Over the course of 16 years, researchers have developed a rich dataset related to research in the urban center and agricultural territory of Chersonesos, a Greek colony on the Crimean peninsula that thrived through the Byzantine age. Thanks to support from the Packard Humanities Institute, the Institute of Classical Archeology was able to use increasingly sophisticated digital methodologies to document its excavations. But by 2008, some of the systems that organized the digital data sat on a single portable server that the team carried back and forth to Ukraine and that, say the researchers, “could have blown up at any time.”
The situation led the team to think carefully about what would happen to this complex relational dataset as technologies changed. They turned to the National Science Foundation-supported Texas Advanced Computing Center, one of the leading academic computing centers in the nation, to preserve their data in ways that would make it possible for future researchers to harness the richness of digital information to develop a greater understanding of the past.