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Digital Archaeological Data in the Wild West: the challenge of practising responsible digital data archiving and access in the United States

Christopher Nicholson, Rachel Fernandez and Jessica Irwin

Cite this as: Nicholson, C., Fernandez, R. and Irwin, J. 2021 Digital Archaeological Data in the Wild West: the challenge of practising responsible digital data archiving and access in the United States, Internet Archaeology 58.


Archaeology in the United States is conducted by a number of different sorts of entities under a variety of legal mandates that lack uniform standards for data archiving. The difficulty of accessing data from projects in which one was not directly involved indicates an apparent reluctance to archive raw data and supplemental information with digital repositories to be reused in the future. There is hope that additional legislation, guidelines from professional organisations, and educational efforts will change these practices.

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  • Keywords: archaeology, digital data curation, archiving, digital repositories, federal legislation, United States
  • 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: Christopher NicholsonORCID logo
Center for Digital Antiquity, Arizona State University

Rachel Fernandez
Center for Digital Antiquity, Arizona State University

Jessica Irwin
Center for Digital Antiquity, Arizona State University

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Figure 1a: tDAR file repository size, in megabytes from 2014 to 2019

Figure 1b: The number of downloaded resources annually from tDAR from 2010 to 2019

Figure 1c: The number of datasets curated from 2014 to 2020

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