Advanced Archaeological Training

Organisers: Gerald HIEBEL | Klaus HANKE, Austria | George BRUSEKER, Greece

In particular:

  • Application of new technologies to assess the archaeological record based on historical data (maps, tax returns, inventories, ship wreck lists, etc.) and/or combining historical sources and archaeological data in a geographical information system for recording the history of urban or rural landscapes.
  • Historical data as a basis for checking or validating digital tools applied in archaeology and vice versa.

The ancient mining landscape of Schwaz/Brixlegg in the Tyrol, Austria witnessed mining from prehistoric times to modern times. These activities left distinct physical structures in the mountains south of the Inn river ranging over 50 km. This area documents the history of mining from bronze age copper mining to medieval and modern times silver mining creating a first order cultural landscape. With our training we want to show a workflow how to integrate archaeological, historical and surveying data on a semantic and geoinformation level. The goal is to combine georeferenced geometric information of mining landscape and structures with a semantic representation of the mining structures thus providing knowledge on functionality and periods of usage. For the workshop sample data of the mining landscape will be provided and a hands on tutorial will introduce attendees to the notion of semantic mapping and be linked to an introduction to an overall semantic data transformation and exploitation workflow.

The first challenge in this process is to integrate different information sources coming from surveying, archaeology, geology and history under one conceptual model. We will demonstrate how to use formal ontologies and in particular the CIDOC CRM, an ISO standard for cultural heritage documentation to model research data as well as geometric data. A series of mini exercises will initiate attendees into the process of semantic mapping of real, sample archaeological data structures.

The workshop will further demonstrate how such mappings can be used to transform information sources to a formal representation of the classes and properties of the ontology using semantic web technologies to create a knowledge graph in RDF (Resource Description Framework), a data format that is able to relate logical statements within a network. In the tutorial presentation the steps and potential tools to execute such transformations will be described.

Saved into a triple store, an RDF graph can be queried using the SPARQL query language to create more powerful searches than available through standard database technologies. For the training, sample SPARQL queries have been built to demonstrate how they can be used on a snapshot of mining, settlement and burial sites in the Bronze Age, or the temporal usage of mines in early modern times. The results of the query are loaded into a Geoinformation system and will be visualized together with a high resolution digital elevation model. Queries and results will be detailed in the tutorial.

The format of the training will be a best practice demonstration on sample data of the mining landscape with exercises in conceptual modelling. The sample data (in all stages of their processing) and a detailed description of the workflow will be made available online, with the goal that workshop participants will be able to go through the workflow on their own.