Open Data as Public Archaeology: The Monumental Archive Project

Bibliographic Information

Article Title

Open Data as Public Archaeology: The Monumental Archive Project

Journal Title

Online Journal in Public Archaeology


Cook, Katherine

Month of Publication


Year of Publication


Volume Number


Issue Number


Web Address (URL)

Additional Information

Available Through

AP Online Journal in Public Archaeology





The value of open data is transforming archaeological practice while also introducing new concerns relating to the ethics of studying the dead. This paper uses the Monumental Archive Project, recently launched as a public database of cemetery records from Barbados, as a case study to critically examine the realities of platforms created to bring together academic and general audiences in open mortuary archaeology. Digital literacy and support structures are significant barriers to digital data within the discipline, while the impact of open data on the public(s) that archaeologists seek to engage and collaborate with is rarely considered let alone measured. Is it possible to serve diverse audiences with a single platform? What are the implications (social, ethical, emotional) for sharing cemetery data? When digitizing the dead, strategies in platform design, marketing and communication for public interest and use becomes even more complex and necessitates further attention.


RPA Codes & Standards

CIfA Codes

Keywords & Terms

Topics & Issues