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Cooperation statement between the Archaeology Data Service and the British Geological Survey

January 2010

The British Geological Survey (BGS) is the national centre for Earth Science information and expertise; and one of the world's major geoscience organisations and the first national geological survey. The work of BGS involves applied and strategic geoscentific research and survey of mineral, energy and groundwater resources, land use and geological hazards, environmental monitoring and information maintenance, management and delivery. It also promotes the earth sciences in general, and aims to reach the education sector and the wider community via the activities of the Public Appreciation of Science section.

The Archaeology Data Service (ADS) supports research, learning and teaching with 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.

Archives and Data

As a component body of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the BGS is required by law to ensure the proper curation of all data and materials collected during the course of its work.The National Geoscience Data Centre (NGDC) is the NERC designated Data Centre for Earth Sciences.

The ADS is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to provide an archiving and distribution service for archaeological research data. The ADS has been tasked by NERC to manage data produced by the science-based archaeology community where appropriate.


Both parties recognise that there is a close relationship between archaeology and geology and that both are important in the UK environment. The purpose of this agreement is to define cooperation between the ADS and the NGDC in relation to the maintenance and dissemination of the results of academic research, and principally those projects funded by NERC

The intellectual property rights, third party data ownership interests, aspects of commercial sensitivity, societal concerns and confidentiality, will be paid due regard, and not knowingly infringed.


The overall intention of this agreement is to ensure that a user can gain access to all relevant research information irrespective of which organisation holds the data or which organisation the user initially contacts.

The NGDC will manage this arrangement within its Earth Science Academic Archive (ESAA) via its Manager.The NGDC has The National Archives, Place of Deposit status and the data will be maintained in a secure environment and managed according to these high standards.

The ADS will manage this agreement via its Collections Development Manager, Department of Archaeology at the University of York.

  • The ADS agrees that it will continue to provide discovery level information about new acquisitions of earth science related data to the ESAA in future.
  • The ESAA and ADS agree to liaise on a regular basis concerning the deposit of archaeological/earth science projects (and at least annually at the time the main NERC grant rounds are approved).
  • BGS will publicise the availability of all appropriate earth science archaeological research data held by ADS via the Earth Science Academic Archive.
  • The ADS will provide ESAA with agreed discovery metadata for any NERC Earth Science funded archaeology projects with links to the ADS web site.
  • The ESAA will record all discovery metadata for NERC funded 'earth science'/ archaeology projects on the ESAA Website with links to the ADS. This Metadata will also be accessible via the BGS Discovery Metadata Service and the NERCData Discovery Service.
  • The ESAA will inform ADS of any potential depositors of archaeological data who may contact NGDC.


Both parties agree that there will be no exchange of funds between the two organisations during the course of any transfer.


The BGS and ADS will undertake an agreed schedule of communication and meet at least once a year to discuss and share information or discuss other issues related to the management of archaeological or geological data.

BGS will publicise the availability of the Archive and make available information from the Archive through its Enquiry Service.

BGS and ADS will undertake to promote each other's existence and remit where appropriate in literature, relevant presentations, and when meeting influential or key players in the field of archaeology and related geological research, both in the United Kingdom and abroad.


This MoU will come into immediate effect. Nothing in this MoU will be construed as creating a partnership. Neither party will represent itself as being the agent of the other party and nor is either party authorised to commit the other party.

This MoU is agreed in good faith by both parties on the basis that it is a fair and honest statement of intentions, and that it has no validity as a binding contract under any law or legal system.