Thursday, March 7, 2013

Artifact DM code labels

Our label printers have arrived and we are now able to print off artifact catalogue numbers as tiny 3.5x3.5mm DM (data matrix) codes. The codes are printed using a thermal transfer printer on custom die-cut labels made of archival-quality polypropylene. The labels encoded with the artifact's catalogue number will be affixed to the surface of the artifact itself using Paraloid B-72, an acrylic resin. As with traditional artifact labeling methods, the acrylic resin will be applied both under and over the DM code, to both protect the surface of the artifact, and to affix the code to the artifact.

The system that Sustainable Archaeology will use for assigning and coding artifacts with DM codes has been adapted from work by Spanish archaeologists at the Centre for the Studies of Archaeological and Prehistoric Heritage at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). Using DM codes, the archaeologists at UAB are able to tag and identify even tiny artifacts without having to write directly on the artifact surface.

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Dr. Rhonda Bathurst and Kira Westby of Sustainable Archaeology will be presenting a poster at the upcoming SAA conference in Hawaii in April that will introduce the DM coding at Sustainable Archaeology as part of Sustainable Archaeology's broader inventory management system for artifacts, which includes RFID tagging, as well as the DM coding of shelf locations, artifact bags, and the artifacts themselves.

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