Photo by Justin Shen on Unsplash

The 88th Annual Society for American Archaeology (SAA) meeting will be starting this week and Digital Antiquity staff will be in attendance, participating in a variety of forums and poster sessions in rainy Portland!

Digital Antiquity staff will also be on hand at Exhibit Hall booth #900 throughout the week, so be sure to stop by with any tDAR or digital curation related questions, or just stop by to say hi!

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

Thursday, March 30, 2023

  • Digital Antiquity Booth
    • Room: Exhibit Hall
    • Booth #: 900
    • Time: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Symposium: [19] Dedication, Collaboration, and Vision Part 1: Papers in Honor of Tom D. Dillehay
    • Room: C124
    • Time: 8:15 AM – 11:45 AM
      • 10:15 – Rebecca Bria and Brian McCray—Scale, Interaction, and Society: Constituting Social Boundaries in the Northern Peruvian Andes
  • Poster: [75] GIS and Spatial Analysis Part 1
    • Room: Exhibit Hall A
    • Post Slot #: 75-d
    • Time: 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Friday, March 31, 2023

  • Digital Antiquity Booth
    • Room: Exhibit Hall
    • Booth #: 900
    • Time: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Poster: [124] The Importance of Ethical Archaeology
    • Room: Poster Hall
    • Poster Slot #: 124-m
    • Time: 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
  • Annual Business Meeting and Awards Presentation
    • Room: Ballroom 204 (OCC)
    • Time: 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM
    • Join in celebrating receiving the “Award in Excellence in Curations and Collections Management”

Saturday, April 1, 2023

  • Digital Antiquity Booth
    • Room: Exhibit Hall
    • Booth #: 900
    • Time: 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
  • Symposium: [170] A Tribute to the Contributions of Lawrence C. Todd to World Prehistory
    • Room: C124
    • Time: 8:45 AM – 12:00 PM
      • 10:15 – Charles England, Ryan Byerly and Chris Nicholson – “Have You Ever Seen a Walrus in Nebraska?” Reflections on the Career and Contributions of Larry Todd

Digital Antiquity conference image for SAA

The 87th Annual Society for American Archaeology (SAA) meeting will be starting this week and Digital Antiquity staff will be in attendance, participating in a variety of forums and poster sessions other events in rainy Chicago!

Digital Antiquity staff will also be on hand at Exhibit Hall booth #103 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, March 31, 2022

  • Digital Antiquity Booth
    • Room: Exhibit Hall
    • Booth #: 103
    • Time: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Forum: [36] Exploring Data Stewardship with tDAR, Open Context and DINAA
    • Room: Continental C
    • Time: 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Friday, April 1, 2022

  • Digital Antiquity Booth
    • Room: Exhibit Hall
    • Booth #: 103
    • Time: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Poster: [113] Digital Archaeology Across North America

Saturday, April 2, 2022

  • Digital Antiquity Booth
    • Room: Exhibit Hall
    • Booth #: 103
    • Time: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Dr. Christopher Nicholson
Dr. Christopher Nicholson

Greetings!  My name is Chris Nicholson and this month (October 1st) I was hired to be the new Executive Director at the Center for Digital Antiquity and tDAR.  I come to Digital Antiquity from the University of Wyoming, where I served as the Director of the Water Resources Data System and Wyoming State Climate Office for the past 8 years.  My most recent research has focused on human paleoecology and paleoclimates, with my geographic interest spanning both North America and Eurasia.

I’m truly excited to be working for Digital Antiquity and am optimistic about our future, both from the perspective of broadening the archaeological community’s awareness of the importance of archiving digital data, and ensuring the long-term sustainability of Digital Antiquity.  As more archaeologists learn about and understand the ethical and legal obligations we have to facilitate open access research, the better off we are as a discipline.  Reproducibility and transparency are topics that transcend the science community, and archaeology is not immune; this issue is truly a global one.  Our European colleagues, recognizing this, have coined the phrase “Digital Dark Age”, and it is our hope and goal at Digital Antiquity that North American archaeologists are cognizant of the importance of not falling behind other disciplines when it comes to archiving, preserving, and ultimately sharing data.

Over the next several months I’ll be reaching out to many of you, but if you have yet to hear from me, please feel free to contact me.  I’m looking forward to sustaining long-standing relationships and collaborations, as well as cultivating new ones. Please contact me at  or 480-965-6510.

Last week, our Senior Digital Data Curator, Rachel Fernandez, was out on the road again to present at the 2019 Air Force Cultural Resource Workshop, held at the Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Sponsored by the Air Force Civil Engineer Center (AFCEC), the three-day workshop included natural and cultural resource managers from Air Force installations spread across the states to discuss issues and developments in cultural resource management within the Air Force.

One of the ongoing projects discussed at the meetings was the Center for Digital Antiquity and AFCEC’s collaboration to preserve Air Force cultural resources within tDAR. At present, there are over 500 active resources within tDAR from over 17 different installations, with another 2500 resources in different stages of completion. At this meeting, Rachel was able to provide training on the tDAR system and answer questions concerning organizing and managing digital resources.

We hope to continue being involved in these workshops and work closely with AFCEC to provide digital curation and preservation services for the US Air Force.

To learn more about the US Air Force CRM Program and the challenges of digital data curation, read our Reports in Digital Archaeology Number 4, The US Air Force CRM Program Meets the Challenges of Digital Data Curation: A Case Study Using tDAR

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.

The lively and well-attended Arizona Statewide Historic Preservation Conference was held earlier this month at the Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale. The Center for Digital Antiquity organized two sessions for the conference.


One of the sessions highlighted the Digital Archive for Huhugam Archaeology (DAHA) project underway at the Center in collaboration with the Amerind Museum , ASU Libraries, the ASU Center for Archaeology and Society, other ASU scholars, Pueblo Grande Museum, the City of Phoenix Archaeologist office, other public agencies.  Also involved are Archaeology Southwest, Desert Archaeology, Statistical Research, Inc., and a number of other CRM firms in southern Arizona.


Organized by Leigh Anne Ellison, who summarized the various aspects of DAHA, presentations also were made by David Martinez, Frank McManamon, and Adam Brin.  Martinez described the dialogue with tribal communities as part of the project.  McManamon summarized the building of content for DAHA in a collection in tDAR, the Digital Archaeological Record.  Brin summarized research on natural language processing and “text mining” as part of the project that will enable more detailed research on the rich body of technical reports and other documents assembled in the digital archive.

The other Digital Antiquity session, organized by Frank McManamon, took on the topic of “Designing and Carrying Out Digital Curation for Data Management, Research, and Sharing.”  Presentations by Bill Doelle (Archaeology Southwest), Sharlot Hart (NPS), Lauren Jelinek (Phoenix Area Office, Bureau of Reclamation), and Teresita Majewski (Statistical Research, Inc) described the work being done by their organizations to make the large amounts of digital data that have been and are being created by contemporary archaeological investigations discoverable, accessible, usable, and preserved. A lively discussion ensued among the panelists and with the overflowing audience.  An important point emphasized in the discussion is that the mass of data and reporting that has been created by half a century and more of CRM and rescue/salvage archaeology, plus the new data being produced now is not being effectively used.  These legacy data and reports are a “gold mine” that need to be taken into account using digital methods and techniques to find, access, and use the information they contain.

Digital Antiquity Staff from Left to Right: Leigh Anne Ellison, Tyler Sutton, Adam Brin, Frank McManamon, Brian Castellanos, Cole Von Roeder (ERG), Chris Frady (ERG), Lani Harrison, and Rachel Fernandez


Just last month we celebrated a decade since the first record was created in tDAR. In this post, we report on more recent events and express our thanks to people important to Digital Antiquity and tDAR. At our meeting of the Board of Directors earlier this year, Dr. Tim Kohler (Regent’s Professor at Washington State University) and Dr. Dean Snow (Emeritus Professor at the Pennsylvania State University) announced that they would not seek reappointment. Kohler and Snow are among the founding members of the Digital Antiquity Board. Before that, they were members of Archaeo Informatics, which was established to preserve meaningful archaeological data in its many forms and the metadata necessary to keep these data useful and to provide scholars and the general public with broad and easy access to these data.

Tim and Dean were among the co-PIs for the first development grant provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that enabled the establishment of Digital Antiquity and provided funding for the development and early growth of tDAR content. They have been active Board members providing advice and perspective aiding in the growth of both Digital Antiquity and tDAR. We greatly appreciate the time and expertise they have shared with us and hope we can tap them for more advice, if less frequently, in the future.

Turning to staff changes that occurred earlier this year, we are delighted to welcome three new members of the Digital Antiquity staff. Tyler Sutton began as our newest digital curator in late March. No stranger to Digital Antiquity or tDAR, Tyler joined in August 2016, as a member of our initial “class” of student veterans hired to work on the Digital Veterans Curation Program, which is part of the US Army Corps of Engineers VCP that focuses on rehabilitating archaeological physical collections so they are available for modern archaeological investigations.

In mid-April, Lani Harrison joined Digital Antiquity as Administrative Specialist. Lani is making quick progress through the administrative backlog figuratively piled up since the departure of her predecessor. Our newest staff arrival is Cole Von Roeder, a rising senior in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change interested in a career in archaeology. Cole is also a student-veteran and is working on adding digital files from the VCP laboratories to tDAR where they will be accessible and useable for education and research.

We send our thanks and best wishes for success to two staff members. Herminio Meneses, another of our first group of student-veterans who worked on Digital VCP. Herminio, a senior with only a few courses left to graduate, is a member of the National Guard and was deployed a week ago to the Arizona border on orders of the governor. We hope for his safety and that the wifi service he can access down south is strong enough to enable him to take the ASU online courses he needs to complete his degree.

Lastly, we offer congratulations, as well as thanks and best wishes, to Alexa Rose, one of our student workers who graduated this week with a major in Classics and Anthropology. Alexa helped with drafting metadata records and curation of report files for the Digital Archive of Huhugam Archaeology, one of our NEH-funded projects. Alexa will be continuing her education in Classical Archaeology, starting a Master’s degree at Brandeis this fall. We wish her the best of luck.

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 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.

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.

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!