The eastern and central Alpine copper economy played a major role in the metal supply of central Europe during the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age. In that period, the Alpine economy changed considerably as mining and metal production transformed large parts of the landscape from agrarian and remote areas into early industrialized regions. The goal of the proposed project is to make archaeologic data created in the DACH-project “Prehistoric copper production in the eastern and central Alps” (FWF I 1670) open and reusable for the scientific community investigating mining, technology transfer and trade connections in prehistoric times. Metadata will be created leading to a mining sites inventory that documents prehistoric sites, structures, stratigraphic units and finds and relates them to the investigations that have been performed on them and the conclusions that have been drawn. Since the starting point of the research data creation is the documentation created for the Federal Monuments Office, which has to be provided for every archaeological investigation in Austria, the methodology developed in this project will be applicable for all archaeological investigations within Austria. Methodology and the workflow will be published in an open and reusable format as well. The benefit for the international research community is the possibility to analyse sites of prehistoric mining and metallurgical activities in an harmonised reproducible format and investigate research questions on an Alpine and European scale that are not addressable with current documentation standards.

The method of the project is to make data findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable. Metadata for the project data will be created through the application of an ISO certified metadata schema that is widely used in Archaeology and another standard to represent a basic vocabulary for the typology. The generated metadata will be in a network data structure and exported to hierarchical and tabular formats representing sites with their geographic locations, temporal and typological assignments and links to the research activities and documents.

The technical implementation will deposit the original Austrian Federal Monuments Office in a repository that will secure the long term preservation of data. Persistent identifiers for the data in the repository will make sure that the data can be accessed in future under the same internet address and provide the possibility to make the data citable. The same procedure will be applied to the generated metadata representing the mining sites inventory. This inventory will be ingested in the portal of the European Union’s Infrastructure for Archaeological Resources to increase dissemination and usability. The creation of a metadata schema in a network structure using an international standard for a mining sites inventory has not been done before and will increase the potential to generate new knowledge in the domain significantly.

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