From a card catalogue cabinet to an information system

The Archive of the Institute of Archaeology of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Brno has been operating since the foundation of the Brno branch of the State Institute of Archaeology in 1942. The branch archive collects information acquired through archaeological fieldwork in the territory of Moravia and Czech Silesia. It currently contains approximately 204,500 archival documents.

The most extensive part of the archive is comprised of the archaeological report archive (brief reports, excavation and expert reports); other sections include a photo archive (negatives, transparencies, photographs) and a plan and map archive. The legacy and personal collections of amateur and professional researchers comprise another specific section. The archive provides a research base for the scientific community, students of historical sciences and the general public.

The archival collection is being systematically transformed into a digital archive by scanning earlier analogue materials and with the deposition of new, born-digital documents. Due to the increasing volume of digital data and increased administration and management demands, the central information systems – Internet Database of Archaeological Fieldwork in Moravia and Silesia (IDAV) and the Digital Archive and Register of Archaeological Fieldwork in Moravia and Silesia (DAEAV) – were set up in 2009.

The operation of the IDAV and DAEAV systems ended on 31 May 2017; they were replaced from 1 June 2017 by the Archaeological Map of the Czech Republic (AMCR) information system. Since then, the collection, administration and presentation of information concerning archaeological fieldwork in the whole territory of the Czech Republic are jointly conducted in a unified manner on a nationwide level by the two Institutes of Archaeology of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Brno and Prague.

A fundamental milestone, not only in the document digitisation process but in the whole operation and formation of the archive came in 2016 with the launch of the Archaeological Information System of the Czech Republic project, the simultaneous foundation of the infrastructure of the same name, and its inclusion in the Roadmap of Large Research Infrastructures of the Czech Republic. More information and a list of the AIS CR services and tools are available here.