What is the European Archaeological Heritage Web?


The European Archaeological Heritage Web (EAHW for short) is an idea that is currently growing in the minds of a rapidly expanding group of Internet- conscious professionals in the fields of Archaeology, Conservation & Management, Networking technology, and Education. It was started by Martijn van Leusen at the University of Amsterdam in mid-1994 when he organised a meeting of representatives of the main Dutch organisations working in the field of the archaeological heritage, with the purpose of establishing a national archaeological network. This initiative came to fruition in early 1995 with the establishment of ArchWEB-NL . Now at the University of Birmingham, Martijn van Leusen contacted other workers in the area of Web-archaeology, notably Sara Champion at the University of Southampton and Jonathan Lizee and Thomas Plunkett, well-known maintainers of the ArchNet site at the University of Connecticut, in order to collaborate on the design and implementation of a European version of ArchNet. A paper on this subject was presented at the 1995 Computer Applications in Archaeology (CAA) conference held from March 31 to April 2 in Leiden (NL).

In the course of writing and researching this paper, it became clear to us that instead of merely providing access to existing Internet resources, a much more useful project might be initiated by applying for EC funding for telematics initiatives. An outline proposal was drafted for this purpose, an appropriate announcement was made via the UPTURN mailing list, and we are currently corresponding with numerous groups and individuals all over Europe in order to assess openings for a Europe-wide collaborative program of development for a European Archaeological Heritage Web.

Main principles of the proposal

We intend to base the proposal on the text of the revised Convention on the Preservation of the European Archaeological Heritage, which was signed at La Valetta (Malta) in January 1992. Accordingly, our proposal will be aimed at Conservation, Heritage Management, and the Participation and Education of the general public as much as at professional Research and Communication.

In order for our proposal to succeed, we will depend on the formation of support groups at the national level all over Europe. These groups will be responsible for organising and monitoring access to archaeological resources within their regions, and should be fairly representative of their National Archaeological Heritage communities. A list of our current contacts is provided at the bottom of this page.

The success of our proposal being dependent upon access to and regular use of high-speed and broad bandwidth communications, we feel that the active involvement of network managing organisations is of paramount importance, whether these be of a private or public nature.

Taken together, these principles imply that our proposal must be carried at the national level by groups representing the full cross-section of public, private, professional, and amateur communities involved in the production, transmission, and consumption of information relating to Europe's archaeological heritage. The EAHW will provide extra support for those areas that are not currently able to organise themselves at this level.

Although our proposal is NOT aimed at developing new technologies, we recognise the fact that the requirements of archaeologists may sometimes be unusual - access to large image databases being an example - and that collaboration with groups developing such applications may be warranted. Conversely, the proposed EAHW would be an ideal testing ground for new technologies, and we therefore encourage groups currently active in this area, or planning to be, to contact us and discuss some kind of organisational linking.

Background Materials

Our paper entitled Toward a European Archaeological Heritage Web, version dd 11-08-95, is available here. Pending publication, please quote this paper as a web document, giving authors, date, title, full URL.

Please contact us

The formation of a collaborative European Archaeological Heritage Web can only be successful if this proposal is supported widely by as many groups and nations as possible. We therefore ask you to share your thoughts and comments with us, especially on subjects which we have not covered here. If you or your organisation is able to provide material support or official endorsement of our proposal, our chances of making a successful application for EC funding will be significantly enhanced!
Please mail comments to P.M.van-Leusen@bham.ac.uk

Current list of contacts - 950905

The following organisations and individuals have expressed interest in the EAW proposal: