Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Anthropology

Committee Chair

Douglas H. MacDonald

Commitee Members

John Douglas, Michael O'Connor


Archaeological Database Management


University of Montana


Archaeologists tend to use computerized databases to record data recovered from excavations. These databases contain large collections of information that can aid archaeologists in making educated decisions, interpretations, and test hypotheses from the recovered data. As time passed, databases became bigger and varied in the information that can be stored. As a result, more data could be recorded from the field that in turn can be used to ask more complicated questions of archaeological remains. However, the use of computerized archaeological databases does not come without its own problems. For example, since each archaeological project can be governed by different goals the information is often collected and classified by using different methods. This can create problems with compatibility within the data set and the database program. This problem is faced by many archaeologists, which limits academic collaboration and use of recovered data from archaeological sites. The understanding of the problems will help to create the solution. The following will explore how the problem of data compatibility was solved between the University Montana's archaeological database and the National Park Service's Heritage Center Database. This study presents a three-phase process that allows the data to be converted from Microsoft Access to Excel, and from Excel to the National Park Service's database program. The goal of this project was to decrease the amount of time needed for the conversion of data, to automate the process as much as possible, and to explain in easy-to-follow step-by-step process of conversion process. This project also led to the creation of a computer program to simplify the conversion process. This program will be useful to any archaeologists working within any Department of the Interior agency.



© Copyright 2012 Nathaniel Scherr