Size isn't everything: are our data good enough to be big?

Author(s): Julian Richards

Year: 2017


Archaeological data may not yet meet the criteria for Big Data, but the growth of archaeological cyber-infrastructures is providing the foundations for ‘big data’ research. Using digital repositories such as the ADS in the UK and tDAR in the USA, we have access to millions of records, from multiple resources. Data and text mining tools allow us to extract information from published and unpublished fieldwork reports, whilst the ability to create Linked Open Data or to integrate metadata via portals such as ARIADNE in Europe and DINAA in North America should allow us to break free from individual data silos. Nonetheless, the idea that ‘big data’ somehow carries an aura of truth, objectivity, and accuracy through size alone has been identified as a myth. This presentation will underline the importance of adequate metadata, and data standards, in allowing us to integrate disparate data resources and to employ ‘big data’ methodologies. It will consider the strategies adopted by recent projects that have sought to combine massive data sets to provide archaeological synthesis, and review their success.

Cite this Record

Size isn't everything: are our data good enough to be big?. Julian Richards. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429440)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14445