Sunday, September 13, 2020

Oxford Archaeology Image Database

[First posted 4 October 2015, updated 13 September 2020]

Oxford Archaeology Image Database
The OAID was established in June 2015 by Tim Clayden (Wolfson College, Oxford) with support from the Lorne Thyssen Research Fund for Ancient World Topics. Its initial aim was to preserve and make available to as wide an audience and user group as possible images of archaeological sites recorded on slide film. The concern being that as the slide films age and decay the quality of the images deteriorates. In many cases these images are a unique record of the sites at a particular time and once the slide is lost, so too is the image and the information it contains. More recent events in Iraq and Syria have urged a more pressing need to record and preserve the record of some archaeological sites. For that reason the project has expanded to include images in whatever format they are available.

The basic principle of the OAID is that images can only be uploaded under controlled circumstances with persons expert (the site ‘editor’) in the study of a particular site or sites adding a ‘tag’ which identifies what is in the image. These ‘tags’ can then be searched using any standard internet search engine and the images viewed in an uncontrolled fashion. The objective being to make available to as many interested people as possible images of sites which are now either inaccessible, damaged or excavated further thus removing remains.

Use of the images in research and academic publications is encouraged. The use of the images is governed by the UK law on Copyright and in particular the principle of Fair Dealing (sections 29 and 30 of the UK Copyright, Designs and patents Act 1988). In summary this allows use of images in research and private study, for criticism or review, teaching materials, personal use or for reporting on current events (see for more detailed guidance). All other use of the images should only be done after consultation with OAID and in some cases a charge may be made for use of the image.

In using an image from the OAID database acknowledgement should be made in the format – OAID (unique number), name of photographer, date of photograph.

The OAID is a project and while there are a number of slide collections ready to load into the database, more are always welcome. Viewers are invited to submit any images they might wish to have considered for uploading.

It should be stressed that while efforts are made to ensure that the uploaded image is good quality, in many cases the original slides are old, scratched and with colour distortion. These issues can to a certain extent be ‘repaired’, but not completely. It should also be noted that the photographs were taken as research tools and not as works of photographic art. In those cases were persons appear in the images, they are sometimes identified. Otherwise faces are blurred leaving the figures in as they do act as a useful scale.

Popular sites


Middle Assyrian — Late Assyrian
Nimrud (modern Kalhu) was founded circa 1280 B.C.. In 878 B.C. the Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 B.C.) adopted Nimrud as his capital and initiated a large scale building programme. He built …

Dur-Kurigalzu ('Aqar Quf)

Kassite — Ilkhanid
Dur-Kurigalzu ('Aqar Quf) was founded in the early 14th century B.C. by the Kassite ruler Kurigalzu I (x-1375 B.C.).  It is situated on a ridge of limestone that raises it above the surrounding landsc…

Tal Afar

Ottoman —
No excavations have been conducted at Tal Afar. The history of the town is unclear. The city may have originated in the Late Assyrian Period as it may be identified with the toponym Thela'sar which ap…

Museum, Lourve

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This area hosts images that cannot easily be placed in any of the specific archaeological sites.

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