(Regierungspräsidium Stuttgart, Esslingen, Germany)

Outline: Structured collection and active archiving of excavation data

Although digital data collection has been standard in Baden-Württemberg for over 12 years, the problem of archiving and looking after this data has only recently been addressed. Today’s basic visual excavation record is based on tachymetric survey combined with CAD-based archaeological software. This is augmented by extensive use of 2D digital photorectification. The mainstay of the written record is a proprietary excavation database. Scan-data is becoming increasingly important.
The soft and hardware has become more or less standard and interchangeable between excavations. But in the past each excavator has collected his or her data in their own way, leading to a myriad of variations. This is unsatisfactory. The key to successful data preservation being structured data collection. Therefore, the task of the last years has been to come up with a data structure for use in the field. The data structure must be rigid enough to fulfil structure needs as well as flexible enough to cope with all types of archaeological excavations in Baden-Württemberg, ranging from palaeolithic to modern, from plains to wetland, from deep urban excavation to forested mountain areas.
The data structure decided upon is a simple folder-structure. It is designed to be an adaptable, software-independent repository for any sort of digital excavation data. With minimum adjustment it could be used anywhere, with any software and in fact on any operating system. It can also serve as a repository for “old” data. The Data thus collected is “actively” archived under the implementation of a professional server solution.
Finally the ADAB-WEB (General sites and monuments data base) with its GIS-functionality can be used to make the excavation data more widely available and through it the excavation geometry interfaces to the central finds archive as well as to the excavation data.

Keywords: Data collection, Archiving, GIS