FAIR survey: Improving documentation and archiving practices in archaeological field survey through CIDOC CRM

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This paper aims to contribute to the improvement of documentation and archiving standards (conforming to the FAIR principles) for systematic Mediterranean archaeological field survey. It reports on the initial stages of work by the authorsto build an extension to the CIDOC CRM ontology to accommodate concepts underlying the description of archaeological field survey data.We first constructed, based on our own experience as survey directors, a general process model for archaeological field survey; we then defined the concepts central to such survey practices in consultation with other domain experts; and we produced adraft conversion of these concepts into CIDOC CRM ‘classes’ with the help of members of the CRM Special Interest Group.While this work has resulted in a fairly robust conceptual model of field survey as practiced in the Mediterranean, we also identify and discuss several issues relating to the tension between the desire to enable comparative analysis of survey databases by improving documentation standards, and the apparent inability of the survey domain to achieve standardization of field procedures.Although the process of formally agreeing a CIDOC CRM extension for field survey is a slow one, we believe a global solution to the problem of comparability is worth pursuing over a local, temporary one. We lay out the steps needed to resolve the remaining conceptual issues, to formalise the CRM extension, and to implement it in the form of a ‘mapping’ tool.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalFasti Online Documents and Research
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • archaeology
  • data modeling
  • Fieldwalking survey
  • FAIR data principles

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