1 Introduction

At the time when Henrik Jarl Hansen delivered the introducing address on perspectives of European Sites and Monuments data at the Computer Applications in Archaeology conference at Aarhus University, Moesgaard in 1992 (published in the proceedings of that conference (Hansen 1992b), a number of new technologies were being introduced. Internet, email and GIS were slow to appeal to heritage professionals, and their use almost demanded specialist skills. A web site was much more than just a single mouse click away, and to use the (by today's standards) rather primitive GIS, you would almost need a degree in engineering.

The situation is much the same today with new technologies and initiatives emerging, but not yet fully explored. A number of the initiatives listed in 1992 are now extinct, while others still flourish. Predicting which initiatives and technologies will dominate the agenda 12 years from now is not easy, but taking the Danish situation as an example some indications appear.

Hansen summed up the situation and the prospects for Sites and Monument Records in 1992 with one of the main points being that with a common European cultural heritage, where “cultures” throughout prehistory have had little respect for the present national borders, heritage information should be shared across borders through systems able to query several nations' Monument Records at once and present the result in a meaningful way to the user.

The ARENA project has shown this to be possible, and it is hoped that more European interoperable portals for cultural heritage will see the light of day, or perhaps that more National Monument Records will be added to the ARENA portal.

This paper is a revised version of the authors' presentation in the ARENA session at EAA Lyon in September 2004. The title of the paper remains the same, but a few changes were necessary for some of the content, as technological development is fast these days, and new initiatives have emerged even in the few months since the EAA conference.


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