection, evaluate the quality of submissions and promote the preservation of and access to the wealth of data produced. If you or your institution are interested in contributing materials, or you want to learn more about supporting the collection, please contact Reeves Eyre.


We’re excited to be travelling to Lincoln, Nebraska later this week for the 74th Annual Plains Anthropological Conference.  We hope that you will stop by our booth in the exhibit hall to speak with a digital curation expert about your digital archaeological information, to enter our drawing for a chance to win a digital preservation package, or just to grab some tDAR swag and say hi!  You can also see our poster “Curating and Preserving Digital Archaeological Data: A Guide to Good Practice” in Salon B/C between 2-4PM on Thursday, October 13th.  If you are in the Lincoln area and want to learn more about tDAR, but won’t be attending the conference, please send an email to to set up a time to meet.  See you soon!