International Core Data Standard for Archaeological
Sites and Monuments
Using the Core Data Standard
The various sections into which the data standard
is divided represent the minimum categories of information
required to make a reasonable assessment of a monument
or site, whether for planning, management, academic,
or other purposes. In addition, reference can be provided
to further information held in databases, document centres,
and elsewhere which may be necessary for the detailed
understanding and care of individual monuments or sites
or categories of monument or site.
The mandatory sections within the data standard provide
for a minimum amount of information required for indexing
in structured fields and describing in free-text fields
an archaeological monument or site. The optional sections,
sub-sections, and fields allow for the recording of
a monument or site in greater detail. For example, a
site may be cross referenced to a larger complex of
which it forms a part, or to records of excavations
undertaken on the site. Cross referencing can also be
made to more detailed documentary information either
held by or known to the organisation responsible for
the particular monument or site record. Clearly the
level of recording undertaken by individual organisations
will vary according to its own requirements and resources.
Not all the sections are mandatory. Each section contains
a varying number of sub-sections, some of which are
mandatory (i.e., the information must be recorded),
while others are optional (i.e., recording of information
depends upon the priorities of the recording organisation).
Alternatively, of course, the information may not exist.
For example, there may never have been an excavation
undertaken at a particular site, in which case sub-section
2.1.8 cannot be completed.
While many of the sub-sections are optional, once it
has been decided to record the type of information they
refer to, then some or all of the fields within the
sub-sections become mandatory. For example, if it is
decided to make cross reference to records of archaeological
excavations/events (sub- section 2.1.8), then the reference
number of that excavation record and the name of the
organisation responsible for curating that record must
The individual sections are as follows:
Although many of the entry fields within the sections
and sub-sections require only a single piece of information
(designated "unique" within the data standard),
it is recognised that in certain instances two or more
terms may be relevant to a particular monument or site
within a single field, sub-section, or section. For
example, an archaeological site may straddle the border
of two adjacent administrative areas, or more than one
excavation may have taken place at a particular site.
In such instances, the data standard recommends the
repetition of the whole sub-section or section rather
than multiple entry, within one field. Thus in the example
of more than one excavation at a particular site, each
would be treated as a separate event, and the whole
of the cross references in 2.1.8 would be repeated for
each excavation record.
- Section 2.1 identifies the monument or site, and
allows cross referencing to records of events, e.g.,
excavation and/or survey undertaken at that site,
and to records of artefactual and archival material
associated with the site.
- Section 2.2 locates the monument or site in terms
of address, political, cartographic, and other spatial
- Section 2.3 describes the type of monument or
site being recorded.
- Section 2.4 allows for a date to be assigned to
a monument or site, or for dates to be assigned
to particular phases of use.
- Section 2.5 records the physical condition of
the monument or site.
- Section 2.6 permits a note to be made of any form
of protection, legislative or otherwise, which applies
to the monument or site.
- Section 2.7 provides for a brief summary of what
is known, archaeologically, about the monument or
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