I’m happy to announce this year’s Open Archaeology Prize winner. This prize is annually awarded by a jury (in name of the Alexandria Archive Institute) to the best open-access, open-licensed, digital contribution to Near Eastern archaeology by an ASOR (American Schools of Oriental Research) member. The winning project, The West Bank and East Jerusalem Searchable Map, “includes lists of archaeological sites that have been surveyed or excavated since Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967. Since that time, the oversight of the antiquities of the area has devolved on two government bodies: the military administration’s Staff Officer for Archaeology (SOA) in Judea and Samaria and the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). The IAA, which is responsible for East Jerusalem, is a civil branch of government and its records are open for inspection. Some of the records of the Staff Officer for Archaeology in Judea and Samaria are being accessed in full for the first time as a result of the joint Israeli-Palestinian Archaeology Working Group. This involved a team of Israeli and a team of Palestinian archaeologists and cultural heritage professionals working in concert to create new data resources that document the single, unitary archaeological landscape of the southern Levant, which is now bisected by the modern borders.” “The data contained in this database is also available in a visually searchable Google Map interface.” It is an initiative of the University of Southern California, Tell Aviv University and the University of California, Los Angeles.


(cross-posted from the Heritage Bytes blog)

The SAA’s annual conference is fast aproaching! For those DDIG members headed to Austin, I’ve compiled a small list of events with a digital focus.

Digital Data Interest Group Meeting (Thursday, April 26: 6-7 PM)
Please remember to go to this important meeting! This will be the first time we have a real chance to chart a course of action. Since the formation of the group, DDIG has achieved a number of milestones. It now has a membership of 613 people, indicating a great deal of interest in digital communications among the SAA community.

As a further indication of the widespread interest in DDIG’s area of focus, there will be a host of sessions, roundtables, and other events at the SAA’s annual conference in Austin with a thematic emphasis on digital data. This year’s conference events related to DDIG subject areas include:

General Sessions and Symposia:

· Diversifying Archaeology’s Impact Through New Forms of Public Engagement: Current Happenings in Public Archaeology (Friday, April 27: 8AM – 11AM)

· The Digital Excavation, Part I: Approaches to Recording, Repository And Publication Excavation and Web Applications Part 2: Real Time Link Between Recording and Publication: Digital Archaeology at Ancient Urkesh (Saturday, April 28: 8 AM – 12 PM)

· New Knowledge from Old Sites: The Value of Revisiting Sites and their Collections (Sunday, April 29: 8 AM – 12 PM)

· Delving Deeper into Subsistence: Integrating Plant and Animal Data
(Sunday, April 29: 8 AM – 12 PM)

· GIS and Remote Sensing Technologies in Historical Archaeology
(Saturday, April 28: 8 AM – 12 PM)

Round Tables:

· Share, Remix, Reuse: Making the most of Digital Archaeology
(Friday, April 27: 12 – 1 PM)

· GIS and Archaeology (Friday, April 27: 12 – 1 PM)

Poster Sessions:

· GIS and Mapping in Archaeology (Thursday, April 26: 8-11 AM)

Open Archaeology Reception:
With its focus on digital data, DDIG explores the dynamic and rapidly changing world of scholarly communication. Scholarly communication is in the midst of an important transition toward increased openness, access, scope and diversity. The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) recently called upon university counsels, boards of trustees, and provosts “to provide aggressive support for the principles of fair use and open access, and to promote awareness and use of Creative Commons licenses.”

My home organization (the Alexandria Archive Institute) recently won some funding to host an event that will help acquaint archaeologists with the changing world of scholarly communication. We will host an “Open Archaeology Reception” on April 27 (7-8pm, at the conference hotel). The event will provide some free sushi and information about resources and incentives for open scholarship. We will also an Open Archaeology Prize, aimed at encouraging free and open publication of high-quality archaeological datasets.

(Edited on March 9, 2007 thanks to comments from Donna Byczkiewicz)

The International Congress for Archaeozoology (ICAZ) and the Alexandria Archive Inst. (AAI) announced winners of the first “Junior Researcher Open Zooarchaeology Prize”. Five prominent zooarchaeologists reviewed all eleven entries and have determined the following winners, based on the conference papers’ scholarly merits and their potential for reuse in research or teaching. To encourage the widest possible dissemination and reuse of this scholarship, all of the entries are licensed under open Creative Commons. copyright licenses.

This winners are:
Christian Gates St-Pierre (1st Prize)
Ana Belen Marin Arroyo (2nd Prize)

Congratulations to the winners, and many thanks to the five judges for volunteering to participate and for their careful review and evaluation of the entries. Finally, special thanks go to all those who entered into the competition.

All of the entries provide valuable resources for the zooarchaeology community in a variety of ways. Many of these conference papers demonstrate important contributions to zooarchaeological understanding of the past. Students now have access to good, professionally evaluated examples of conference presentations. Looking at these examples can help prepare young scholars on preparing for their first professional conferences. Secondly, some of the contributions provide invaluable reference material for research. For example, Krish Seetah developed an impressive set of materials that will help zooarchaeologists better document and understand ancient butchery practices.

Additional Note:
It looks like the prize winners are already receiving some wider recognition from their home institutions! This is an important step in establishing professional rewards for open scholarship. Again, congratulations to the winners and all those who participated!

The Alexandria Archive Institute (AAI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and developing open resources of world cultural heritage, has just announced an “Open Archaeology” prize competition.

The “Junior Researcher Open Zooarchaeology” prize will be awarded the best open-access, open-licensed, digital contribution to zooarchaeology from papers presented at the ICAZ 2006 meeting in Mexico City. This competition is open to all ICAZ meeting participants who are graduate students or have received their PhD within the past 10 years. The best contribution will be determined by a panel of judges, based on its scholarly merits and its potential for reuse in research or teaching.

The AAI will organize a series of other “Open Archaeology” competitions in the next few months. Please check back for future announcements.