Zooarchaeological Database Preservation, Multiscalar Data Integration, and the Collaboration of the Eastern Archaic Faunal Working Group

Sarah W. Neusius, Bonnie W. Styles, Tanya M. Peres, Renee B. Walker, George M. Crothers, Beverley A. Smith, Mona L. Colburn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Data preservation, reuse, and synthesis are important goals in contemporary archaeological research that have been addressed by the recent collaboration of the Eastern Archaic Faunal Working Group (EAFWG). We used the Digital Archaeological Record (tDAR) to preserve 60 significant legacy faunal databases from 23 Archaic period archaeological sites located in several contiguous subregions of the interior North American Eastern Woodlands. In order to resolve the problem of synthesizing non-standardized databases, we used the ontology and integration tools available in tDAR to explore comparability and combine datasets so that our research questions about aquatic resource use during the Archaic could be addressed at multiple scales. The challenges of making digital databases accessible for reuse, including the addition of metadata, and of linking disparate data in queryable datasets are significant but worth the effort. Our experience provides one example of how collaborative research may productively resolve problems in making legacy data accessible and usable for synthetic archaeological research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-422
Number of pages14
JournalAdvances in Archaeological Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The EAFWG project was funded by the National Science Foundation award BCS-1430754 to Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) with subcontracts to Illinois State Museum (ISM) and Digital Antiquity. Each of us is grateful to our home departments and institutions for supporting our involvement with the EAFWG, and to the IUP Research Institute for ably managing our sometimes-complicated project's finances. We especially thank ISM, IUP, FSU, and the Cave Research Foundation for hosting working group meetings of the EAFWG. We are grateful for the many ways in which our project consultants—Katherine Spielmann, Keith Kintigh, Tiffany Clark, and Adam Brin—and Scott Rivas, Neusius's GA at IUP, assisted us. We also thank the three anonymous reviewers for their help in improving this manuscript and Leticia McGrath for assisting us with the Spanish version of the abstract.

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2019 Society for American Archaeology.


  • collaborative research
  • data reuse
  • database integration
  • database management
  • database preservation
  • synthetic research
  • zooarchaeology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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