University of Southampton OCS (beta), CAA 2012

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Database of Estonian Archaeological Collections – development, problems, perspectives
Priit Lätti

Last modified: 2011-12-18


In addition to elementary digital catalogues that help retrieve items from the repository, modern information systems enable to build more high-powered and comprehensive databases that are of great help in collection management and research. Recently, public interest in archaeology and archaeological findings has grown considerably, thus creating a need to publish information quickly and effortlessly.

With that purpose in mind, a database of archaeological collections was developed at the Tallinn University’s Institute of History. The database contains information on artefacts, objects found during fieldwork, animal and human bones, as well as related documents, such as fieldwork reports, plans, photographs and personal archives of archaeologists. In addition, the database allows to enter and manage conservation information on archaeological items, print out lists of findings and conservation reports, keep count of deposits, etc. The database is mainly intended as a useful tool for curators of archaeological collections but also for researchers and the wider public interested in the subject.

The key questions to consider are how to organise different data – locations, items and written sources – into a coherent and easy-to-use database, and which information and how to make accessible to the public.

This paper will give an overview of the structure and functions of the database mentioned above and discusses in greater detail the development problems and future prospects of such databases. The main focus of the presentation is the combination of varied information – locations, findings and written sources – in order to create a logical and convenient database, as well as offer wider public access to data.


databases, internet catalogues