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Archiving Archaeological Data in the United Kingdom

Julian D. Richards

Cite this as: Richards, J.D. 2021 Archiving Archaeological Data in the United Kingdom, Internet Archaeology 58.


Owing to its early lead in the world of digital preservation, fostered by the creation of the Archaeology Data Service in 1996, the UK is often considered to be in an advanced position for digital archiving of archaeological data. In some ways it is, but the situation is also complex, due to a highly fragmented landscape, spread across four nations, and multiple sectors. This overview article describes the organisation and structure of archaeology across the UK, and the provision for digital preservation and access. Digital archiving is still far from standard, but the situation is improving, and rests on firm foundations.

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  • Keywords: archaeology, digital data, archaeological archives, FAIR principles, United Kingdom
  • 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: Julian D. RichardsORCID logo
Archaeology Data Service

Full text

Burnard, L. and Short, H. 1994 An Arts and Humanities Data Service, Report of a Feasibility Study commissioned by the Information Systems Sub-Committee of the Joint Information Systems Committee of the Higher Education Funding Councils.

Richards, J.D. 2008 'Managing digital preservation and access: The Archaeology Data Service' in F.P. McManamon, A. Stout and J.A. Barnes (eds) Managing Archaeological Resources: Global context, national programs, local actions, One World Archaeology 58, Left Coast Press. 173-94.

Richards, J.D. 2017 'Twenty years preserving data: a view from the UK', Advances in Archaeological Practice 5(3), 227-37.

UKRI 2020 The UK's Research and Innovation Infrastructure - opportunities to grow our capacity.

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