Anja MASUR1 / Keith MAY2
(1Austrian Academy of Sciences, Institute for Oriental and European Archaeology, Vienna, Austria / 2English Heritage, Portsmouth, UK)

Keywords: archaeological recording systems, extending ontologies, CIDOC CRM, CRM-EH

Sharing archaeological data across national borders and between previously unconnected systems is a topic of increasing importance. Infrastructures such as ARIADNE (Advanced Research Infrastructure for Archaeological Dataset Networking in Europe) aim to provide services that support sharing of archaeological research data. Ontologies such as the CIDOC CRM and its archaeological extension CRM-EH are appropriate instruments to harmonize different data structures and thereby support data exchange.
Before integrating data by mapping to ontologies it is crucial to establish where the shared meaning of the data lies and to understand the methodology behind the data record. As the largest proportion of archaeological data are derived from excavations or field investigations the initial focus falls on the documentation of these “raw data”. But documentation often varies depending on country-specific guidelines, different excavation methods and technologies, project management requirements, budget, etc. Therefore an analysis of the different recording forms should prove helpful to identify the common meanings of concepts and terms used in archaeological fieldwork.

This presentation will show first results of research based on the collection of excavation report forms and manuals from different countries which cover a range of fieldwork methodologies (e.g. single context recording, box trenches, palaeolithic excavations, etc.). The aim is to analyse and compare the different methodologies, the archaeological concepts involved and the data records, perhaps for the first time on an international level. We want to discuss the challenges of integrating different concepts, terms and vocabularies, often in different languages, and whether problems with integrating such archaeological data could be addressed by additional archaeological extensions to the CIDOC CRM.