(“Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iasi, Archaeology Department, Romania)
Purpose and Methodology/Approach: As we are trying to get back to basics and see what’s behind the modern technology that we are using nowadays, databases are certainly somewhere towards the basic. But behind them are the checklists and behind them is the excavation, and at the base of all this the materials left by the people that lived long ago are to be found, material traces that we are trying to uncover and interpret. This sequence: material traces – excavation – registration (checklists and databases) – interpretation is not without problems even in the most fortunate circumstances. When this sequence is in relation to an old unpublished or only partial published excavations the problems and questions sometimes outnumber the positive results. Directing the discussion towards the use of databases for funerary contexts, several questions come up immediately: Can there be one database used for all funerary contexts (from a period or from a region)? Should we use a more restrictive language in a database and what are the pros and cons of such a choice? To what extent are databases useful and from what point forward their use for an old unpublished funerary context becomes problematic? To these questions, we will try to give a possible answer (that might bring up other questions?).
Keywords: database, funerary data, terminology, old excavation