Issue 18: Editorial

Jon Kenny, Acting Editor

Cite this as: Kenny, J. 2005 Editorial, Internet Archaeology 18.

This issue of Internet Archaeology begins with a paper from Dawson and Levy at the University of Calgary in Canada. They combine archaeology and anthropology with 3 dimensional computer reconstructions to view semi-subterranean winter houses from the arctic during the 12th and 13th centuries. The archaeological tradition for the peoples behind these buildings is known as Thule. The Thule have used whale bone extensively in the construction of their houses. Dawson and Levy use reconstructions and ethnographic observation to suggest the ritual and symbolism of the Thule architecture.

The rest of the edition is a special issue dedicated to the ARENA (Archaeological Records of Europe: Networked Access) project. ARENA was a three year project supported by the European Union through the Culture 2000 programme. It began in late 2000 and finished in December 2001 and was completed in November 2004. The object of the project was to promote preservation and access to digital data in European archaeology and to investigate and demonstrate the possibility of creating a European information infrastructure for archaeology. Three years of work has covered many areas of interest for the cultural heritage management community and archaeology as a discipline. The set of seven papers presented here can be read in their own right, each taking a separate and vital topic, or they can be seen as a collection. As a collection of papers, it highlights the many difficulties that face us as we seek to find pathways across national boundaries, but they also show us the routes that these pathways can take towards sharing archaeological data across Europe and beyond.

Kenny and Richards consider the problems inherent in using heritage projects to build a sense of European identity while Oberländer-Târnoveanu considers the links between language and identity in multilingual resources. The collected papers all consider the vast potential for dissemination and access inherent in digital archiving. In particular Aldred looks at innovative ways that archaeology and digital archives are published and presented to the public in Iceland, and Eide et al show how digital document resources can be linked with each other and with the landscapes to which they refer. Dam and Hansen consider the potential for sharing cultural resources throughout Europe, in particular sharing sites and monuments data. This data can be made accessible through innovative use of maps and hand-held devices allowing access to people on the move. Not all archaeological data is digital. Prinke describes the digitisation work carried out by the Poznan Archaeological Museum to preserve and make accessible the historic collection of images from excavations at Biskupin in the 1930s. Coping with language and, more importantly, meaning that lies behind language is a vital issue for any European project.

The overall approach that was taken by ARENA is discussed by Kenny and Richards while Oberländer-Târnoveanu considers the long term implications of multilingual resources and the projects that are striving to take us forward. In linking such varied resources together via the ARENA portal, how people find these resources is taken up by Waller who presents a vision of sharing data across Europe through the power of the Internet. This is not a new idea, Hansen proposed it 1992, but it is now getting closer to reality. These papers show some of the experiences of the ARENA partners as they sought to identify and demonstrate pathways towards the vision.


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