Overcoming Specialist Silos: Lessons from Zooarchaeology on Data Creation, Access, and Reuse

Lecture | October 17 | 12-1 p.m. | 101 2251 College (Archaeological Research Facility)

 Sarah Kansa, Archaeological Research Facility & Open Context

 Archaeological Research Facility

Specialist contributions play an important and ongoing role in archaeological interpretations. However, specialist analysis and reporting frequently occurs on a much different timeline than archaeological fieldwork. Furthermore, specialists often work in a laboratory or other setting far removed from the actual location of the excavation. This isolation can be damaging to research outcomes in many ways, especially because it encourages the formation of specialist data silos. To make matters worse, specialists may not realize that their data documentation practices are contributing to the siloization of data. In this talk, I present zooarchaeological case studies from Etruscan Italy and Neolithic Anatolia that highlight the challenges specialists face in ensuring that their work contributes to the bigger picture of archaeological interpretation. I will also discuss current research that explores how choices made during data creation can have impacts on a data set's future reuse, with an aim to improve the potential of specialist data for reuse by others.