Frequently Asked Questions

Who is cyberSW?

cyberSW is a collaborative, interdisciplinary research team working to further our understanding of the pre-Hispanic archaeological record of the US Southwest and Northwest Mexico by synthesizing disparate archaeological datasets, developing novel analytical tools, and engaging scholars, government parties, Indigenous communities, and the public. For more information, see the About page.

What is cyberSW?

In addition to the research team, cyberSW is also a suite of cyberinfrastructure tools, including:

  1. a Neo4j database for managing archaeological data,
  2. a record of archaeological research in the US Southwest and Northwest Mexico,
  3. a set of statistical methods for analyzing archaeological data, and
  4. a web application that allows users to explore data, try out statistical methods, and visualize results.

What can I do with the cyberSW web app?

The cyberSW web app offers loads of functionality.

  1. You can search the data for sites in a particular area (a spatial query) or you can look for sites with particular artifacts or features (an attribute query).
  2. You can explore the data by mapping the spatial distributions of different kinds of material culture, including architecture, ceramics, and obsidian.
  3. You can analyze the data to learn about pre-Hispanic social networks using various measures of similarity between archaeological sites. You can also learn about pre-Hispanic demography using population reconstructions based on the number of living spaces occupied at any one time.
  4. You can visualize the data, particularly their spatial distributions, and export the resulting heat maps.

How do I get access to the web app?

We work hard to make cyberSW infrastructure as accessible as possible, but we do require anyone who wants to use the web app to register first. New users can register by navigating to the Registration page.

Does it cost anything to register?

Nope! Using the cyberSW web app is free to the public.

What kinds of data can I find in the cyberSW database?

The database includes two types of data: spatial data representing the locations of archaeological sites and attribute data regarding the material culture found at each site. Attribute data include, among other things, XRF-sourced obsidian, ceramics, and architectural features.

Can I get site location data?

Laws designed to protect archaeological resources do not allow us to share exact site locations. However, we are able to share geo-masked locations, but the degree of masking varies depending on the user's level access to cyberSW.

What level of access can I get?

We offer two levels of access:

  1. General Public: any user who completes the registration, agrees to our terms of service, and confirms their account (via an email sent to the user) will have access to the cyberSW database via our Explore application. All site and artifact data are available at this tier, but sensitive site locations are masked.
  2. Approved Researcher: contact us to access the database with more-accurate site locations. Note that actual site locations will remain masked for all users, but the degree of error is considerably less for Approved Researchers. Provide a detailed explanation of why you need greater spatial accuracy for your research and we will change your account.

What if I want to use these tools offline?

We are in the process of developing software written in the R programming language, so that researchers can use our analytical tools and apply them to their own data.

How do I cite cyberSW?

We ask that anyone who uses cyberSW for research leading to a publication acknowledge cyberSW using the following citation:

Mills, Barbara, Sudha Ram, Jeffery Clark, Scott Ortman, and Matthew Peeples. (2020). "cyberSW Version 1.0." Archaeology Southwest, Tucson.

BiBTeX Citation:

  title = {{cyberSW} {Version} 1.0},
  journal = {Archaeology Southwest},
  author = {Mills, Barbara J. and Ram, Sudha and Clark, Jeffery J. and Ortman, Scott and Peeples, Matthew A.},
  year = {2020},