The Danebury Excavations Digital Archive

The Danebury Trust, 2003

Data copyright © The Danebury Trust unless otherwise stated

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Prof Gary Lock
Institute of Archaeology
University of Oxford
36 Beaumont St

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The Danebury Trust (2003) The Danebury Excavations Digital Archive [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor]

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Danebury is an Iron Age Hill Fort situated in the county of Hampshire in southern England. The site is located on a hill (rising to 143 meters) surrounded by the gently undulating chalk plain of Wessex (45 to 60 meters below the hill). Danebury has been the subject of a major programme of excavation directed by Professor Barry Cunliffe that began in 1969 and ended in 1988.

danebury22.jpg © The Danebury Trust

The main phase of occupation at Danebury began in the 7th or 6th century BC and lasted until the 1st century AD. There was evidence of activity both before and after this period, but the Iron Age provides the most extensive phase of occupation. The excavation at Danebury revealed both a complex development of ramparted earthworks and interior activity represented by circular structures, rectangular trench built structures and rectangular post built structures. A more detailed description of the archaeology at Danebury can be found in the overview section.

The excavation programme at Danebury has been written up in a number of volumes. Four of these, volumes 1 and 2 (published in 1984) and 4 and 5 (published in 1991) are concerned with the site and the material remains from it. These four volumes have been published as CBA research reports and are available online:

danebury09.jpg © Ashmolean Museum

The archives presented here can be used in conjunction with the above publications. In the preface to the excavations volume Cunliffe described the potential use of the excavation archive: "A data-set of the kind derived from Danebury will continue to be reworked by students for the foreseeable future asking new and increasingly sophisticated questions" (Cunliffe 1984a). The decision to computerise the archives from Danebury was taken at a time when the use of computers in archaeology was in its infancy. The sheer size of the data set made the use of computer technology essential for analysis purposes, the archive development is outlined by Gary Lock on page 8 of Volume 1. The preservation of digital archives such as the Danebury archive is a key issue for contemporary archaeologists. The data has been migrated onto software that is easily available and that can be used by today's PC users. At the same time metadata has been created detailing the data files so that the meanings of particular fields or abbreviations are not lost in the passing of time.

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