Thus far this system has been shown to work as a research and teaching tool. It has been used 'in-house' to record a number of assemblages both by professionals and the students of York's MSc in Zooarchaeology. It is the product of 30 years of zooarchaeological databases and many decades of recording methodology discussion. The demonstration provides an introduction to the workings of the database application, and is easily accessible, while the database and all its documentation itself can be downloaded directly.
In a database such as the York System there will always be the potential for more work. As we have discussed, for example, the diagnostic zone images for fish are based on the gadid (cod) family despite the fact that different taxa can have vastly different morphologies. Moreover, an almost unlimited number of potential reports could have been included. To assist with future versions, it is our hope that users will alert the authors to problems they encounter and improvements they may wish to see made (although note that full support in the use of the database is not available).
It could be argued that, if widely accepted, the York System would stifle further development of recording methodologies. We argue that the reverse could occur. If the York System becomes commonly used, the focus on inter-site comparison will shift from basic data compatibility to more complex issues of inter-site analysis. These could then feed back into the recording process, creating a positive feedback loop. In short, the York System should allow us to do more with zooarchaeological data than has been possible to date with myriad individual recording systems.
We hope that some zooarchaeologists will choose to adopt the York System as their preferred recording method. If it becomes widely used, the potential for inter-site comparisons will be substantial, particularly given the data archiving facilities offered by the ADS.
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Last updated: Thu Mar 13 2003