Digital Archives in Archaeology


The question of how to handle digital archives has been a hot topic for archaeology for years and now forms the focus of the Digital Archives in Archaeology project. DigVentures were commissioned by Historic England to develop guidance for anyone working with digital data in archaeological projects. The guidance forms part of the Archaeological Archives Forum’s ongoing series of practice guides for archives management aimed at practitioners. As part of the project, recommendations were made to update CIfA’s Standards and guidance to ensure consistency between practice guidance and regulation and these have been made. As part of Historic England’s response to the 2017 Mendoza review, DCMS were urged to ‘welcome and endorse guidance... that relieves museums of the expectation that they should attempt to curate digital material from archaeological projects in favour of their deposition in a Trusted Digital Repository that will guarantee the preservation and accessibility of digital material’. To support this recommendation, the need was recognised to provide clear guidance for practitioners which work alongside industry standards and are supported across the sector. The Digital Archives in Archaeology project was initiated by the Archaeological Archives Forum to provide such guidance and encourage the consistent and robust management of digital data in archaeology. The completed Toolkit can be found here Dig Digital | Chartered Institute for Archaeologists. A second phase was commissioned in 2023 and is now underway. This involves the development of an e-learning resource to support training and implementation of the guidance. Further updates coming soon!