ArcheoFOSS 2022
Automating chronology construction and archiving (FAIR)ly along the way

Bryony Moody
School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Sheffield, UK

Caitlin Buck
School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Sheffield, UK

Tom Dye
Department of Anthropology, University of Hawaii

Keith May
Historic England, London, United Kingdom

Panel: Archaeological stratigraphy data

A key goal of archivists is ensuring that digital archaeological data are archived in a way that satisfies the FAIR principles ( These principles ensure that the archaeological data, and especially scientific archaeological data, are Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable. Unfortunately, there is a lack of standardised software for managing and archiving relative and absolute dating evidence. Consequently, digital archaeological data that should be comparable in archives such as the Archaeology Data Service (ADS) in the UK, are inconsistent, often incomplete and, thus, are not reusable. This paper will discuss prototype software for managing and interpreting absolute and relative dating evidence, allowing FAIR archiving along the way.

We postulate that one cause for the lack of dating evidence within archives such as ADS is that no free, open-source software is available to manage such data. The process of chronology construction has multiple steps in which the data might be augmented and analysis carried out: from data collected during an excavation, to obtaining calendar date estimates for many different finds and samples, to adjustments on proposed date ranges for phases. Our prototype software seeks to ensure that all changes to the data are automatically archived while ensuring the user provides a rationale for any modifications to the data or chronological models they make.