About iconicarchive


After long experiences structuring and shaping databases for scientific purposes in the humanities, we came to the conclusion that most database projects are by far too complicated. We decided to keep the database behind our photographic archives as simple as possible. It’s limited to keyword tree and a slim database with minimal informations about the tree structure and the image data.

Nevertheless, it’s suited to organize large quantities of images. The simplicity helps to build up fast, time saving workflows, and – taking advantage of inherent image metadata (Exif, IPTC, XMP) – allows an easy reuse of all image files for other purposes.


We use current web technologies to keep „iconicarchive“ stable and to make it an awesome user experience on both mobile and desktop devices. The code is built around HTML5 for static content and PHP for retrieving and displaying database content. The dynamic possibilites of CSS3 control show/hide elements like the menu or the tree and adjust the content to the screen size. A little Javascript is working in the background for storing the tree status in the web storage and popping up word suggestions in the query field. As database we use the serverless and zero-configuration SQLite with its fast fulltext search engine.

Everything is kept very simple, very open and very powerful! And of course, the entire site is encrypted with SSL.


The „iconicarchive“ is a private project aimed to provide images for research and teaching within a simple and easy-to-use structure. The thematic focus lies on archaeology with three principal thematic sections: archaeological sites, travels and objects within museums. A forth section – still under construction – refers to images with a more personal background.

All sections offer the possibility to search for images by keywords or by browsing a topographic tree. The contents of this website correspond to a personal archive and represent the work of over twenty years. Once the process of digitizing and keywording is finished, the „iconicarchive“ will content over 20’000 images. The main geographical areas are Europe, Near East and Latin America. The „iconicarchive“ is being updated regularely.