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Belated Measures - the Reality of Digital Archaeological Archiving in Poland

Agnieszka Oniszczuk and Agnieszka Makowska

Cite this as: Oniszczuk , A. and Makowska, A. 2021 Belated Measures - the Reality of Digital Archaeological Archiving in Poland, Internet Archaeology 58.


Archaeology in Poland, as in any other corner of the world, thrives on the application of digital technologies in fieldwork and subsequent analysis. Unfortunately, legal and administrative solutions have not been responsive enough to keep up with these changes.

This article summarises the reality of archaeological digital archiving in Poland, shaped by a legally determined focus on paper documentation and the decentralisation of the state heritage service. The practice of digital archaeological archiving is illustrated by the results of a survey carried out among archaeologists from provincial heritage offices. It has revealed that, while they struggle with a lack of adequate technical measures and skills, they also opt for increasing the significance and proportion of digital archaeological archives and realise what should be done for this Digital Dark Age to end.

On a more general level, the existence of digital documentation has already been recognised in laws on archiving and implementation of IT solutions. This article describes the actions taken at a national level to tackle these issues; namely, two state repositories: one for electronic documents and the other for digital resources of science and culture. It also presents current initiatives of the National Institute of Cultural Heritage in this regard.

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  • Keywords: archaeology, archaeological archiving, archaeological prospection, archaeological remote sensing, archaeological site record, digital archiving, National Institute of Cultural Heritage, National Heritage Board of Poland
  • Accepted: 21 January 2021. Published: 31 May 2021
  • Funding: This article was funded by SEADDA as part of COST Action 18128, Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the European Union
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Corresponding author: Agnieszka OniszczukORCID logo
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa (National Institute of Cultural Heritage)

Agnieszka MakowskaORCID logo
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa (National Institute of Cultural Heritage)

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Figure 1: Territorial division of provincial heritage service in Poland, i.e. Voivodeship Monuments Preservation Offices and their regional branches, and responses to the survey carried by the authors in 2020 (by A. Oniszczuk, ©National Institute of Cultural Heritage)

Figure 2: Preferences of archaeologists from the state heritage service as to the form of archaeological documentation in answers to the survey carried by the authors in 2020 (by A. Oniszczuk, ©National Institute of Cultural Heritage)

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