Workshop on the development of digital tools for archaeological research

Published: 2022-11-17

On 17 November, SND organized a workshop on the development of new digital services and tools for archaeological research. It was a conclusion of the results from the international collaboration ARIADNEplus, which ends at the end of this year. At the same time, it presented the plans for the work in the new national research infrastructure Swedigarch, whose goal is to connect various archaeological sources and databases.

ARIADNEplus and Swedigarch

ARIADNEplus is an EU-funded research infrastructure project in the field of archaeology, which has been active since 2017. The project has resulted in an international portal for a variety of digital tools and services for archaeological data. The ARIADNE portal contains, among other things, a searchable catalogue of over 3.2 million entries from 41 partners in 23 European countries.  

SND has played a central part in the development of the ARIADNEplus portal

SND has been responsible for building the extensive ARIADNEplus portal, which has become a well-used meeting-point for professionals in the archaeology domains. During the workshop, SND staff presented the portal's various features and how they can be used by researchers, cultural heritage organizations, public agencies, and other stakeholders.

“One explanation to why the ARIADNE portal has had such an impact is that it’s easy to find the right things. By using a well-defined metadata structure, we’ve built a searchable catalogue that generates opportunities for new and unique comparative research in a way that is more accessible than before”, says Johan Fihn Marberg, head of IT at SND.

During the workshop, the participants also discussed how the ARIADNE portal can be managed after the project has concluded; one route that’s being investigated is to integrate new projects into the collaboration and to keep it running, but in other ways. 

“The ARIADNEplus portal lowers the technical barriers for researchers and other stakeholders who wish to take part of and share archaeological data. This creates favourable conditions for new collaborations in archaeology, which we hope to be able to manage and develop in the future, too”, says Ulf Jakobsson, Research Data Advisor at SND.

A new national portal for archaeological data

Also presented during the afternoon was the newly started national research infrastructure project Swedigarch. This is a project funded by the Swedish Research Council that will run from 2022 to 2027. Its purpose is to create a national research infrastructure that can preserve and give access to archaeological documentation, scientific analysis results, and cultural heritage collections. The goal is to create a one-stop platform where archaeological objects from different collections and results are accessible through linked databases.  

“There is an enormous amount of archaeological data that haven’t been made accessible. By collecting and preserving the knowledge that is hidden in existing datasets, we can create a knowledge exchange that will benefit everyone. Our aspiration is to make Swedigarch a new standard digital tool for Swedish archaeology”, says Helena Hulth at Uppsala University, who is the project coordinator.