Locating existing data

  • Identifying and locating sources of existing data can be important for a variety of reasons, including asking new questions or providing a new analysis of the data, comparing results from various studies, replicating and validating previous results, developing or testing computational models, and extending a study across time, geography, or other variables by incorporating data from multiple datasets.

  • The resources listed below can help you find relevant datasets for use in your research. Many also serve as repositories if you are interested in a place to deposit and share your own research data.

  • The listings focus mostly on publicly available open access data sources, rather than commercial databases. However, some resources may require subscriptions or involve other costs, and some may require registration or acceptance of data use agreements.

Eleven quick tips for finding research data

This article offers the following 11 quick tips that researchers can follow to more effectively and precisely discover data that meet their specific needs.


ICAC’s repository

The CORA.Research Data Repository (CORA.RDR) is a federated and multidisciplinary data repository that allows Catalan universities, CERCA research centres and other research entities to publish sets of research data in a FAIR way and following the guidelines of the EOSC. Since 2021 all ICAC researchers can publish here. More info here.

Catalan Digital Infrastructures for Archaeological Data

Immovable Cultural Heritage Inventory (Invarque): Inventory of Catalan Archaeological Heritage.

Geoportal: Inventory of Catalan Archaeological Heritage (geographic data).

Interventions Map : Data about the interventions managed by the Archaeological Service of Catalonia.

Calaix : Intervention reports, planimetric records, photographs.

Carta arqueològica de Barcelona: Archaeological elements inside Barcelona’s municipality.

Archaeology Data Repository

Archaeology Data Service ADS is the leading accredited repository in the UK for archaeology and historic environment data.

ARIADNE plus is a search engine which allows one to search through several European archaeological repositories simultaneously.

ArkeoGis is a platform for sharing and use of spatialized data about the past. It enables to pool and query – thanks to a mapping interface – the spatialized scientific data about the past (archaeology, environment…). Arkeogis is an online platform accessible in four languages (german, english, spanish and french).

DANS Data Station Archaeology is a repository for search for data within the field of archaeology.

DataFirst is a research data service dedicated to giving open access to data from South Africa and other African countries.

Fasti Online is a project of the International Association of Classical Archaeology (AIAC) and the Center for the Study of Ancient Italy of the University of Texas at Austin (CSAI). It contains a database of archaeological excavations, another of archaeological conservation and the third one of archaeological field surveys

IsoArcH is an open and collaborative database of georeferenced isotopic measures of bioarcheological samples from all time periods and all around the world.

Open Context is a service maintained by the Alexandria Archive Institute for the digital publication of a project’s complete datasets.

The Digital Archaeological Record is an international digital repository for the digital records of archaeological investigations. tDAR’s use, development, and maintenance are governed by Digital Antiquity, an organization dedicated to ensuring the long-term preservation of irreplaceable archaeological data and to broadening the access to these data.

Maps, Spatial and Archaeological Data online

Anatolian Atlas. Resource for scholars interested in the archaeological settlement patterns and historical geography of Ancient Anatolia.

Ancient World Mapping Center. Resource for maps and site specific research materials promotes cartography, historical geography and geographic information science as essential disciplines within the field of ancient studies through innovative and collaborative research, teaching, and community outreach activities.

Chaco Research Archive. A collaborative effort to create an online archive and analytical database that integrates much of the widely dispersed archaeological data collected from Chaco Canyon from the late 1890s through the first half of the 20th century.

CORONA atlas of the MIddle East. Freely available digitized and georectified CORONA satellite images of the ME.

Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery. A Web-based initiative designed to foster inter-site, comparative archaeological research on slavery throughout the Chesapeake, the Carolinas, and the Caribbean.

Digital Atlas of Roman and Medieval Civilization (DARMC). Makes freely available on the internet the best available materials for a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) approach to mapping and spatial analysis of the Roman and medieval worlds. DARMC allows innovative spatial and temporal analyses of all aspects of the civilizations of western Eurasia in the first 1500 years of our era, as well as the generation of original maps illustrating differing aspects of ancient and medieval civilization.

The Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative. Based at University of California, Berkeley, is a global consortium of people who share the vision of creating a distributed virtual library of cultural information with a time and place interface.

Environmental and Remote Technologies Lab at Brown University: Geospatial Research and Teaching Facility. A dedicated computer facility which supports Brown University’s research, academic, and administrative activities as they relate to the geospatial technologies of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and/or Remote Sensing.

Free GIS data list. List of over 300 sites that provide freely available geographic data sets.

MEGA Jordan. A purpose-built geographic information system (GIS) to inventory and manage archaeology sites at a national level.

Pleiades. Geographic info on classical places pulled into Google Maps from the Barrington Atlas and other sources.

Social Sciences Data Resources at Brown: Maps & Spatial Data. Subject guide maintained by Social Sciences Data Librarian Frank Donnelly.

THANADOS. A Digital Humanities web portal for archaeologically and anthropologically investigated burials and their digital dissemination. The regions covered are Austria and the Czech Republic during the the Early Middle Ages (600 until 1100 AD). New sites are added continuously to provide an online open data repository of Early Medieval cemeteries.

General repositories

The Explore Service corresponds to the OpenAIRE Discovery Portal that provides access to Open Access research content. It is based on OpenAIRE’s open scholarly communication graph that includes all research and scholarly activities, ranging all phases of the research life cycle.

Google Dataset Search is a search engine from the Google Toolbox that helps researchers locate online data across a variety of different sources. These can range from a publisher’s site, a digital library, or an author’s personal web page.  In order to be picked up in this search the repository or dataset owner must describe datasets using a given standard format (schema.org) and allow Google to index their content. Currently only datasets annotated as ‘dataset’ will be indexed so moving images, pictures etc., may not be included.

Zenodo is a general-purpose repository to share open and FAIR research outputs.

re3data is a global registry of research data repositories covering a wide variety of academic subjects in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. re3data.org enabled searching over 2000 international data repositories using standardised metadata, datasets can be browsed by subject, country, or content type, and searched by any combination of 41 different attributes.


For more information and assistance, contact Documentation Centre and Library.


Batlle Baró, S. (2021). Is it the Thought that Counts? An evaluation of digital archaeological data archiving in Catalonia, Internet Archaeology 58. https://doi.org/10.11141/ia.58.25

Data management in Archaeology (University of Amsterdam): https://rdm.uva.nl/en/content/research-groups/archaeology/archaeology.html?cb

Maps and Spatial and Archaeological Data online (Brown University):  https://libguides.brown.edu/archaeology/data

Last updated: 08/06/2023