In the beginning was the database...

Among the many challenges to archaeological work and heritage management, the design and implementation of a recording system is paramount. A good system mirrors the analysis as well as sampling, survey or excavation strategy deployed at a site and is able to capture both the process of archaeology and its products, the physical artefacts and the related metadata.

Archaeology as practiced in the digital age creates many more ‘artefacts’ than those unearthed by traditional excavation methods. The recording system must accommodate multi-media in the true sense of the word – physical forms, plans, sketches, journals, slide and negative film images, video, digital stills, audio recordings, 3D models, GIS data and satellite imagery.

Ideally, the system would be multi-user, multi-scalar, multilingual, cross-platform (or platform free, i.e. web-based), and built using open architecture standards to assure expandability and longevity while conforming to the low budget constraints most archaeological projects face.