Another lovely landscape from the Blue Mountains. CC-BY 2014 FAIMS Project

About the FAIMS Project

The Field Acquired Information Management Systems Project builds tools for digital data collection in the field, and online processing and archiving of the resulting data. Project staff also advise researchers concerning the development of data management strategies that meet the requirements of major grant schemes and improve research outcomes.

The FAIMS project launched in June 2012, funded by the National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources program. FAIMS developed a mobile, offline, multi-user collection platform for structured, free-text, geospatial, and multimedia data. The project also supported enhancements to the Heurist online data refinement and analysis service developed at the University of Sydney, and established an Australian implementation of the Digital Archaeological Record, an online data archive developed by Digital Antiquity (USA).

Current operations are funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage Infrastructure Equipment and Facilities grant. During 2014-2016, FAIMS is supporting field deployments at partner institutions. Experience gained from these deployments is being used to improve the mobile data collection platform.

This project is led by Macquarie University in collaboration with ten Australian and overseas university partners.

The FAIMS Team


Dr Shawn Ross

  • Project Director
  • Associate Professor, Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations, Ancient History Department, Macquarie University
  • Deputy Director, Big History Institute, Macquarie University

Shawn Ross (Ph.D. University of Washington, 2001) is currently an Associate Professor of History and Archaeology and Deputy Director of the Big History Institute at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. A/Prof Rossʼs research interests include the history and archaeology of pre-Classical Greece, oral tradition as history (especially Homer and Hesiod), the archaeology of the Balkans (especially Thrace), Greece in its wider Mediterranean and Balkan context, and the application of information technology to the humanities. Since 2009, the focus of A/Prof Rossʼs work has shifted to fundamental archaeological research in Bulgaria. He is a Research Associate at the American Research Center in Sofia, Bulgaria, and supervises the Tundzha Regional Archaeological Project (, a large-scale archaeological survey and palaeoenvironmental study in central and southeast Bulgaria. Since 2012 A/Prof Ross has directed the Field Acquired Information Management Systems project aimed at developing data capture, management, and archiving resources for archaeologists. He is also involved with archaeology work at the site of Troizen in the Argolid. Previously, A/Prof Ross worked at the University of New South Wales (Sydney, Australia) and William Paterson University (Wayne, New Jersey).

Shawn’s Publications »


Dr Adela Sobotkova

  • Development Coordinator (Macquarie)
  • Research Fellow, Department of Ancient History, Macquarie University

Adela Sobotkova (Ph.D. in Classical Art and Archaeology at the University of Michigan 2012) is currently a Research Fellow at the School of Ancient History, Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. Dr Sobotkova’s research interests include the social complexity of Balkan and Black Sea indigenous communities during late prehistory, the methods of surface survey, and the application of spatial analysis and remote sensing to archaeology. Dr Sobotkova co-supervises the Tundzha Regional Archaeology Project (TRAP), a diachronic landscape archaeology project in Bulgaria, and serves as the Domain Expert for the Field Acquired Information Management Systems (FAIMS) Project.

Adela’s Publications »


Dr Penny Crook

  • Development Coordinator (La Trobe)
  • Research Fellow, School of Historical and European Studies, La Trobe University

Penny Crook is a Research Fellow at the School of Historical and European Studies, La Trobe University. Dr Penny Crook is a historical archaeologist, consultant and is currently the FAIMS Research Fellow in the Archaeology Program at La Trobe University. She specialises in urban assemblage analysis and material-culture studies. She designed two customised relational databases to store archaeological and historical data derived from the ARC Linkage-funded ‘Exploring the Archaeology of the Modern City’ project. She has collaborated with Victorian eResearch Strategic Initiative (VeRSI) and the La Trobe eResearch Office on the Australian Historical Archaeological Database (AHAD), funded by the Australian National Data Service (ANDS). She has published several papers and reports on urban archaeology, consumption studies, artefact cataloguing and database design.

Penny’s Publications »


Dr Brian Ballsun-Stanton

  • Technical Director
  • Research Associate, Department of Ancient History, Macquarie University

Brian Ballsun-Stanton (Ph.D. University of New South Wales, 2012) is currently a Research Associate at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. His research interests include exploring how people interact with and understand the nature of data and an investigation into the mechanics of ludic-narrative interactions in games. He is the Technical Director and Data Architect for the Field Acquired Information Management Systems (FAIMS) Project.

Brian’s Publications


Petra Janouchova

  • Client Manager
  • PhD Student of Ancient History at Charles University in Prague & International Student at Macquarie University

Petra is a epigrapher, which means that she reads Ancient Greek mail (mostly that written on stone). She is writing her PhD in Prague on Graeco-Thracian interaction and cultural exchange (this is an extremely interesting subject concerning SE European history). She has done her Masters in Classical Archaeology and Ancient Greek in Prague. She has come to Australia to work with the FAIMS team and to broaden her horizons. Petra likes an archaeological fieldwork and she enjoys advising other projects how to collect data in a digital form. She has used the FAIMS DIY approach to customize and deploy her own module to collect Greek and Latin inscriptions strewn about in the field as well as modern urban environment.

Petra’s Publications


Christian Nassif-Haynes

  • Junior developer
  • Macquarie University

Christian is finishing his BE in Software Engineering at Macquarie University. He has joined the FAIMS team in 2015 and has built tools to automate and simplify the production of FAIMS modules. Christian continues to develop FAIMS modules, finessing his automation code to accommodate even the most unique client requirements, all the while drinking neon-colored cordial and eating cookies.


Georgia Burnett

  • Researcher
  • Macquarie University

Georgia is a PhD student in Ancient History at Macquarie University. Her PhD explores the space of domain specific ontologies, exploring the potential, and assessing feasibility of standardized vocabularies in archaeology. She is researching the amenability of FAIMS schemata to automated ontology mapping, which, in the long term, should facilitate semantic data interoperability and cross-regional analyses. In short, she is looking at how archaeologists can use programmable tools and inter-disciplinary approaches to better describe and manage their data in order to incentivize sharing and collaboration. In addition to her work with FAIMS, Georgia collaborates with academics and assists them with data cleaning, management, and visualisation.


Raelee Lancaster

  • Research Assistant
  • Macquarie University

Raelee is currently in her last year of Undergraduate degree in a Bachelor of Ancient History and she came to FAIMS as an Indigenous Cadet wanting to learn more about different methods of archaeological research and data collection. Raelee is interested primarily in ancient history and archaeology, especially the Roman Republican era. She also enjoys writing and research, while in her spare time you will often find her in the library or some hipster cafe in Newtown. About her experience with FAIMS Raelee says: “I have really enjoyed the time I’ve spent with FAIMS so far and am excited to learn and grow as my cadetship progresses.”


Ashley Wong

  • Student volunteer at FAIMS
  • High school student

Ashley is a Year 11 student with a deep interest in languages and ancient history. She is currently self-studying Russian and the programming language Python. In her own words: “Volunteering at FAIMS has given me insight into the world of archaeology and has opened doors in the world of technology and programming that I never expected to find.”