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Help & guidance Guides to Good Practice

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Armin Schmidt and Eileen Ernenwein, 2nd edition, Archaeology Data Service / Digital Antiquity, Guides to Good Practice

The first edition of this Guide (Schmidt 2002) started with a general overview of geophysical surveys in archaeology, their history and what the possible objectives are within an overall archaeological project. Eight years on, this is deemed to be much better known now and this overview of archaeological geophysics has hence been moved to the Appendix 3.

Instead, this second edition starts the Introduction by exploring the life-cycle of archaeological geophysical data, from the collection in the field to reporting and archiving. This will help to appreciate what information needs to be documented at each stage so that all the results can be archived. But exactly why should data be archived? This will be discussed in detail in Reasons for archiving, describing also the importance of metadata for data discovery and re-use (see also the general sections on ‘Metadata and Documentation‘). A more detailed description of the various computer files that make up the Archive is given in Working files.

The detailed tabulation of metadata for archaeological geophysical surveys is given in Introduction, and Subsets of documentation presents subsets of this comprehensive list that are useful for archiving with certain Archiving Bodies, or when submitting project information under particular documentation schemes. The procedures for actually preparing data and metadata and then submitting them for archiving are illustrated with an example in Planning for archiving.

The Appendix contains an explanation of preservation file formats (Appendix 1), a description of issues related to the georeferencing of geophysical data, including brief comments on GNSS/GPS (Appendix 2) and a general overview of archaeological geophysics (Appendix 3). The latter two sections have been revised from the first edition of the Guide and especially the georeferencing part has been updated to use terminology aligned with the OpenGIS and OGC guidelines[1].