In the field stories

Digital archaeology drives citizen science

The Horizon 2020-funded ARIADNEplus project successfully integrates archaeological repositories across Europe; to date about two million datasets have been catalogued which are searchable via a dedicated portal, accessible to researchers as well as amateur archaeologists, thus making citizen science a reality.

Like no other surveying method since the invention of the shovel, the metal detector has contributed to increasing enormously the amount of data from metal-rich periods. In Denmark, for example, most of the spectacular discoveries are owed to metal detectors in the hands of amateur archaeologists. The heritage sector does not see such detectorists as mere ‘treasure hunters’ but as partners in the quest to document and revive the past by integrating finds in the ARIADNEplus data infrastructure, with R&E networks  providing the connectivity to make it happen.

When an amateur metal detectorist registers his find, such as a coin, he obviously would like to know more about it and maybe compare it to similar finds in other countries. The way he did this in the past was by browsing through auction catalogues or asking peer members in various Facebook groups. Now he can use the ARIADNE search engine to find more information, and examine similar coins found elsewhere.

Andres Dobat, School of Culture and Society – Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies, Aarhus University

Find out more about this exciting citizen science project on the In The Field blog.