Open Data

Open Source Software and standards compliant file formats are technical measures used to ensure that we can provide archaeological data to whoever wants it; open data is the commitment to providing our data to the wider world. This involves a commitment to some significant tenets:

  • that given archaeology is all about "preservation by record", we really should ensure we preserve the record;
  • that huge quantities of archaeological data are now created and/or stored in a digital form and therefore digital preservation is key;
  • that preservation without commitment to ensuring and facilitating access is, to be blunt, pointless, and;
  • that publically funded geo-data should be public.

To these ends we are committing ourselves to providing access to our data as soon as we are able. This will be not only to the traditional archaeological record, but also to the raw data in the form of context sheets, site photographs and images of key artefacts. This will be further enriched by Wiki-style systems facilitating discussion, and even the blogs of project managers, recording the process of discovery, interpretation and re-interpretation.

Free archaeological data is extremely important; not only does it allow for the repeatability of tests and independent confirmation of results, but it also allows for third parties to take data and produce something new with it. Most importantly, however, is the realisation that we shouldn't be sharing just our synthesized results and reports, but that we should be making all of our data available. This reflects the fact that archaeological value is found not only in the traditional published reports but also in the irreplaceable data that they're derived from.