Center for Digital Antiquity


The Center of Digital Antiquity, housed within the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, has the unique mission of extending our knowledge of the human past and improving the management of our cultural heritage by permanently preserving digital archaeological data and supporting their discovery, access and reuse.

We are comprised of a team of archaeologists, digital curators, and programmers dedicated to advancing the FAIR+CARE data principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable; Collective Benefit, Authority to Control, Responsibility, and Ethics) across cultural heritage disciplines. 

Digital Antiquity offers tailored digital curation services, training workshops, and grant-related support for organizations and individuals.

tDAR and the Center for Digital Antiquity

Digital Antiquity is dedicated to ensuring the long-term preservation of and access to irreplaceable archaeological data. We do this through the maintenance and operation of tDAR (the Digital Archaeological Record).

tDAR is a CoreTrustSeal Certified digital repository designed to house and make accessible digital archaeological records from investigations, organizations, projects, and research. Use of tDAR has the potential to transform archaeological research by providing direct access to digital data from current and historic investigations along with powerful tools to analyze and reuse it.

Growing from a handful of collections, tDAR now houses 411,000 resources, with 17,500 documents, 20,500 image, 2000 datasets, and 470 GIS files!

What drives the mission of the Center for Digital Antiquity?

We strive to meet the FAIR principles by:

  • Increasing Findability. Important resources can be housed in tDAR, with metadata, which will reduce time searching for information.
  • Enhancing Access. Digital documents that can be accessed via the web, versus hardcopy reports that can only be accessed in person, reduce time to acquire resources, and improve data sharing-relationships.
  • Better Interoperability. Using tDAR data integration tools and ability to link datasets with well documented ontologies speed the time it takes to do advanced analysis.
  • Improving Reuse. Digital access allows for more efficient use of time, reducing the hurdles to gather materials required for reporting, data sharing, Tribal consultation, analyses, and assessments.


As open as possible, as closed as necessary”*

tDAR uses enhanced security measures to ensure that geographic and culturally sensitive information is protected, helping us meet the CARE principles!

In tDAR, contributors have the ability to control & limit access to the files themselves. While metadata, or information about the data, are public, which means that anyone can learn about the existence of the resource, the resource owner control access to those items and users have the ability to send direct requests for access.

*(European Commission Directorate-General for Research & Innovation. H2020 Programme Guidelines on FAIR Data Management in Horizon 2020. Version 3.0. 26 July 2016)

Our efforts include:

Document & Data Archiving

  • Caring for the digital products and outcomes of research and compliance work so that information can be accessed, reused, and preserved for years to come.

Long-Term Preservation

  • Ensuring that irreplaceable records of archaeological investigations are maintained for reuse by future generations of academic and CRM archaeologists.

Data Management

  • Planning for how data will be collected, organized, analyzed, documented, and archived.

Reuse and Research

  • Reused data are valuable, they:
    • Validate the scientific method and hypothesis.
    • Facilitate new research ideas.
    • Save time and money so that data aren’t recreated.
    • Give data creators credit for data gathered.


  • Adhering to data curation guidelines set forth in the National Historic Preservation Act (Subchapter II §470h–4), Archaeological resources Protection Act (Section 4).


  • Ensuring that data has its own metadata so that it can be located by people and search engines.