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About AHAD

AHAD is a digital repository for storing documents, datasets, images and sensory data relevant to Australian Historical Archaeology. It is powered the Digital Archaeological Record (tDAR) software which was developed by Digital Antiquity to store resources for all kinds of archaeological data from the United States and across the world. The developers of AHAD (VeRSI and La Trobe eResearch) partnered with the development team from Digital Antiquity to customise some of tDAR’s features and vocabularies for use in AHAD.


Each year archaeologists (both academic and private consultants) excavate tens of thousands of artefacts from historical archaeological sites across Australia. While some states (e.g. Victoria) require catalogues to be prepared in a standard format, the majority of catalogue data are stored in small, standalone spreadsheets or custom-built databases, and few are made freely available.

Between 2001 and 2004, the La Trobe led ARC-Linkage project Exploring the Archaeology of the Modern City (EAMC) created two research databases which offered, for the first time, a central database of 700,000 artefacts from multiple historical archaeological sites and a companion dataset of historical occupancy data relating to 2,200 individuals who occupied those sites. While extensive in their data content, the databases themselves are limited in their structure and required significant design input to make them truly effective tools for managing and sharing historical archaeological data.

In 2010 the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and the eResearch Office, in partnership with Victorian eResearch Strategic Initiative (VeRSI), received funding from the Seeding the Commons program of the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) to redevelop these two EAMC databases into an online platform and storage house for searching, entering and managing historical archaeological data; and seek new datasets from the private, public and tertiary sectors. The final product, the Australian Historical Archaeology Database (AHAD), is a national online database for historical archaeological catalogue data and associated stratigraphic and historical records and allows for automated registration of datasets in Research Data Australia.

Project Team

Professor Tim Murray | Dean, Faculty Humanities and Social Sciences
Dr Penny Crook | Honorary Research Associate, Archaeology Program
Dr Mark Kosten | Director, eResearch Office
Ms Emma Curtis-Bramwell | Communications/Project Officer, eResearch Office
Mr Daniel Tosello | eResearch Office
Dr Ann Border | Executive Director, VeRSI
Mr Conal Tuohy | eResearch Business Analyst, VeRSI
Mr Martin Paulo | Senior Software Engineer, VeRSI
Dr Richard Rothwell | Senior Software Engineer, VeRSI
Dr Nuwan Goonasekera | Software Engineer, VeRSI
Mr Adam Brin | Digital Antiquity

Reference Group

Dr Peter Davies | La Trobe University
Ms Laila Ellmoos | City of Sydney
Dr Melanie Fillios | University of Sydney
Dr Sarah Hayes | La Trobe University
Professor Richard Mackay | Godden Mackay Logan
Professor Alan Mayne | University of South Australia
Ms Annie Muir | Heritage Victoria
Dr Charlotte Smith | Museum of Victoria
Mr Jeremy Smith | Heritage Victoria


We are grateful for the support of our reference group and the archaeologists who attended workshops in Melbourne and Sydney.

We are also indebted to the team of Digital Antiquity for their support throughout the development of the project.

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