Millimeter Card Scanning

During the excavation of Tell en-Nasbeh between 1926 and 1935, Dr. Badè and his staff kept meticulous records of everything they discovered. The preferred method of recording was on “millimeter cards.” These cards measured 5 x 8 inches and were divided into a grid of single millimeter squares. Drawings of and information about every artifact were preserved there. The grid of millimeter squares allowed the draftsmen to change the size of their sketches while keeping an accurate scale to the real size of the artifacts. In this way, the staff had permanent access to information about the excavated material without having to repeatedly handle the artifacts.

The Badè Museum currently has the entire collection of the over 7,000 millimeter cards from the Tell en-Nasbeh expedition. However, given that they were created over 70 years ago, they are becoming artifacts in themselves! Thus, we have digitally scanned each and every card and put them into a searchable database. Now, although the actual paper records will eventually decay, the digital record will remain and preserve the information for generations to come.

The goal for this project is to link each scanned card with a digital image of the artifacts that appear on that card. They will be searchable together so one could find a digital image, a drawing, a find context, and a physical description of every object in the collection. The entire database will be uploaded to the internet for public use. Through this online connection the great collection of artifacts and information that we have here at the Badè Museum will be available to anyone at any time anywhere in the world. Especially helpful for students, this will allow them to use our material for their research without having to travel any distance to do so. Databases like this allow scholars from all over the world to connect and share information with much greater ease, thereby increasing the pace and depth of research and discovery in the field.

Rebecca Hisiger (Badè Museum)