Archaeological Fish Bones Online: a digital archive of Sydney fishes Open Data

Sarah Colley1 and Rowan Brownlee2

1. Department of Archaeology, University of Sydney. Email:
2. Digital Project Analyst, Sydney eScholarship Project, Fisher Library, University of Sydney

Cite this as: Colley, S. and Brownlee, R. 2010 Archaeological Fish Bones Online: a digital archive of Sydney fishes, Internet Archaeology 29.


The article presents the Archaeological Fish Bone Images sustainable digital archive and XTF-based image search and presentation tools developed with University of Sydney Library. The archive contains over 500 images of modern and archaeological fish remains and was developed as part of an archaeological research project into colonial and traditional Aboriginal fishing practices in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia from c.3000 years ago to the late 19th century. Links are provided to research information about fish ecology and fishing, the cultural and historical significance of fish taxa and details of taxonomic and anatomical nomenclature.

The article explains how and why the archive was developed, and identifies and discusses the research implications of significant gaps in current fish reference collections. Archive content is useful to researchers who need to identify and interpret fish remains of the same or similar biological taxa from Sydney or elsewhere. The design of the archive and online tools is relevant to other applications that use digital images to aid identification and interpretation of archaeological and other collections.

The authors and Internet Archaeology acknowledge with gratitude a grant from the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, The University of Sydney towards the development of this electronic publication.

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