The Digital Atlas of Notched Bone Artefacts (DANBA): a collaborative open science database

S3: Practical Applications | Standard presentation

The Digital Atlas of Notched Bone Artefacts (DANBA) collects data on notched bone artefacts on a global scale to implement data science methods in a cross-cultural approach for the functional analysis of notched bone artefacts.

Notched bone artefacts have a worldwide distribution and occur from the Paleolithic to the Modern period. Whereas, for specimens from the Americas the function as rhythmic idiophones is confirmed by historic and ethnographic sources, alternative propositions for notched bone artefacts from Africa, Europe and West Asia include, e.g., scapulimancy, accounting devices, and tools for textile production. However, exhaustive cross-cultural studies are a desideratum. Therefore, we argue for the application of data science methods to detect patterns and clusters of (dis)similar functions within distinct chrono-spatial scopes by correlation of multiple parameters given by each artefact and its respective archaeological context.

Taking its starting point at the department of Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology of the University of Bern, DANBA is designed as an open science project that aims to establish a scientific collaboration network of researchers across specialized regional branches of Archaeology to cope with the global distribution of specimens.

Our paper introduces DANBA’s open accessible online database, which we realized in the research environment nodegoat developed by LAB1100, and reports on the current progress in data acquisition and methodology.