Guest Author: Sharlot Hart, Archeologist and Acting Public Information Officer, Southern Arizona Office, National Park Service

Jeffery Burton’s 1992 report “San Miguel de Guevavi: The Archeology of an Eighteenth Century Jesuit Mission on the Rim of Christendom” has been downloaded from tDAR 41 times (the metadata record that is linked to the report in tDAR has been viewed even more frequently, nearly 1700 times since it was created and the file uploaded in 2010).  That’s a lot for an off-the-beaten-path archaeological site that’s usually closed to the public.  Mission Guevavi, situated along the upper Santa Cruz River, is preserved by the National Park Service (NPS) as a detached unit of Tumacácori National Historical Park.  While the park provides special tours of the site, its remote location and minimal standing architecture makes it less than ideal for visitation from the general public. The figure with this posting (Figure 7.1) is from Burton’s report and shows plan and cross-section of the church at the mission.  Guevavi still has so much to add to the archaeological record, though, and it served as the site for a University of Arizona/NPS/Desert Archaeology, Inc. joint field school from 2013 to 2015.

In this light, it makes a little more sense that the seminal report on Guevavi has been downloaded so many times. Digital access to documents like this one is imperative these days. While NPS managers may have a copy of the report in dead-tree (i.e., paper) form, digital access is especially important for our current college students who often prefer digital form. Even for NPS archeologists, digital access is often times quicker than tracking down the park’s copy (Who’s desk did I see that on?). For other researchers and interested members of the public, who cannot easily visit the park office where a paper copy may exist, digital access through tDAR may be the only feasible way for them to read and use the report.

One of the main goals of the recent field school was to research archaeological remains on lands surrounding the NPS-managed core of the Mission area, to get a better idea of the site’s full occupational history.  And as an NPS cultural resource manager myself, I’ve necessarily researched the areas around Mission Guevavi to write a culture history ahead of preservation work on the church walls.  For all of these efforts, access to and use of Burton’s report has been invaluable.

Burton’s report is part of the Archaeology of Tumacacori National Historical Park project, which includes three other reports, published in 1981 and 1992.  It’s a great way to learn about two different missions, both set up along the Santa Cruz River.  And while not set up in a specific collection, the reports that tDAR houses, combined with its ability to search for projects using the geographical filter, make researching these unique sites, including Precontact, Protohistoric, Spanish, Mexican, and American Territorial periods, fascinating.  The next time you’ve got a free moment, I heartily suggest checking out the archaeology of the Santa Cruz River Valley in Southern Arizona.

Did you know that if you have digital resources in tDAR you can find out how many people have viewed or downloaded your files?

Here’s how to see your usage stats:

  1. Log in to tdar
  2. Navigate to a resource of yours that you would like to see stats for (you can view an individual resource as well as a collection or project).
  3. Click on “usage” on the secondary menu bar.usage-tab
  4. For individual resources you will see a line graph displaying views and downloads for the resource’s history. Views and downloads will also be broken down by year.resource-usage
  5. For collections, usage stats show information for views and downloads by year for the entire group of resources as well as for individual resources in the collection.




Sometimes you might add a file to tDAR and discover later that you need to replace it.  Maybe you found a better scanned version of the document, or maybe you added new data to a data set.  In any case, replacing a file in tDAR is easy, and as long as your new file doesn’t exceed file size range of the previous file there is no charge[1].

First, you will need to log in to tDAR and navigate to your resource.  Select “edit” from the secondary menu bar at the top of the page, and scroll down to the section underneath the heading “attach document files.”    You will see the current filename, and an orange button to the right of it that says “replace.”  You will be prompted to select the file.  Don’t forget to push the blue save button at the bottom or top of the metadata page.  Your new file has replaced your old file!  As a record owner you will also be able to see the history of changes to your file under file information on bottom of the resource metadata page.


[1] Remember that tDAR files are sold in 10MB increments, so if your original file is 3.3MB and your new file is 9.2MB there will be no charge.  However, if your original file is 3.3MB and your new file is 11.6MB you’ll need to pay for an additional file.

A search in tDAR is likely to reveal a large number of resources that you plan to explore as part of your research.  Did you know you can download your search results as an Excel file?  It is easy!  After you have performed your search, simply click on the “Download these results -> to Excel” link on the left-hand column of the page[1].  Your search results will begin to download immediately.  Use this to create a bibliography or update your bibliographic software (e.g. Endnote).  If you use Zotero to manage your research sources you can easily use the browser-integrated save to select citations from your search results to save in your Zotero library.

Import via Zotero

[1] You must be logged in to tDAR to download your search results

Digital Antiquity staff often get requests for information on curating, preserving and accessing digital archaeological material, and we try to share as much of our knowledge as possible through our blog, online seminars and in person workshops. Inspired by a recent conversation on Twitter, we thought we’d share resources we’ve put together and that people interested in these topics will find helpful.

Contributors to tDAR’s blog have addressed issues regarding curation, preservation and access in the selection of blog posts below:

Digital Antiquity and the Archaeological Data Service have also produced guidance on good practices for caring for digital archaeological data:

If you would like to learn more about curation, preservation and access for archaeology we encourage you to sign up for one of our workshops or online seminars offered through the Society for American Archaeology:

Do you have a specific question or topic you think we should explore? Feel free to leave a comment! Register for SAA 2015 Annual Meeting and sign up for our in person workshops. If you have already registered you can always log in and edit your registration through the SAA website. In addition to the workshops our staff are giving papers and posters and will be on hand in the exhibit hall all week.  We hope to see you there!

Over the past few years we’ve seen a lot of data sets go into tDAR. In that time, we’ve learned a great deal about what makes a data set ready for archiving, and conversely, what some of the common problem-spots are. Within tDAR, we try to catch many of these errors and provide users with warnings. We want to make the uploading process as easy as possible! We’ve put together a few tips to avoid the most common issues we see when archiving a CSV, TAB or Excel data set. Click here to view all the tips.

Have you discovered any shortcuts that make it easier for you to upload data sets? We would love to hear them! Send us an email at with your tips, comments or concerns.