Joined-Up Archaeology

The ADS has been assisting a major research programme at the University of Southampton. A substantial award from the Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB) has enabled the Archaeology Department at Southampton to develop an electronic lithics collection for archaeology.

Southampton has long been the repository for an extensive collection of archaeological rock samples from the UK. The AHRB Resource Enhancement grant will allow this collection to become more widely accessible through digitisation. The ADS has been involved in the process from the start, with practical advice and technical solutions.

Once complete, the the project will provide an interactive database, available through the World Wide Web, incorporating large quantities of data and images.

We first approached the ADS while planning the project to seek advice about technical issues. The ADS was able to suggest solutions for the highly specialized nature of the project that helped us to overcome technical complexities. The ADS was also able to provide guidance about the ‘Technical Appendix’ an essential element of all major AHRB grants. This provided a convincing case for funding.

ADS involvement did not stop once the application had been approved. If anything, collaboration has been extended since the grant was received.

The project began in June and a trial database is being constructed. The ADS suggested using Oracle and ColdFusion software, which will provide a portable and robust system. The ADS has provided a remote user account allowing the project team to use the ADS’s own Oracle servers. The ADS are also part of an Advisory Group that will meet regularly during the project. When the final database has been constructed and the front-end user interface has been designed, the new digital lithics resource will be made available through the ADS. Even after the project has been completed, the database will remain dynamic and continue to expand - and it is through the ADS’s ongoing support that this will be possible./p>

Kathryn Knowles and Fiona Lewis Department of Archaeology, University of Southampton

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