D. Bibby
(Landesdenkmalamt Baden-Württemberg, Konstanz, Germany)

The present Late Roman excavation on the Münsterplatz in Konstanz, Germany, has been the subject of much regional, national and international interest. Soon after work began in summer 2003 a substantial stretch of late Roman wall complete with a watch tower measuring 5m x 7m was uncovered, together with Roman baths overlain by an extensive medieval cemetery. With 6,000 m² around the cathedral to be archaeologically examined in only 12-16 months prior to repaving, a decision had to be made on how to record such an extensive area quickly and efficiently. The decision was made to “go digital” (Thanks to Karen Lund) without compromises: i.e. to build on experiences made in Konstanz in the last years with digital recording and set up a system for this important excavation which, as far as possible, would do without traditional recording methods and rely only on digital technology.
This contribution describes an integrated archaeological recording system based on a “network” of tachymetric survey – both point coordinate collection and real time on screen survey, CAD-systems, digital photogrammetry and laser scanning, together with a database which connects to CAD as an “Archaeological Information System” and now has a reflexive Harris Matrix interface. It does not describe a “high end” IT application such as VRM or multimedia. It is in fact low end – from the dirt, the place from where the basic data comes! It is though, not just a simple description of any one of many digital excavation recording systems, but a critical discussion of both its advantages and disadvantages, as well as an analysis of the consequences for data collection. Finally it looks at the infrastructure – equipment, hardware and software, organisation and personnel necessary to “go digital” in the real world.