(Heritage Direction, Ministery of the Brussels Capital Region, Belgium)
Outline:The input of elaborate scientific archaeological information combined with laboratory and archival managing tools into one database guarantees access for future generations of researchers
In 2000 a comprehensive database has been initiated in Microsoft Office Access 2000 concerning the archaeological excavations in the Brussels Capital Region. The database is housed on the central server of the Heritage Direction of the Region and consists of a front-end holding the interface and a back-end holding the actual data, thus allowing a multi-user environment. Its structure comprises various tables, linked by relationships one-to-one or one-to-many and is based on the introduction of the so-called “unique number” attributed to each object. The data-input starts with the archaeological site information (parcel and ownership information, excavation staff, archaeological layers). Then follows the description of the handling of the objects found in the excavations (before and after treatment/restoration) and the detailed object information (organised per material: glass, ceramics, metal…) with its location in the storage room. Hyperlinks give access to images illustrating the objects and various scientific analyses.
Although this database has been presented during the 10th workshop in Vienna in 2005, it has recently known an enormous development. In 2005, it only contained basic information concerning the objects and the archaeological sites. Today, this database combines elaborate scientific information concerning the excavations with the description of laboratory restorations and the storage room management. An object can thus be traced from its location on the site through its restoration in the laboratory and the description made by the archaeologist in his office into its box in the storage room.
Future improvement will concern the development of this database in a more stable environment and the creation of a web-application allowing access to certain parts of the database directly from the field by our licensed archaeologists. The additional creation of a virtual museum in our future Heritage website will moreover augment the accessibility of our archaeological archives towards the specialists and the greater public.
Keywords: database, archiving, digital documentation