Editorial - Opening windows onto data

Judith Winters *

Cite this as: Winters, J. 2012 Editorial - Opening windows onto data, Internet Archaeology 31.

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Photo credit: Samantha Decker (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

One of Internet Archaeology's strengths and 'unique selling points' not yet replicated by (m)any other e-journals, is that data is integrated into articles rather than being 'supplementary' or offered for download. The aim has always been for the narrative to be a wave driving readers towards the underlying data. Opening windows onto the data from within the text is one of the things I think the journal does best and is a feature used throughout Emma Durham's article 'Depicting the gods: metal figurines in Roman Britain'. Archaeological data does not speak for itself. It needs a narrative. It needs context. But by intermeshing data with interpretation, readers can dip into the data and start to explore it while reading the article, allowing a more immediate understanding of the bigger picture.

Emma Durham's article (in fact at 50,000+ words it is more of a monograph) will be of use to anyone with an interest in Roman material culture, in particular those engaged in active finds research. And the publication of the database and photographs of all the types (also linked to the related Portable Antiquities Scheme's records) will provide a resource for anyone trying to identify figurines, in particular those involved with the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

Speaking of large monograph-like articles, 'The S. Omobono Sanctuary in Rome: Assessing eighty years of fieldwork and exploring perspectives for the future' by Nicola Terrenato et al. also fits this bill. This serves as a prolegomenon to a work of huge significance —the reinterpretation of one of the key sites of early and republican Rome. The exposé of the nature of prior excavation tells us much about the history of Roman archaeology as it does a site of crucial interest to anyone looking at the development of Rome from 600BC to 100AD and it adds huge value to the history of archaeology in Rome. The authors were able to secure funding for this publication enabling it to be Open Access (see Editorial 30). And I am very pleased to report that there are more funded Open Access articles in the pipeline, bringing the tipping point for the journal to become fully Open Access that little bit closer.

Monograph content can however be invisible to readers when browsing an issue contents page and I still get queries as to what the word limit is for submissions. To make this substantial content more prominent, I am working through the journal's back catalogue to identify the 'e-monographs' already published. This is not intended to mark out a separate publication series, but in future, large articles will be assigned a monograph number as well as an issue number so that we can more easily highlight these substantial resources.

The other two articles in the issue, 'Communicating Archaeological Risk with Web-Based Virtual Reality: A Case Study' by Giacomo Landeschi and Marcello Carrozzino and 'Finds and access at Black Patch, East Sussex' by J. Williams are much shorter articles. The former experiments with the presentation of data via VR and will appeal to archaeologists working in the areas of risk assessment and management. The latter relates to a reinterpretation of the Bronze Age site at Black Patch, East Sussex. The study involved the application of Access Analysis and a contextual examination of the distribution of the finds groups. Black Patch is a bit of a 'type site' for the period and so a re-evaluation deserves attention and this is a very nice example of data re-use, and a new window onto old data.

Back to Issue 31


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