Wouter BOASSON| Ronald M. VISSER
(RAAP, Boaedificat, Saxion, Weesp, The Netherlands)

Keywords: exchange, archival, excavation, harmonisation, XML

Key issue in re-using data from excavations is the need to understand the meaning of the contents. Integrating studies have a hard time using old datasets, for obvious reasons like finding the right data in the first place, understanding unknown codes, and the inherent difficulty of combining data from different excavations. These problems are commonly addressed by archiving and publishing harmonized data, which enables searching through combined datasets, but at the price of losing important detail.
Despite hesitation, an interchange format for digital archaeological data was needed. We played a major role in the drafting group for what would later become the ‘SIKB0102’ interchange standard, where we ultimately focused on: 1) keeping the original level of detail while providing a harmonized view; 2) serving archiving as well as data interchange in active projects; 3) control of versions and 4) making sure that relations, key to solving archaeological mysteries, are central. An unusually flexible interchange format was created, that can hold detailed data together with, and linked to, harmonized data. Having the harmonized data makes it easy to search and combine datasets, while having the related detailed data makes it possible to drill down to the original level of detail. Archaeological data is all about structure and location, so we took care of including the vector geo-location data in the specification as well. Combining all these aspects in one interchange format make the SIKB0102 specification stands out.
In The Netherlands the archaeological research data must be provided to the national archival institute (DANS), and the KNA (quality standard for the Dutch archaeology) demands submitting the data to the national archive. Today the KNA requires to provide archaeological excavation data according the SIKB0102 specification, which is a big step forward in re-using archaeological excavation data.

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We provide a solution for interchanging archaeological excavation data, suited for archiving and re-use, reducing the conflict of interest between standardization and keeping the original detail.

The SIKB0102 protocol offers a unique standardized protocol for structured data exchange based on harmonized data, but yet with room for accompanying detailed data, metadata, geodata and versions.