Flora Gröning

(Neanderthal Museum, Mettmann, Germany)

TNT – THE NEANDERTHAL TOOLS is a Specific Targeted Research or Innovation project, which is funded within the 6th Framework Programme of the European Commission. The project aims to improve the access to the cultural heritage of Neanderthals for researchers and the broad public. A primary goal is the creation of NESPOS, an interactive online database containing in the long run all available anthropological and archaeological data related to Neanderthals. Data collection includes the digitisation of Neanderthal fossils and artefacts by techniques like computed tomography and 3D surface scanning as well as the accumulation of additional data like scanned literature, images or tables. Using the powerful Wiki-functionality, the NESPOS users themselves are able to upload data or add their comments to their colleagues’ entries. A sophisticated metadata search will provide an efficient tool for content retrieval. In addition, a software package for 3D and 2D visualisation of digitised finds as well as geographic information about excavation sites is an integrated part of the NESPOS system. Thus, NESPOS is unique by combining advanced content management, collaboration and visualisation features. At present, the prototype is used and validated by the TNT-consortium, which consists of 8 partners from 5 European countries. In 2006 the platform will be opened for the scientific community. Moreover, a popular science web site, the National Geographic ArchChannel, will be set up, in order to present the collected data in an intelligible and appealing way to the broad public.