background image
he iconic status of the sculpture
has meant that access to repre-
sentations of it are seen as central
to presentations of the local archaeology of
the Alicante Region. Indeed the local
Museo Arqueológico de Elche in the
Palacio de Altamira has a 20
copy. Given the central importance of the
sculpture to the region the newly opened
MARQ Archaeological Museum, Alicante
( wished
to include in a special exhibition a more
accurate and recently made replica of the
La Dama de Elche, but could only create
one if it could find a conservation friendly
approach to generating the level of
recorded detail necessary to fabricate the
replica. In the Introduction to issue 4 of
DigiCULT.Info, we noted the exceptional
use of new technologies to improve access
and understanding of the archaeological
heritage of the region that this new
Alicante archaeology museum had already
made. In that note we focused on front-
of-the-house uses of technology, but they
have also made use of cutting edge infor-
mation technologies behind the scenes
and the physical replica of La Dama has
been made possible by one such technolo-
gy. It has enabled the high-resolution
recordings of original objects, and the
rapid prototyping of copies using accurate
and automated industrial methods.
Whereas in the past plaster casts might
have been made of archaeological materi-
als 3D documentation techniques now
enable the creation of nearly identical
copies of works without exposing the
original to risk during the recording
process. This was the case with the pro-
duction of a replica of the La Dama de
Elche. We tend to frown on replicas
claiming that they lack the authenticity
and integrity of the original. The team
Among the archival fonds now document-
ed in the AREA database are those related
to the accidental discovery of the Dama de
Elche. Indeed, a contemporary note of the
discovery held by the Archivo Municipal
de Elche, (Alicante, España) is the source
for information about the nature of its dis-
maging work at the Archivo General
des Indias, Sevilla was one of the earli-
est attempts to enhance access to
archival holdings through the use of digital
technologies. The Archives, which consists
of some eighty-six million pages of manu-
scripts related to the Spanish administra-
tion in the Americas from the fifteenth to
the nineteenth centuries, were from the
early 1990s the focus of efforts to improve
access and potential use of the collections
through digitisation. So far some 11 mil-
lion pages have been digitised. As well as
leading development work in digitisation
the Archivo General des Indias project has
been one of the first cultural heritage proj-
ects to tackle the migration of digital
resources across file formats and operating
systems (see
%20v5.pdf /). The experiences of this
project have provided valuable guidance to
other digitisation and migration activities.
he project also pointed the way
for the application of ICT to
improving access to Spanish
Archives. In this issue Elisa Carolina de
Santos Canalejo and Blanca Desantes
Fernández of Spanish State Archives
Bureau describe an even more ambitious
project to employ the Internet to bring
visibility to the documentary heritage
housed in Spanish archives. The AER
Project (Proyecto de Archivos Españoles en
from Factum Arte argue that the populari-
ty of the exhibition offers at least one
challenge to `the view that replicas are in
some way inferior and suggests that they
can become a valuable addition to muse-
um displays without the audience feeling
`duped''. In earlier issues of this ejournal
we examined the issues of authenticity
and integrity from the vantage of our
`written documentary heritage', and in a
future issue we will return to this topic
taking the concept of documentary her-
itage in its broadest sense.
hile it is recognised that the
complexity of archaeological
excavations and their records
makes it difficult for their results to be
published by anyone other than the origi-
nal excavators, it is also the case that the
work of later archaeologists can benefit
from returning to the original excavation
notes, drawings, and other records rather
than relying on the published record alone.
Sadly few do so. There are many reasons
for this; among them is the fact that too
little research has been conducted to make
their discovery easy. Work by the EU
Culture 2000 programme funded research
network AREA-ARchives of European
Archaeology, (
area-archives/index.htm) has gone some
way to improve knowledge about, study
of, and access to archaeology archives
across Europe. A series of documentary
projects conducted during the second
phase of the AREA project has done much
to lay a foundation for the proper record-
ing, if only at collection level, of the loca-
tion and nature of archaeological archives.
The Spanish participation in the project
led by the University of Jaén inventoried
`Archives of Iberian archaeology' with spe-
cial focus on those related to the Iron Age.