This is a crucial resource if you are interested in the archaeology of the British Isles, as well as other locations around the globe. The Archaeological Data Service is an AMAZING resource, which requires a log-in. They require your name, address, email address, and a password. It is well worth the effort. Many different archaeological sources are collected here – grey literature, published journals (some very old,) excavation data, and theses.

One of the great aspects of this site is the fact that with your log-in, you gain access to the ability to save resources. ADS calls it your workbook. You can have favorite resources and saved searches. In the control panel, you can even change the colors. Another feature which I prefer is the fact it will save your log-in. Some other sites require you to accept their terms and conditions every time you visit. IF you happen to close the window, you have to click accept again. While I understand the security reasons for requiring constant acceptance of the terms and conditions, it is inconvenient for me.

The ADS blog is interesting, covering a variety of topics, including the technical issues of organizing and managing all the data. There is a section on learning, which can help independent scholars like those of us in the SCA learn more about the processes and standards of archaeology. They even have an Archaeology Britain iPad app.

As an example of how you can utilize the service, I used the Archives tab and searched on the word “silk.” There was only one search result, because this is not searching everything in the archive data, but instead the introduction and description pages. That one result was about The Urban Landscapes of Ancient Merv, Turkmenistan; not really a research focus of mine; however, it includes a number of downloads, including a great map of Silk Road routes (see, that’s where the “silk” comes in.) This is a better map than I’ve found elsewhere, and when I talk about the “northern” route of the silk road in my post about 9th C Silk Road inspired fabric designs, I mean that route that goes over the north end of the Caspian Sea. So even a result for a location I’m not interested in, and not really about the keyword I was searching for, turns up something useful. That’s the type of result I get over and over from this resource.

Map of the Silk Roads.
Tim Williams, Sjoerd van der Linde (2008) The Urban Landscapes of Ancient Merv, Turkmenistan [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor] (doi:10.5284/1000164)
Alternatively, I typed “silk” into the ArchSearch keyword search section, which produced 400 results. I will be awhile trying to see if any of these are relevant to my many research interest.

This is also not a dead archive, but more data is being actively deposited. There will be results here this year, I didn’t find 7 years ago. So be sure you bookmark this site, and come back regularly.