Wouter Boasson / Philip Verhagen

(RAAP Archeologisch Adviesbureau, Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Archaeologists all over the world have come to realize that computers are powerful tools to speed up and improve the analysis of field data, so they are found at almost every desk nowadays. Unfortunately, in Dutch commercial archaeological consultancy much more time is spent on entering data (collected in the field with a pencil on a piece of water-resistant paper) than on analyzing them. The obvious thing to do is storing the data during field research into a database system, making it immediately available for analysis. In Dutch archaeology, several attempts have been made to develop software for this purpose, but none of them has caught on very well. What went wrong? At RAAP, one of the largest Dutch archaeological consultancy companies, we have decided to build our own system. This proved to be quite successful, so what makes this system different from others? In this paper a brief overview of the developments in computer applications for archaeological fieldwork in the Netherlands is presented, together with the difficulties encountered. Secondly, we will try to make clear how RAAP managed to build a system that archaeologists actually enjoy using. Here we are dealing with psychology rather than technology. As the process of adoption and approval of the system also depends on the software itself, its key features are also explained. These can be easily related to the factors that determine the acceptance of the use of e-stylus and tablet-PC in the field.