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Ariadne website

Home Institution

University of York, United Kingdom


From project's website (abridged and accessed 14 January 2020)

The ARIADNE network developed out of the vital need to develop infrastructures for the management and integration of archaeological data at a European level. Many European countries are working, both individually and in combination, to develop data preservation and access policies.One of its key goals is to facilitate multilateral initiatives leading to the better use and development of research infrastructures, at EU and international levels.

ARIADNE sits within DARIAH as a digital infrastructure focussed on the archaeological and heritage sector. 24 European partners, spread across 13 countries, have been brought together in ARIADNE. The network aims to bring together and integrate the existing archaeological research data infrastructures so that researchers can use the various distributed datasets. It plans to embrace Linked Open Data as well as Web Services approaches, and will use Natural Language Processing to enhance access to archaeological grey literature.

In many countries it has been assumed that libraries and archives, the traditional custodians of records, will simply take on this additional role. However, few are adequately resourced or staffed to deal with the scale and complexity of digital data, particularly the volume and range of data types produced by the archaeological sector. Several studies have recognized the value of discipline-based repositories in developing stakeholder communities, avoiding fragmentation, and establishing discipline-specific data preservation expertise.

The UK’s Archaeology Data Service (ADS) is the longest-standing digital archive for archaeology. The ADS was established in 1996 as one of the five discipline-based service providers making up the UK Arts and Humanities Data Service (AHDS). It is hosted by the University of York. The ADS is the mandated place of deposit for archaeological research data for a number of research councils and heritage organizations and makes all its holdings freely available for download or online research. At the last count it provides access to over 18,000 unpublished fieldwork reports (the so-called grey literature) and over 500 data-rich digital archives. All reports and archives are allocated a permanent means of citation, or Digital Object Identifier, in collaboration with the British Library and DataCite.


Digital Infrastructures for Archaeological Research: A European Perspective” by Julian D. Richards, published in the CSA Newsletter XXV (2), September 2012