ASU Taps Veterans To Archive For US's Largest Digital Archaeology Database

Published: Monday, September 26, 2016 - 10:32am
Updated: Monday, September 26, 2016 - 3:43pm

(Photo courtesy Center for Digital Antiquity)
Photo of a ceramic piece from the collection of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
(Photo courtesy Center for Digital Antiquity)
A Mimbres pottery image from the center's collection.

An Arizona State University program this semester will use veterans to archive digital archaeological data from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The four veterans, who are ASU students, will train and work at ASU’s Center for Digital Antiquity, which houses the nation’s largest archive of digital archaeological data.

Center director Frank McManamon said Army Corps frequently encounters relics while working in the field but has sometimes struggled to process the finds quickly. 

“In the ‘50s and ‘60s, oftentimes that particular part of the investigation just didn’t get done,” he said.

To deal with the shortfall, the corps established the Veterans Curation Program to engage veterans in processing at-risk items in its archives. Originally, the center’s Digital Archaeological Record (tDAR) was tapped to store program’s data, but McManamon’s group soon saw potential for ASU student veterans as well.

“So, we’re starting now — this semester, in fact. We have four student vets working on the project, and they’re going through the process of what a digital curator does,” he said.

ASU’s Veteran’s Project grew out of the Corps’s Veterans Curation Program, which taps veterans in processing at-risk items in its archives.

The tDAR database is publically accessible at tdar.org.

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