Archaeology Data Service

Pioneering open access digital archives: A world-leading repository of heritage data

Archaeology Data Service (ADS) is the UK's only accredited digital heritage data archive and has over 20 years’ experience of leading the development of digital preservation.

Launched in 1996 with core funding from Jisc and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), it currently hosts over 1.3 million metadata records relating to the archaeology of the British Isles, over 50,000 unpublished fieldwork reports and over 1,500 data-rich archives for research and fieldwork projects across the British Isles and from UK-based archaeologists working overseas.

The ADS is a not-for-profit organisation hosted by the University of York. It works with the preservation community on developments in data policy and on good practice in data repository creation and management. The service supports research, learning and teaching with free, high-quality and dependable digital resources that are professionally curated and easily accessible for future reuse. This is especially important as data often forms the primary record of the evidence derived from a destructive activity, archaeological excavation, that cannot be repeated.

In 2012, the ADS received the Digital Preservation Coalition’s Decennial Award for the decade’s most outstanding contribution to digital preservation. It is also the recommended digital repository for archaeological data for organisations such as the British Academy, the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists, the Council for British Archaeology, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic England.



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