Digital Antiquity is pleased to announce the following grants for the 2011 Digital Antiquity-tDAR Grants Program.  A few additional proposals still are under consideration.  Congratulations are in order to:

  1. Lori Reed of the National Park Service for her proposal, “Aztec Ruins National Monument Digital Archives Project;”
  2. Gregory Brown for his proposal, “Ingestion of Data from Comparative Archaeological Study of Colonial Chesapeake Culture Project;”
  3. Stephen Mrozowski and Christa Beranek of the Fiske Center for Archaeological Research (University of Massachusetts, Boston) for their proposal, “Fiske Center for Archaeological Research; Application to Digital Antiquity”;
  4. Jennifer Haas of the Great Lakes Archaeological Research Center for her proposal, “Great Lakes Archaeological Center Proposal for tDAR Archiving” (adding four large-scale projects from the northern Midwest to tDAR);
  5. David R. Abbott and M. Scott Thompson of Arizona State University and Cory Breternitz of Paleowest, Inc. for their proposal, “A Digital Antiquity Proposal: Ingesting Digital Data Sets and Project Reports from Soil System, Inc’s Data Recovery at Pueblo Grande, Phoenix, AZ;”
  6. Eric Ingbar of Gnomon, Inc., and Robert G. Elston for their proposal, “Publication of Digital Data from Tosawihi Quarries, Nevada;”
  7. Pearce Paul Creasman and Jeffrey S. Dean of the Laboratory of Tree Ring Research (University of Arizona) for their proposal, “Incorporating Archaeological Tree-Ring Dates and Metadata from the US Southwest into the Digital Archaeological Record;”
  8. Matthew T. Boulanger and Michael D. Glascock of the Archaeometry Laboratory at the University of Missouri Research Reactor for their proposal, “Digitization and Dissemination of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Archaeometric and Archaeological Database;”
  9. Stephen Reichardt and Thomas H. Guderjan of the Blue Creek Archaeological Project, University of Texas at Tyler for their proposal, “A Digital Data Archiving Approach to Managing Data from the Ancient Maya Civilization” (data from Blue Creek site, Belize);
  10. Alycia Hayes and Derek Toms of the National Park Service for their proposal, “Casa Grande Ruins National Monument Grant Proposal Award Request;”
  11. Michael Nassaney of Western Michigan University for his proposal, “Digital Storage of Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Data;” and
  12. James Roscoe of the Humboldt State University Cultural Resources Facility for his proposal, “Humboldt State University Cultural Resources Facility; Digital Antiquities Grant Proposal” (records pertaining to archaeology and history of Humboldt County, California).

    We thank all who submitted proposals to the Digital Antiquity-tDAR Grants Program, and we are excited to partner with the funded investigators as they work to ingest new data into tDAR!

    Digital Antiquity staff and collaborators were on hand in Sacramento at the 76th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology (SAA). At the Digital Antiquity booth in the Convention Exhibit Hall, staff demonstrated tDAR to visitors, answered their questions, and provided additional information. We thank all of you who stopped by to learn about tDAR, to sign up for Digital Antiquity eNews, or just to say hello. To those of you who couldn’t make it to Sacramento this year: you can still learn about tDAR by browsing existing content, registering in order to upload your own data, and joining the Digital Antiquity mailing list to receive the eNews.

    Digital Antiquity staff also participated in three program sessions held at the SAA meeting. One of these, a SAA Forum, “Using the Digital Archaeological Record (tDAR) for Management and Research,” presented examples of using tDAR in specific archaeological projects. Another SAA Forum, “Planning for Archaeological Digital Data Management,” discussed how tDAR can be used to satisfy the the recently highlighted requirement for data management plans as part of NSF research proposals. A third session, a SAA Electronic Symposium, “Mortuary Practices in the American Southwest: Meta-Data Issues in the Development of a Regional Database,” demonstrated the basic work involved in creating a regional database (and its uses), as well as the value of a tool like tDAR for such a group of researchers.

    We hope to see you next year in Memphis!

    The Digital Antiquity tDAR Grants Program has received a wide range of grant proposals for digital archaeological data preservation and curation projects.  Proposals have been submitted by CRM firms, public agencies, and academic and research organizations.

    The evaluation of received proposals is underway and awards will be announced as proposals are approved.

    Proposals are still being accepted and will be reviewed in the order in which they are received.  To enter a proposal, please review the guidelines for preparation and submission on the Digital Antiquity web page.

    Archaeology Data Service (ADS) in the UK and Digital Antiquity in the US are collaborating to revise and improve the current Guides to Good Practice, which contain recommended measures for the preservation and curation of digital data. Although only certain sections of the six Guides are currently publicly available, ADS and Digital Antiquity invite revision and comments by archaeologists and other data professionals.

    The new Guides are expected to be released later in 2011.

    On February 22-23, 2011, Digital Antiquity and the SRI Foundation sponsored a workshop on archaeological information management.  Participants included representatives of many U. S. agencies and departments, including the Department of Defense, the Bureau of Land Management, the Corps of Engineers, the Department of the Interior, the U. S.  Air Force, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Highway Administration, and the U. S. Army.  Also participating were current and past officials of the State Historic Preservation Offices of Georgia, Maryland, and Texas and two representatives of national CRM firms.

    Participants reviewed the current status of archaeological information management, in particular how digital data and documents can be accessed and how they are preserved for future use.    Attendees agreed on the importance of preservation and curation facilities for digital archaeological data and the challenges of access, preservation, and management.  Participants considered how Digital Antiquity and tDAR could be useful to help their organizations meet data access and preservation needs.  Participants also drafted an action plan to improve the current state of digital archaeological data preservation and management.  Digital Antiquity will work directly with various organizations on implementation of the work plan.

    Come see us at the Society for American Archaeology’s 76th Annual Meeting in Sacramento, California from March 30 – April 3, 2011. Digital Antiquity will be at Booth 126 in the Exhibition hall. Additionally, members of the Digital Antiquity staff will be participating or chairing several fora:

    • Planning for Archaeological Digital Data Management: Digital Antiquity and Open Context have organized a forum for archaeologists to discuss planning for access to and preservation of  digital archaeological data and documents.  Last year, the National Science Foundation (NSF) mandated that proposals include a “data management plan” in order to be considered for funding.  The objective of this requirement is to ensure that NSF-generated data be more accessible and preserved for future uses.  The ultimate goal is to broaden research opportunities by making access to NSF-generated data easier.  The requirement represents a challenge to grant seekers not familiar with the conceptual and technical issues of data sharing and long-term preservation.  To help SAA members better understand NSF’s requirement and how to address it, this forum will introduce guides to best practice in digital data management and two archaeological digital data management systems, the Digital Archaeological Record (tDAR), maintained by Digital Antiquity and Open Context, maintained by the Alexandria Archive.
    • Using the Digital Archaeological Record (tDAR) for Management and Research: Increasingly archaeological information about archaeological resources exists in digital formats.  Digital data present both opportunities and challenges.  If effectively archived, digital data are more easily accessed, searched, and shared than paper records.  Yet digital data are more fragile and frequently treated as paper documents, making them completely inaccessible and easily destroyed or forgotten.  There are efforts underway to improve such situations.  Presenters will provide summaries of archival projects, examples of comparative studies using digital data integration tools, the state of digital data access and preservation, copyright and intellectual property issues, and general guidelines about digital data access and preservation.
    • Mortuary Practices in the American Southwest: The study of prehistoric mortuary practices in the American Southwest is undergoing tremendous change in the new millennium. The challenges (and opportunities) of NAGPRA implementation, declines in the number of large samples being excavated, and loss of data from previously excavated samples have altered mortuary archaeology in the region. Given this state of affairs, the development of an integrated regional database of prehistoric mortuary practices is imperative. This session at the 76th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in Sacramento, CA is devoted to the first stages of creating such a data set. Participants in the session will develop the frameworks and structures for building a regional mortuary database. The database that is developed will expand the potential for research with existing and future burial samples.

    To learn more about the Digital Antiquity forums and other events at the 76th Annual SAA Meeting, read the collection of abstracts. A list of other sessions related to digital archaeology and data is available on the Digging Digitally blog.

    We hope to see you there!  Visit the Digital Antiquity exhibit and say “hello.”

    Digital Antiquity is developing a grants program to support the archiving of digital archaeological data and documents in tDAR (the Digital Archaeological Record), a new international digital repository.  Reports and data shared through tDAR are made accessible to the public on the web and their long-term preservation is ensured.

    CRM firms, public agencies, individuals, universities, colleges, and other organizations are invited to submit brief proposals explaining the value of the information to be contributed.  A wide array of projects will be considered, such as individual projects, regional archives, and thematic research.  Grants will be awarded in two categories:  up to $ 2,000, and up to $ 10,000.  We anticipate making approximately 40 awards.  Rapid review of proposals will begin on 25 February 2011 and continue until until funds are committed.

    Specific criteria and instructions will be made available by mid-December at http//digitalantiquity.org/grants.

    Stay up-to-date with Digital Antiquity news, events and initiatives. Sign Up for the mailing list.

    On December 10, 2009 the President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a call for comment on how to improve access to the results of federally funded research projects. Digital Antiquity’s Francis McManamon (Executive Director) and Sander van der Leeuw (Chair, Digital Antiquity Board of Directors) responded, stating the importance of increased access to archaeological data collected in the United States—a process reliant on a majority of federal funding. The comment suggested the Digital Archaeological Record (tDAR) as a tool for increasing knowledge of extant data, for integrating new data, for preserving at-risk data, and for increasing the cost efficiency of federally funded research.

    Read the full comment here. Also see the OSTP Call for Comment here.

    The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation provided a grant of $1.29 million dollars to establish the Digital Antiquity organization and fund the development and maintenance of an international digital repository for archaeological data and documents.  The repository, the Digital Archaeological Record (tDAR), is established and available for search and for contributors who wish to deposit digital archaeological data or documents. Instructions and easy-to-use web interface screens are available at the tDAR website.

    In 2007, a multidisciplinary team of researchers from Archaeology Data Services at the University of York, Arizona State University, the University of Arkansas, the Pennsylvania State University, SRI Foundation, and Washington State University was awarded an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grant to develop a long-term plan for the organization and operation of integrated digital archaeological data repository. This activity led to the creation of an organization, archaeoinformatics.org.  Utilizing their planning grant, the members of archaeoinformatics.org developed detailed plan.

    The plan called for development of a user-friendly and attractive but technologically and financially feasible archaeological repository to provide for much wider accessibility to archaeological data and its long-term preservation.  The plan led to the development of a more detailed proposal to the Mellon Foundation for funds to create Digital Antiquity.

    Click here for a copy of the 2008 report on the results of the planning grant.