SEAD is an open access, internationally oriented and interdisciplinary national research data infrastructure for storing, managing, disseminating and analyzing empirical data on past human activity, biodiversity and long-term environmental and climate change.
The primary objectives of SEAD are to make environmental archaeology data available to the international research community, and to provide online tools to assist in the analysis of these data.
The SEAD project has created a web-accessible, GIS-ready database for environmental archaeology data. The system allows researchers to study data on the interactions of past environments, climates and human impact, as well as study the implications of these for the present and future research agendas including cultural heritage, species and landscape conservation. Empirical data from a large number of archaeological and Quaternary geological sites is now accessible online and provides the basis for a wide range of interdisciplinary studies, with more data being added continuously.
Through the use of innovative IT solutions, the system combines the benefits of large datasets, easy access and powerful visualisations of scientific data. SEAD forms part of a comprehensive international initiative towards the construction of scientific research infrastructures and the project links with similar systems being developed elsewhere in Europe and the USA. The project is being undertaken as collaboration between the Environmental Archaeology Lab and HUMlab, an international meeting place for the Humanities and IT at Umeå University.
The Environmental Archaeology Lab in the Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious studies at Umeå University, has operated since 1994 as Sweden's only national resource lab for environmental archaeology. The lab has extensive experience of research and contract archaeology from both Sweden and internationally and has accumulated a large amount of data which needs wider access, and is involved in the advancement of scientific methods in archaeology.