SEADDA has been awarded a COST Innovators Grant (CIG) to help maintain and develop the ARIADNE RI mission with 12 months funding starting from 1st November 2023. The CIG, Sharing Heritage and Archaeological Data Effectively (SHADE), will support the development of the ARIADNE RI as an Open Science solution to increase the participation of the wider archaeology community in opening up their data.

Research undertaken by the SEADDA COST Action identified major disparities in access to skills, expertise and digital infrastructure for archaeology and heritage across Europe. A handful of COST Member Countries had well established and advanced repositories which provided open access to national archaeological inventories and research data. But in many others, there was little or no online access and, even where there was a desire to provide it, there was an inability or lack of resources to create the requisite processes and systems. Work by SEADDA revealed that archaeology was at risk of missing out in the drive to provide FAIR data, and falling far behind in the Open Science movement. However, members of SEADDA worked with ARIADNE to support the development of the ARIADNE portal to provide a simple and cost-effective workflow to make archaeological data available Open Access for all.

The ARIADNE portal now provides interoperable open access to over 3.9 million digital data resources, covering some 50 countries, four continents, and the whole span of human history from early hominids to the Cold War ( With the support of SHADE, the ARIADNE RI will provide a solution whereby individuals and organisations can be given access to the skills and tools to publish their data online, without duplicating efforts at national, regional and local levels. This solution avoids the creation of multiple data silos, and creates a single point of access, capable of addressing major research questions, and solving heritage management problems.

The aims of the SHADE CIG are to:

  • Create a charging model for the ARIADNE RI, based on the actual costs of adding data sets to the Knowledge Base.
  • Promote the ARIADNE RI internationally, and set targets for the number of datasets and new members to be added per annum.
  • Provide training in the preparation of FAIR archaeological data for aggregation in the ARIADNE RI.
  • Create a business plan for the ARIADNE RI, such that it is sustainable and the costs of updating existing data, adding new data sets, and adding new members are covered
  • Permit a wider cross-section of archaeologists and heritage managers, drawn from a larger number of countries, to participate in European funding proposals, as members of the ARIADNE RI.

To quote from the feedback from the Review Committee:
“The CIG Committee recognizes that, given the influence that archaeology has on our culture, this CIG application has the potential for a strong impact.”

This is significant achievement for the ARIADNE RI within its first six months and also a positive outcome for the wider archaeological community.