Benjamin DUCKE | Claudia BÜHRIG | Felicia MEYNERSEN
(Deutsches Archäologisches Institut (DAI), Berlin, Germany)

Keywords: Palmyra, GIS, iDAI.welt

The UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site of Palmyra, an ancient settlement located in an oasis in the heart of the Syrian desert, has been at the centre of recent media attention. It is an exceptionally well preserved site is a manifest of world history that is second to none in its architectural and historical importance.
The scope and diversity of academic research, surveys and excavations at Palmyra reflect the site’s importance. Archaeologists from Syria and many other nations have worked here for many decades and have produced a wealth of documentation and data. Given the current situation, the long-term archival and dissemination of this data has become a matter of utmost urgency.
Together with many supporters, data donors and academic partners, The German Archaeological Institute (Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, DAI) is coordinating efforts to pool, digitize and archive research data on Palmyra and its immediate environs. The preliminary result of this initiative is a spatial database that contains GIS-based data on topography, architectural remains and excavated features, as well as per-monument, object-based documents and large image series.
The DAI’s online platform, iDAI.welt, plays a key role in our efforts to attract external contributors, structure and archive data for its long-term preservation and open or (depending on needs) restricted access. This open infrastructure offers various components for online data storage and retrieval, such as a gazetteer, a GIS data repository and an object database. It uses open source software and open standards for data formats and protocols, and employs system-wide, unique identifiers to correlate datasets between the various storage backends.
Our poster presents an overview of the technology and current state of work, by the DAI and its partner organisations and researchers, in building a publicly accessible, online database and information system for Palmyra.