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Curation of Digital Archaeological Data in Norway

Mieko Matsumoto and Espen Uleberg

Cite this as: Matsumoto, M. and Espen Uleberg, E. 2021 Curation of Digital Archaeological Data in Norway, Internet Archaeology 58.


Archaeological documentation from surveys and excavations in Norway are created by a limited number of actors. Excavations are mainly carried out by the five university museums. NIKU (Norwegian Institute for Cultural Research) is responsible for excavations of medieval cities and churches. Maritime museums excavate in lakes, rivers, and below past and present sea level. Archaeological surveys are mainly the responsibility of the counties.

Riksantikvaren (Directorate of National Heritage) is responsible for the national Historic Environment Records (HER), Askeladden, which offers the possibility to upload or insert links to reports from archaeological investigations. Riksantikvaren also archives excavation documentation from churches and medieval cities. The Norwegian university museums have, since the 1990s, cooperated on digitising a national repository and making the collections available online. Presently there are also repositories at the maritime museums, Riksantikvaren and the counties. The infrastructure ADED (Archaeological Digital Excavation Documentation) is a repository for detailed excavation documentation, and the BItFROST infrastructure project contributes to better storage and availability of 3D data. Future development will be more complete national databases, and towards closer international cooperation, creating better integration and availability of several repositories.

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  • Keywords: archaeology, Norway, Norwegian university museums, MUSIT database, UniMus:Kultur, Unimusportalen, ADED
  • Accepted: 9 November 2021. Published: 16 December 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: Espen Uleberg
Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo

Mieko Matsumoto
Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo

Full text

Figure 1: The five cities with university museums and their museum districts. Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo; Archaeological museum, University of Stavanger; University Museum, University of Bergen; NTNU University Museum, Trondheim; The Arctic University Museum of Norway, Tromsø.

Figure 2: The structure, agents, and responsibilities in the creation and curation of excavation data within KHM's museum district. KHM: Museum of Cultural History, NMM: Norwegian Maritime Museum, NIKU: Norwegian Institute for Cultural Research, IAKH: Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History, University of Oslo, MUSIT: the IT cooperation among Norwegian university museums (2007–2021), ADED: an infrastructure for Archaeological Digital Excavation Documentation, RA: Directorate of National Heritage, Askeladden: the national Heritage Environment Register, the Research Archive of the University of Oslo, cooperation among Norwegian university museums since 2021.

Figure 3: Cumulative curve for the archaeological collection development at the Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo. Until 1900 each artefact was given a separate museum number. After this year a group of objects with the same provenience (location and period) is assigned one museum number. There can be from one to several thousand objects under the one and same number. The steep increase in the 1870–1880s reflects the period of grave mound excavations. The second steep increase after 2000 reflects the present increase of archaeological information, both from large excavations and metal detector activity.

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