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Places, People, Events and Stuff; building blocks for archaeological information systems
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Presented at CAA 2012 in Southampton

Presented at CAA 2012 in Southampton

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Places, People, Events and Stuff; building blocks for archaeological information systems Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Wessex Archaeology Places, People, Events and Stuff; building blocks for archaeological information systems Concepts and ideas to practical implementationPaul Cripps•Geomatics Manager, Wessex Archaeology•Archaeological Computing Research Group, University of Southamptonhttp://www.wessexarch.co.uk/geomatics Computer Applications & Quantitative Methods in Archaeology. Southampton. March 2012.
  • 2. Wessex Archaeology Overview • Why? – The point of archaeological information modelling • How? – Building on what is out there – Low hanging fruit and all that… – Getting stuck in • Recent experiences @ Wessex Archaeology Image courtesy of Sophia Yip: sophiayip.comhttp://www.wessexarch.co.uk/geomatics Computer Applications & Quantitative Methods in Archaeology. Southampton. March 2012.
  • 3. Wessex Archaeology Why do we need to model…? • Basic database standards/principles for effective data management – Redundancy – Duplication – Normalisation/Denormalisation • Semantic clarity for search/retrieval/analysis – What does ‘Roman’ actually mean…? • Interoperability – Is my ‘Roman’ the same as your ‘Roman’http://www.wessexarch.co.uk/geomatics Computer Applications & Quantitative Methods in Archaeology. Southampton. March 2012.
  • 4. Wessex Archaeology Why do we need to model…? • Problems: • Too often, a perfect view of the world – Basic models do not support richness of data – Do not support change management ie iterative assessment/analysis • Semantically unclear – eg ‘Period’ ascriptions • Also fundamental database issues – Lack of atomicity – Generation and use of IDs and keys eg SMR numbers • Unnecessary/undefined/undocumented complexity – Can lead to inconsistency in use as users are unclear about how to proceedhttp://www.wessexarch.co.uk/geomatics Computer Applications & Quantitative Methods in Archaeology. Southampton. March 2012.
  • 5. Wessex Archaeology Why do we need to model…? • Aims: • Information Systems that appropriately represent the archaeological record & support its maintenance – Variable in quality – Provenance – Presence/Absence; knowing the unknowns • Support & enhance the archaeological process – Inference – Evidence – Multi-vocality • Get away from rudimentary, poorly structured systems – A hindrance not a helphttp://www.wessexarch.co.uk/geomatics Computer Applications & Quantitative Methods in Archaeology. Southampton. March 2012.
  • 6. Wessex Archaeology How do/can we model…? • Standard database driven techniques – Conceptual, Logical, Physical • Entity-Relationship models – Great but can be limited – Easy to implement • Object-Oriented models – Powerful but can be complex – Harder to implement • Object-Relational models – Best of both…? – OO concepts in a relational DBMShttp://www.wessexarch.co.uk/geomatics Computer Applications & Quantitative Methods in Archaeology. Southampton. March 2012.
  • 7. Wessex Archaeology How do/can we model…? • Event driven models • Events in the Present – Any data object is the product – ie archaeologists (people) of an Event doing archaeology – Very useful for describing the • Events in the Past archaeological process – ie past peoples living, • Can reduce everything to a experiencing, interacting with few core elements each other and the world • Typologies, classifications around them; leaving… – A large proportion of what we • Stuff do – ie archaeological remains; • Object Inheritance finds, structures, etc in… – Subtyping • Places – Ensures robust data objects – ie depositional contexts, structures, geographic entities, etchttp://www.wessexarch.co.uk/geomatics Computer Applications & Quantitative Methods in Archaeology. Southampton. March 2012.
  • 8. Wessex Archaeology Is all this really necessary…? • Why not just publish Linked(Open)Data from existing information systems…? – Put it all out there, use will follow – It’ll all come out in the wash – Mashups • It’s really complicated, lot’s of work involved… – Serious investment for limited gain – Why not focus on the low hanging fruit…?http://www.wessexarch.co.uk/geomatics Computer Applications & Quantitative Methods in Archaeology. Southampton. March 2012.
  • 9. Wessex Archaeology Yes, it is really necessary! • The basics: effective data management • Linked(Open)Data works better with good data – Semantic inconsistencies problematic – Great for delivering and sharing data but not a solution in and of itself • Focussing on the low hanging fruit misses bigger potential – Yes, by all means go for it! – But, complex data (eg archaeological excavation data) requires more complex solutions – But, we still need to work towards semantically clear, truly interoperable information systems – Potential for use of techniques such as Natural Langauge Processing, Crowd Sourcing to populate suitable data modelshttp://www.wessexarch.co.uk/geomatics Computer Applications & Quantitative Methods in Archaeology. Southampton. March 2012.
  • 10. Wessex Archaeology Moving forwards • Obviously proceed with easy targets – Leverage eg Google, LinkedData initiatives, etc • But also build on work to date: • CIDOC-CRM – Not aimed at systems design but useful concepts therein – ISO standard • CRM-EH extensions – Extensions to the CIDOC-CRM for archaeological (fieldwork) data – Models big chunk of the archaeological process • Star + Stellar projects – Tools for working with CRM-EH – Broad range of contributors • Ongoing & forthcoming projects – eg KOS representations of thesauri to populate information systemshttp://www.wessexarch.co.uk/geomatics Computer Applications & Quantitative Methods in Archaeology. Southampton. March 2012.
  • 11. Wessex Archaeology Some specifics • Concepts – Subjectivity – Multivocality – Temporality – Uncertainty • Ideas for tackling these areashttp://www.wessexarch.co.uk/geomatics Computer Applications & Quantitative Methods in Archaeology. Southampton. March 2012.
  • 12. Wessex Archaeology Subjectivity & Multivocality • All assertions are the product of an Event – Phasing & Dating – Classification • All assertions are made by a Person – Multiple archaeologists = multiple stories • All assertions based on evidence – Stuff originating from Places • Review & Confidence ascriptions as Events – Explicit inference within the information modelhttp://www.wessexarch.co.uk/geomatics Computer Applications & Quantitative Methods in Archaeology. Southampton. March 2012.
  • 13. Wessex Archaeology Temporality & Uncertainty • Events in the past have • is equal in time to associated time-spans • finishes (is finished by) • Temporal reasoning using • starts (is started by) Allen Operators • occurs during (includes) • Uncertainty about time • overlaps in time with (is can be modelled using overlapped in time by) these operators • meets in time with (is – Phasing & stratigraphy; relative chronology met in time by) – Scientific Dating; absolute • occurs before (occurs chronology after)http://www.wessexarch.co.uk/geomatics Computer Applications & Quantitative Methods in Archaeology. Southampton. March 2012.
  • 14. Wessex Archaeology Experiences from the coal face • Wessex Archaeology currently developing SDI approaches to digital (spatial) data • Based around robust data/process model: Events, People, Places, Stuff • Multivocality, assertion & inference, uncertainty • Publishing/archiving/disseminating as CRM-EH RDF, LinkedData, WMS/ WFS, etc – One project ongoing – Aim: all WA data currently in digital form (= many sites, some of which are massive!) • Potential for external linkages to other fieldwork datasets for analysis – IADB – Intrasis • Potential for linkage to museum collections – MODES • Potential for linkage to HER/SMR webservices – HBSMRhttp://www.wessexarch.co.uk/geomatics Computer Applications & Quantitative Methods in Archaeology. Southampton. March 2012.
  • 15. Wessex Archaeology Thanks! • For more information please contact me: – p.cripps@wessexarch.co.uk – wessexarch.co.uk/geomaticshttp://www.wessexarch.co.uk/geomatics Computer Applications & Quantitative Methods in Archaeology. Southampton. March 2012.