Fairly Front-Loading the Archive: Moving Beyond Findable, Accessible and Interoperable to Reuse of Archaeological Data

EAA 2022 was held in-person (with some online participation) at the ELTE Campus in Budapest, Hungary from the 31st August to 3rd September 2022. ARIADNEplus hosted a whole day session (No. 273) on  Friday 2nd September as part of Theme: 6. A Decade after the ‘Third Science Revolution in Archaeology’ which was organised and hosted by Edeltraud Aspöck (Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage, Austrian Academy of Sciences), Keith May, (Historic England) and Holly Wright, (Archaeology Data Service, Department of Archaeology, University of York).

Session Abstract

Archaeologists and digital practitioners have been working for over 20 years to make archaeological data Findable and Accessible, and in the last 10 years, much has been accomplished to also make more of this data Interoperable. The advent of the FAIR Principles  in 2016 set out that data must also be Reusable. Making archaeological data Findable, Accessible and Interoperable does not necessarily mean it will be Reusable however, or available in the most reusable form.

Initiatives such as the ARIADNE infrastructure, currently funded under the Horizon 2020 programme of the EC and the SEADDA COST Action, funded by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the EU () are working to ensure Reuse is considered equally with the rest of the FAIR Principles.

This session addresses the reuse of data in archaeology from multiple perspectives including presentations of results from the aforementioned projects along with contributions from the wider archaeological community. We invite papers that explore key questions such as:

  • How can we optimise archaeological data and research interfaces for re-use?
  • How can we better understand qualitative re-use of archaeological data and what facilitates new knowledge creation?
  • How do we reflect differences in records of scientific data and interpretive or deductive reasoning?
  • How can access to archaeological data by the wider public gain greater benefits for society?

We also invite papers illustrating the above using specific case studies or projects. These may involve the reuse of archaeological fieldwork data from excavation or post-excavation analysis and synthesis work (e.g. reuse of stratigraphic data, or related finds, environmental, or scientific dating data, either from multiple interventions on a particular site, or re-using other peoples related data from multiple sites). We are particularly interested in case studies that can discuss challenges and opportunities encountered with the reuse of such data.

The Session consisted of 22 papers of around 15 minutes each plus two posters with discussion slots after regular intervals (1.5-2 hours) as follows:

00 Introduction
Brief introduction to the state of the art, the questions the session aims to address and its structure.

Data creation and reuse

01 The Urgent Need for Consensus for Fairy Rock Art Data
Botica, Natalia (Lab2PT; Unidade de Arqueologia da Universidade do Minho) – Luís, Luís (Fundação Côa Parque) – Silva2, José (Lab2PT; Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia)

02 Whither GIS? – Some Challenges of Using and Reusing Spatial Data from Archaeological Fieldwork
McKeague, Peter (Historic Environment Scotland)

03 Pepadb: Putting the FAIR Principles into Practice
Romero Garcia, Galo – Garrido-Cordero, José Angel (Department of Prehistory and Archaeology -Universidad de Sevilla) – Odriozola, Carlos P. (Department of Prehistory and Archaeology Universidad de Sevilla; UNIARQ – University of Lisbon)

04 FAIRly Data, Further Knowledge: The 2archis Database and Pottery Analysis
Machado, Diego (Unidade de Arqueologia da Universidade do Minho; Laboratório de Paisagens, Património e Território; Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia) – Botica, Natália – Fernandes, Lara – Martins, Maria Manuela – Magalhães, Fernanda – Sousa, Rui (Unidade de Arqueologia  da Universidade do Minho; Laboratório de Paisagens,Património e Território)

05  Monitoring the Conservation Of Open-Air Mesolithic Sites Using Spatial Data Infrastructures: Implications for Cultural Heritage Studies
Gómez-Puche, Magdalena- Fernández-López de Pablo, Javier (Research Institute of Archaeology and Historic Heritage – INAPH. University of Alicante)

06 Please Recycle: Archaeological Legacy Data And Reuse In Sweden
Kaiser, Jessica – Friberg, Zanna (Uppsala University)


The discussion focussed on current barriers for the effective reuse of archaeological data, the key points being:

  • Agreement with comment about the lack of citation of datasets. However, since methodologies have changed, datasets from 10 years ago may not be reliable.
  • Need for ontologies and standards – US developing these, seems to be more reluctance in the UK compared to Sweden.
  • Short summaries are needed to describe scientific data, researchers can waste a lot of time otherwise. It was most difficult reusing Radio Carbon data.
  • Awards for best CH datasets could be used an incentive.

Interoperability, aggregation and reuse

07 Sharing and Reuse of Open and Fair Data: Insights from the ARIADNE Surveys
Geser, Guntram (Salzburg Research Institute)

08 Data Discovery and Data Re-Use in Ariadne
Richards, Julian (Archaeology Data Service, University of York)

09  The ROCEEH Out of Africa Database: A Case Study in Reusing Archaeological Data Sensibly
Kandel, Andrew – Kanaeva, Zara – Sommer, Christian – Haidle, Miriam (Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities)

10 Dealing with Digitally Born Legacy Data and Lessons for the  Future – Project URDAR and Swedish Contract Archaeology
Larsson, Asa (Swedish National Heritage Board) – Löwenborg, Daniel (Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Uppsala University) – Jonsson, Maria – Nordinge, Johan (Swedish National Heritage Board) – Pálsson, Gísli (3GIMBALS) – Smith, Marcus (Swedish National Heritage Board)

11 Creating Fair Archaeological Data in Norway
Uleberg, Espen (Museum of Cultural History University of Oslo) – Ore, Christian-Emil (Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies, University of Oslo) – Dell’Unto, Nicolo (Museum of Cultural History,University of Oslo) – Callieri, Marco (Institute of Science and Technologies of Information – National Research Council) – Matsumoto, Mieko – Bonelli, Letizia – Kimball, Justin – Pantos, Alexis – Kristensen, Steinar – Samdal, Magne (Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo)

12 Data Fragmentation, Complexity, and the Case Of Swedish Archaeology in the Mediterranean. The Common Grounds Project
Nenova, Denitsa (Norwegian Institute at Athens; Takin.solutions) – Bruseker, George (Takin.solutions) – Wallenstein, Jenny (Swedish Institute at Athens) – Hansson, Ulf (Swedish Institute in Rome) – Frejman, Axel (Uppsala University)

13 Argentinian Digital Archaeological Data Going FAIR.. Opportunities, Strengths and Challenges for the Reuse Of Information Available in Open Access
Izeta, Andres – Cattáneo, Roxana (CONICET; Universidad Nacional de Córdoba)


This discussion covered making archaeological resources available, both to professionals and the public, the problems in measuring reuse (by non-professionals) and tensions between infrastructure development and cultural heritage protection.

Excavation data reuse case studies

14 The Matrix: Connecting and Re-Using Digital Records of Archaeological Investigations
May, Keith (Historic England; University of South Wales) – Taylor, James (University of York) – Binding, Ceri (University of South Wales)

15 Improving the Reusability of Relative and Absolute Chronological Information by Automating and Archiving the Bayesian Chronology Construction Process
Moody, Bryony – Buck, Caitlin (University of Sheffield) – Wright, Holly (Archaeology Data Service) – Dye, Thomas (University of Honolulu) – May, Keith (Historic England)

16 Bringing Excavation Data Together. Are We There Yet and Where is That?
Nenova, Denitsa (Takin.solutions Ltd.; Norwegian Institute at Athens) – Bruseker, George (Takin.solutions Ltd.) – Derudas, Paola (Lund University) – Hiebel, Gerald (University of Innsbruck) – Hivert, Florian (Centrenational de la recherche scientifique – CNRS) – Katsianis, Markos (University of Patras) – Marlet, Olivier (Centre national de la recherche scientifique – CNRS) – Opitz, Rachel (University of Glasgow, UK) – Ore, Christian-Emil (University of Oslo, Norway) – Uleberg, Espen (University of Oslo, Norway)


The discussion focussed on data collection and archiving, documentation of processes. Jupyter Notebooks was suggested as a possible approach, as was being selective about what data to keep.

17 Reuse of Research Data for GIS-Analyses. Use Case of Bronze Age Mining in The Lower Inn Valley and Pinzgau (Austria)
Danthine, Brigit – Hiebel, Gerald – Scherer-Windisch, Manuel (University of Innsbruck)

18  Making Old Data New – Obstacles and Opportunities in The Re-Use of Data For Constructing a Bog Butter Database
O’Toole, Karen (University College Dublin)

19 Work Digital, Think Archive, Create Access – Creating Resources to Support Digital Data Management and Archives
Parker Wooding, Jen (Chartered Institute for Archaeologists) – Forster, Manda (DigVentures)


The questions related to each of the individual presentations.

Linked Open Data

20 Retaining Roots While Hard Pruning Data: Context and Collaboration In Digitisation and Data Modelling in South Asia
Vafadari, Azadeh – Abdul Jabbar, Junaid – Khan, Afifa – C. Roberts, Rebecca – Campbell, Rosie – Gerrits, Petrus (McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge) – Gregorio, Jonas (Universitat Pompeu Fabra) – Suarez Moreno, Maria – Tomaney, Jack – A. Petrie, Cameron (McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge)

21  What Does Usability Mean and How Can it be Achieved? Online Celtic Coinage (OCC) as a Case Study
Wigg-Wolf, David – Brand, Mirko (Römisch-Germanische Kommission des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts – RGK) – Deligio, Chrisowalandis (Goethe-University Frankfurt, Big Data Lab) – Hofmann, Kerstin – Möller, Markus – von Nicolai, Caroline – Tietz, Julia (Römisch-Germanische
Kommission des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts – RGK) – Tolle, Karsten (Goethe-University Frankfurt, Big Data Lab)

22 A Multidisciplinary Research Project Using Digital Humanities for Studying Archaeological Archives: First Results in Progress and Outlooks
Tuffery, Christophe (INRAP – National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research)


A. Using Semantic Modeling to Create Fair Open Data for Archaeological Field Survey: A Showcase and Toolkit (SEMAFORA)
van Leusen, Martijn (Groningen Institute of Archaeology) – Bruseker, George – Nenova, Denitsa (takin.solutions) – de Haas, Tymon (Groningen Institute of Archaeology) – Siebinga, Sjoerd (Delving.eu)

B. Reusing Field Survey Data for New Questions: A Case Study from the Sibaritide Region (Calabria, Italy)
Parini, Martina (University of Groningen)