The DAS Project – Digitization of an archaeological collection

Hi! My name is Guido Nockemann and I’m currently working on the DAS project, the digitization of the archaeological collection at the Lippisches Landesmuseum in Detmold/Germany. Till may 2011 I’ve worked as a research volunteer in the department of ground monument conservation at the Lippisches Landesmuseum in Detmold. Since June 2011 I am entrusted with the design, implementation and scientific management of the DAS project.

DAS project logo

Some facts about the project: The aim of the DAS project is the digitization of all objects of the archaeological collection of the Lippischen Landesmuseum.

In the daily routine of a museum, it is impossible to exhibit all the objects. Digitisation allows to access all objects via the Internet for the public and research. So what exactly does “digitization”? All information of an object (name, function, age, size, color, weight, literature, origin, etc.) will digital recorded as text and supplemented by a digital image.This information will be recorded in a database and afterwards imported into a publicly accessible online database: the portals “museum-digital” and “europeana”.

The tools for digitizing: PC, documents, measuring tools, a digital camera, books, the Internet,…and the finds.

The tools for digitizing

Museum-digital is an initiative with the aim to make digitised museum items available through the Internet. Museums in various parts of Germany have joined forces to respective regional museum associations or initiatives and got involved in the museum digital project, including the Lippisches Landesmuseum Detmold, where the DAS project is carried out now.

You can find already digitized objects of the LLM here.

The Internet portal europeana is a platform in which, via the European digital libraries, selected museums and archives can be searched.

                                                                                                                           The Lippisches Landesmuseum Detmold, a facility of the Landesverband Lippe, is already part of both portals. The DAS project is still at the very beginning but on its way. It is funded by the Lippisches Landesmuseum Detmold and the Stiftung Standortsicherung Kreis Lippe. I am an employee of the company SCRIPTORIUM commissioned to carry out the project at the Lippisches Landesmuseum.

So, what am I doing exactly?
The department of ground monument conservation at the Lippisches Landesmuseum Detmold keeps about every find and each site a file.

  Some documents about the finds are old           


Some of these documents are very old. The Lippisches Landesmuseum was founded 175 years ago and from the beginning archaeological finds were collected.

So, first I work through the documentation and hack all the information about it into a database. Then I get the boxes with the finds from the magazine and describe the content, the number of artifacts, their condition, the kind of the objects, their dating, etc and feed this information also in the database. This is the big part of the work. For the right classification and dating of the objects I have to consult books, databases, publications of other museum-collections, colleagues… my brain and have to hope that I didn’t forget everything I’ve learned at University. Sometimes the gathering of the data is just a matter of minutes, sometimes it takes a week to get all required information.

man at work     	Measuring and describing of the find


I also make documentary pictures of the artifacts and integrate them into the database. For the presentation of the finds at the Internet portal of museum digital, I take them, not every piece but the more “beautiful” ones, to our photographer who make some realy fine photographs of them. When enough objects have been digitized I export the data sets and send them to my contact at museum digital who upload them to Internet database. After that everybody with access to the Internet can search and find the objects. The result of the project will look like this (click the pic):

It’s fascinating to go through a whole archaeological collection and work with so many finds. There is so much to tell about them. And it´s also a very important work. Science just work by sharing information. The digitization helps to make the finds known by other archaeologists and the public. Scientists can use the information to compare finds, to find out how old they are, their function, etc. This project is very interesting for me, because I see a lot of finds of various kind and dating. There is no better way to learn much about archaeology. And every day you get some surprises when you recognize a nice and rare but still unknown object and can bring it to public and tell its story.


For more information about the project and museum digital:

Digitised objects of the Lippisches Landesmuseum Detmold @ museum-digital

The blog of museum-digital with posts of the DAS-Project


DAS-Project @ Facebook


The Lippisches Landesmuseum Detmold

The Landesverband Lippe


me @ Facebook

my side project “Ask the Archaeologist2.0” @ Facebook

and @ posterous

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