Travis-CI Build
Status Docker Build Status license


What is SDS?

SDS (Systematic and Digital Documentation of Stone Artefacts) [1] is a recording system for stone artefacts. It was created as an uniform coding and standardized listing system of conventional attributes recorded at lithic inventories to enable well structured, quantitative, and comparative analysis. The variable collection in SDS was compiled from several established documentation systems [2]-[7].

As of November 2018, the SDS system is only available in a german language version.

What is the sdsbrowser and how can I use it?

sdsbrowser is an R Shiny WebApp developed to make the available SDS datasets more accessible. It is designed to give you a quick overview on the spatial and temporal scope of sites previously analysed with SDS and the distribution of artefacts within these sites. This might be especially interesting if you are in search for comparison datasets for your own stone tool collection. Since sdsbrowser allows you to download the registered datasets in a standardized and human-readable format, data preparation and meaningful statistical analysis should be a lot simpler and straightforward. If you want to know how this webapp works, please take a look at the Developer's Guide.

Where is the data coming from and what do I have to do if I want to use the data for my research?

Most of the data was collected in various research projects at Kiel University, mostly within the SPP 1400: Early Monumentality and Social Differentiation. sdsbrowser does not store any information, but queries it dynamically from the Research Data Exchange Platform of the Johanna Mestorf Academy. There is a special page where all the SDS datasets are combined: here.

If you want to use one of the data collections for your research, you must abide by the terms of the the individual dataset's license. If no license is defined on the special download page, you will have to contact the dataset authors and ask for permission. The code in sdsbrowser and sdsanalysis is published under the GNU General Public License, version 2.

How can I add my own SDS data to this collection?

An excellent idea! Please contact Christoph Rinne and ask him what's the best way to achieve this. The most important thing is to choose an appropriate data license.

What can the sdsanalysis R package do for me?

If you are familiar with the scientific scripting language R, than the sdsanalysis package might be useful for your work with SDS data. It provides functions to download the available datasets (the ones also accessible in sdsbrowser) and to quickly transform the numerically coded information in SDS to a human readable format. You can find more information and some code examples on the projects github page.

Who can I contact if I want to know more about the SDS system or this Webapp?

If you want to know more about SDS, you may want to start by taking a look at the main article about the system from 2008 by Anselm Drafehn, Marcel Bradtmöller and Doris Mischka [1]. Over the years it was slightly modified and enlarged. Therefore it might be useful to talk with some people who recently worked with it, e.g. Jan Piet Brozio or Gesa-Kristin Salefsky. One particularly important but unpublished addition was a formsheet for the documentation of artefact groups (Sammelaufnahme). You can find some information about this from 2009 here. There are also some more publications related to SDS with further definitions and applications [8]-[9].

The sdsbrowser Webapp was initially developed by Clemens Schmid in 2018. The source code is available here. It is maintained by Christoph Rinne.


[1] A. Drafehn/M. Bradtmöller/D. Mischka, SDS – Systematische und digitale Erfassung von Steinartefakten (Arbeitsstand SDS 8.05). Journal Of Neolithic Archaeology 10, 2008. doi:10.12766/jna.2008.25
[2] A. Zimmermann, Die bandkeramischen Pfeilspitzen aus den Grabungen im Merzbachtal. In: R. Kuper/H. Löhr/J. Lüning/P. Stehli/A. Zimmermann, Der bandkeramische Fundplatz Langweiler 9, Gemeinde Aldenhoven, Kreis Düren. Beitr. Zur neolithischen Besiedlung der Aldenhovener Platte II. Rhein. Ausgr. 18 (Köln 1977) 351-417.
[3] S. Hartz, Die Steinartefakte des endmesolithischen Fundplatzes Grube-Rosenhof. Studien an Flintinventaren zur Zeit der Neolithisierung in Schleswig-Holstein und Südskandinavien. Untersuchungen und Materialien zur Steinzeit in Schleswig-Holstein 2 (Neumünster 1999).
[4] H. Lübke, Die steinzeitlichen Fundplätze Bebensee LA 26 und LA 76, Kreis Segeberg. Die Steinartefakte Technologisch-ergologische Studien zum Nordischen Frühneolithikum. Untersuchungen und Materialien zur Steinzeit in Schleswig-Holstein 3 (Neumünster 2000).
[5] B. Auffermann/W. Burkert/J. Hahn/C. Pasda/U. Simon, Ein Merkmalsystem zur Auswertung von Steinartefaktinventaren. Archäologisches Korrespondenzblatt 20, 1990, 259–268.
[6] A. Drafehn, Der mesolithische Fundplatz Teveren 115 A. Unveröffentliche Magisterarbeit (Köln 2004).
[7] B. Gehlen, A Microlith Sequence from Friesack 4, Brandenburg, and the Mesolithic in Germany. In: P. Crombé, M. Van Strydonck, J. Sergant, M. Boudin & M. Bats (eds.), Chronology and evolution within the Mesolithic of North-West Europe: proceedings of an international meeting, Brussels, May 30th-June 1st 2007 (Cambridge 2009) 363-393.
[8] M. Mennenga/A. Behrens/A. Drafehn/M. Hinz/F. Hage/J. P. Brozio/H. Dibbern. AG Steine – Definitionen zum Silexmaterial des Neolithikums in Norddeutschland. Journal Of Neolithic Archaeology 15, 2013. doi:10.12766/jna.2013.03
[9] A. Drafehn. SDS – Systematic, digital collection of data sets of stone artefacts - Supplement K-list, vers. (Classification and denomination of projectiles and inset-blades), list of accordance of the west and central European forms. Journal Of Neolithic Archaeology 16, 2014. doi:10.12766/2014.2

Available data

Information No data loaded.


Map of sites



Exploration tools

You can select the variables that should be displayed on the right.