The continent of North American has a long and rich history of human occupation spanning more than 13,000 years. The Digital Index of North American Archaeology (DINAA) is a multi-institutional project to help make the history of settlement in the Americas accessible to everyone. The two-year project, which is funded by the National Science Foundation, began in September 2012. DINAA’s central task is to publish records of archaeological and historic sites compiled by State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs) while keeping secure sensitive locational and ownership information about these properties. SHPOs do a tremendous public service by safeguarding our national heritage. They protect everything from historic battlefields to sites with evidence of how the first Americans explored and settled the continent over 13,000 years ago. DINAA provides greater access to cultural resource inventory data so that researchers, students, and the public can learn from our rich history.
DINAA uses advanced data management techniques to integrate site records together so that researchers and the public can get the “big picture” and explore where people lived across North America from the earliest times to the present. This is done in a way that accommodates large-scale research, while still protecting primary information. We are beginning public “beta testing” of the first two SHPO databases in the DINAA project- Florida and Georgia. These two states alone represent nearly 100,000 sites spanning some 10,000 years. Publication of these datasets involves significant user interface and visualization challenges. We welcome community feedback to improve how the data are presented and navigated.
Here are some starting points:
- Faceted search of periods. On the left, different periods are listed as search options. The map shows sites in Georgia and Florida, with counts of sites visualized in geospatial tiles. The geospatial tiles are similar to those used by a variety of Web mapping systems to enable efficient indexing and retrieval of geospatial information at a variety of scales. We are using a QuadTree approach to define geospatial tiles and assign each archaeological site to a tile using the methods defined here. To reduce risks associated with sensitive location data, we limit the precision of the geospatial tiles. DINAA limits geospatial resolution to only 15 – 20 km squares.
- Faceted search of Archaic sub-periods. The DINAA project annotates all data with a controlled vocabulary to facilitate data integration. The controlled vocabulary defines common concepts applied to each SHPO dataset and enables searching, browsing, and visualization across these datasets. Currently, the DINAA controlled vocabulary (“ontology” if you want to sound fancy) only covers major time periods / archaeological cultures. As the DINAA project continues, we will expand the controlled vocabulary to cover other important aspects of SHPO data.
- Morrow Mountain Projectile Point / Knife. This displays a map of a diagnostic artifact type in Georgia.
- Keyword search for the phrase “Chattahoochee Brushed”. This displays a map of another diagnostic artifact type in Florida and Georgia. The map is similar to this resource at the University of Georgia developed by Mark Williams, Victor Thompson and Llyod E. Schroder.