What does ARK do?

ARK is entirely web-based, which means you need no external software (other than a web browser) to meet all of your archaeological data management needs. Among its key features are:

Data Management

ARK is a data management system. It provides an intuitive interface for easy data entry, data editing and data viewing for any kind of digital information you might have, including photographs, plans and GIS data, 3D reconstructions, sound and video.

Driven by a powerful, spatially enabled database, ARK allows for full free-text searching and querying via the text or the map interface.

Its multi-lingual and multi-user environment makes ARK ideal for use in the field and for working with local and foreign collaborators.

Extensive data support will allow you to export your data to a number of different formats (such as XML and CSV).

Data Sharing

ARK is built from a Web 2.0 standpoint and aims for quick and easy data-sharing. As well as human readable web content you will be able to serve your data using a number of different web services (such as RSS, ATOM, WMS and WFS).

Although it was primarily designed for archaeological recording, ARK’s framework itself can be used to store, visualise and publish a vast range of other types of datasets. These include, for example, bibliographic databases and image collections. The development framework is open enough for the user to decide what to record and who sees what.

Data Mapping

Built-in tools allow you to map existing databases to the ARK structure with very little hassle. This means that you can view your own legacy datasets or those inherited from others within the ARK framework.

ARK also comes with a variety of tools for mapping your data structure to other database structures and will soon allow mapping to data standards such as the CIDOC-CRM.


Built entirely on open-source software ARK is totally customisable and extensible. You can (and we hope you will!) develop your own specific tools and modules if they don’t already exist.

ARK’s interface is built using standards compliant XHTML and CSS (and comes with a default skin), which means you can change the look and feel to suit your own individual project(s).


User administration is built on the PEAR LiveUser module. It provides multiple levels of user access with permissions based on groups. This allows the administrator to control who can do what with your data.

It’s a system you can use to put your archaeological data on the web so that you can work on it and share it.