Luciana BORDONI / Michela COSTANTINI / Alessandra CURCIO
(ENEA, Rome, Italy)

Keywords: Archaeology, knowledge acquisition, ontology, Protègè

Documentation of archaeological and cultural heritage sites is at the heart of the archaeological process and an important component in cultural heritage research and presentation; it is an essential step without which interpretation and analysis are not possible. It is what makes archaeology and cultural heritage “scientific”. Archaeological knowledge is an important part of human knowledge and it is necessary in many applications, such as knowledge-based systems for archaeology. A formal, clear and declarative description for communicating, sharing and reusing archaeological knowledge among humans and software entities is of crucial importance. Formal ontologies have been viewed as a promising means to tackle this problem. An ontology is an explicit formal declaration of how to represent object concepts and other classes assumed to exist in some area of interest (a domain) and the relationships between them. In this sense an ontology is a specification of a conceptualization. A domain-specific ontology of archaeology is an explicit and formal specification of a shared conceptualization of archaeology, it captures the semantics of archaeological knowledge. In this work we present the use of an ontological approach to modelling and make available archaeological documentation of the Roman City of Ardea. The methodology used is summarized in the following steps: acquisition of the knowledge domain and organization of the ontological model. This ontological model consists of three major parts: archaeological categories, their relationships and axioms. It has been included in Protègè, open source platform developed by Standford Center for Biomedical Informatics Research at School of Medicine of Stanford University. It allows to organize and catalogue information, it gives also the possibility to question the ontology using a query editor. In this paper we will present, on the basis of case study, how ontology-based approach can be used to bring benefits to the archaeological documentation because its true nat