The home of the Archaeology Data Service. Photo: Jen Mitcham
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The Archaeology Data Service

The Archaeology Data Service supports research, learning and teaching with freely available, high quality and dependable digital resources. It does this by preserving digital data in the long term, and by promoting and disseminating a broad range of data in archaeology. The ADS promotes good practice in the use of digital data in archaeology, it provides technical advice to the research community, and supports the deployment of digital technologies.


For additional insights into ADS activities and developments please take a look at the ADS Blog Sound bytes from the ADS


A short history of the ADS

The Archaeology Data Service (ADS) was established in September 1996, as one of five discipline-based service providers within the Arts and Humanities Data Service (AHDS). The ADS developed from a successful bid to the AHDS made by a consortium of university Departments of Archaeology and the Council for British Archaeology, led by the University of York. The origins of the ADS are described in ADS 19 . The other AHDS services were formed from existing digital archives for History, based at the UK Data Archive in Essex, and Digital Texts, based at the Oxford Text Archive. There were also two other new services: VADS, for Visual Arts, based at Farnham in Surrey, and PADS, for Performing Arts, at the University of Glasgow.

From an early stage the ADS also began to receive external funding from a variety of other organisations, such as English Heritage, reflecting the diverse nature of the archaeological sector. On 15th September 1998 the ADS launched the first version of ArchSearch its online catalogue; in 1999 it published the first Guides to Good Practice; and in 2002 it launched HEIRPORT, the first interoperable gateway for the historic environment sector. In 2003, the AHDS went through a process of rebranding and from 2003-2008 the activities of ADS which were performed for the Higher Education sector were still carried out in York but were done under the umbrella of AHDS Archaeology. However, on March 31st 2008 AHRC and JISC ceased their funding for AHDS, and AHDS Archaeology ceased to exist. Nonetheless, AHRC had already agreed to give continued support to Archaeology and ADS provides ongoing support for digital preservation and re-use, for research, learning and teaching for Archaeology and the Historic Environment sector. The ADS in more depth

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The ADS is a member of the Europeana Network .

The ADS is an associate member of the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) .

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