Odyssee: a broad solution
In the Odyssee report (Hessing & Mietes 2003) it is estimated that between 400 and 1200 medium sized excavations in the Netherlands are waiting publication. The excavations were dug in the 20e century, but unfortunately resources were lacking then for the analysis the finds and synthesis the results. For a very small number of sites that really would contribute to the knowledge of Dutch archaeology, it is made possible now through a grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). But a very large number of equally important sites threaten to miss the boot. The Odyssee report already stated that the excavation documentation of the whole backlog should at least be made available to future researchers.
In this 1-year project called “Odyssee – a broad solution” a simple system is developed to get an overview of all unpublished sites in the Netherlands. An extensive inventory has been made together with the organizations that archive and curate the finds and documentation. Already available digital documentation has been made available through the electronic archive at DANS.
The end results consist on the one hand of a list of all unpublished sites (our stock) and on the other hand of a selection of sites that require attention first. These projects are selected by the archives and a detailed description of available materials, preliminary publications, documentation and digital resources is made. Researchers and students are invited to use this online ‘project database’, select a site and make their contribution to reduce the sites in stock. This system has become a part of the website of the Netherlands Institute for Heritage (Erfgoed Nederland). Please consult: http://www.erfgoednederland.nl/odyssee (in Dutch). Supply and demand are brought together online, so future archaeologists can all help to solve the unfinished business of the past.