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ArchAIDE kickoff meeting introduction

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Introduction to the project motivations and goals at the kick-off meeting the 14th June 2016 in Pisa

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ArchAIDE kickoff meeting introduction

  1. 1. The vast majority of the finds that come back to light during the archaeological excavations are fragments of pottery …
  2. 2. Dozens of ceramic finds boxes for a few m2 of excavated surface ...
  3. 3. K.C. Chang (Rethinking Archaeology, 1967) says that it is reasonable to estimate that 80 or 90% of the time and energy of an archaeologist it is spent in the classification of excavation finds.
  4. 4. From the Neolithic, pottery was used in a number of daily activities: to lay the table to cook to bottle food to light to carry food
  5. 5. Pottery breaks, but does not deteriorate until disappearing as wood, textiles, food, parchment, papyrus …
  6. 6. Pottery is the index fossil of archaeologists, who use it for: - dating of the archaeological contexts, - understanding the dynamics of production and trade flows, - undestanding social interactions.
  7. 7. Even when reduced to small fragments, the pottery is an extraordinary window open on the life of the peoples of the past. Unfortunately, classification requires complex skills and since it is heavily dependent on human inspection and interpretation it is a very time consuming activity.
  8. 8. Recognize and classify pottery sherds during excavation and post-excavation analysis: from the 3D find to the 2D characterization of shapes
  9. 9. A boundless bibliography, fragmented and incoherent, whose consultation is long and fatiguing also when is available a well furnished library … … but it is not easy to have a well furnished library in a remote corner of the world such as the desert of the Maghreb, the Anatolian plateau, a little island of the Greece …
  10. 10. The digital automation of pottery classification: - would revolutionize archaeological practice, behaviours and expectations, - would meet real user needs and generate economic benefit, reducing time and costs, - would create societal benefits from cultural heritage, improving access and exploitation of the digital cultural heritage in a sustainable way, - would afford a deeper knowledge of the context in which cultural heritage exists and is formed.
  11. 11. ArchAIDE ARCHaeological Automatic Interpretation and Documentation of cEramics aims to support the classification and interpretation work of the archaeologists with innovative computer-based tools, able to provide the user with features for: - the semi-automatic characterization, - matching of each discovered sherd over the huge existing ceramic catalogues.
  12. 12. ArchAIDE will include the design, development and assessment of a new software platform offering applications, tools and services for digital archaeology. This framework - will be designed to provide very easy-to-use interfaces (e.g. touch-based definition of the potsherd profile from a photograph acquired with the mobile device), - will support efficient and powerful algorithms for characterization, search and retrieval of the possible visual/geometrical correspondences over a complex database built from the data provided by classical 2D printed repositories, - will be available through both a mobile application and a desktop version.
  13. 13. Since we are aware of the caution of the discipline in front of the replacement of well-established methods, we plan to support this specific Humanities domain by exploiting what is already available in the Archaeology domain in terms of good practices and representation paradigms. We will investigate both 2D- and 3D-based characterization of shapes for search and interpretation, always trying to be compliant with the pre-existing non-digital methodologies. ArchAIDE approach is driven by archaeologists’s needs.
  14. 14. … we thus plan - to deliver efficient computer-supported tools for drafting the profile of each sherd - to automatically match it with the huge archives provided by available classifications … For instance, profile-based approaches, heavily used in archaeological practice, are an ideal approach to support classification … … as Biometric Identification Systems
  15. 15. The platform will allow to access tools and services able to enhance the analysis of archaeological resources, such as: - open data publication of the pottery classification, - data analysis and data visualisation of spatial distribution of a certain pottery typology.
  16. 16. Summing: ArchAIDE aims to develop: 1. Digital pottery catalogue: moving from paper to digital schematic representation The first contribution of ArchAIDE will be an as-automatic-as-possible procedure to transform the paper catalogues in a digital description, to be used as a data pool for an accurate search and retrieval process. This will entail: - scanning (2D digitization) of the paper catalogue(s); - segmentation and vectorialization of the graphical drawings proposed in those printed catalogues; - linking the graphical representation with the metadata reported in the catalogues.
  17. 17. Summing: ArchAIDE aims to develop: 2. A tool for on-site documentation of pottery sherds The user will be able to take an image of a fragment (using the on-board camera) and will provide only a few input data to the classification system, to characterize the sherd. A record will be created for each sherd, holding both a graphical representation (the image(s) taken), plus the vectorial representation reconstructed from the image(s) and the user input. For the production of the latter semantic graphics data, a simple sketch-based interface will give the possibility to indicate portions or lines on the acquired image (i.e. the internal or external profile, a decorated area) so that the system will be able to categorize and store those vectorial data and use them in the subsequent classification phase.
  18. 18. 3. Semi-automatic classification of pottery sherds (on-site or remotely). Given a sherd record produced by the system (containing a shape-related characterization and some metadata tags), the system will be able to perform a search over the classification knowledge stored in the digital catalogue. The search results could be refined by adding more metadata tags (the system will offer all resources for easy metadata selection, such as ontologies and dictionary of terms). The result of each single classification action will be added to the sherd record, together with the added metadata tags (if any) used by the user in the search & classification action (to keep track of the specific decision process implemented to get to the classification decision).
  19. 19. 4. Automated production of the sherd’s Identity Card In addition to the sherd classification, another time-consuming operation is the production of the findings catalogue. For each sherd (or, at least, for the more important ones) the archaeologist is asked to produce a written record, which usually includes a manual drawing of each profile, or the inclusion of the images depicting the item, and the specification of a number of tags and data. ArchAIDE plan to derive a complete identity card (following consolidated archaeological documentation procedures and practice) by transforming the data we have stored in the sherd record into a formatted electronic document, printable or visual. This will be produced in an automatic manner and will also allow implementing a few functionalities to add any other data or visual assets the archaeologist would like to have in the identity card.
  20. 20. In conclusion:
  21. 21. 5. Data visualisation The system will also generate a knowledge based system for archaeological management, research and knowledge generation. The possibilities of such system open to research actors, institutions and general public would be a dramatic change in the archaeological discipline. Since the comprehension of - the assemblage, namely collection of objects of every single non empty stratum, - the context, namely the relationships among different ceramic classes in the same location, - the relationships between the location of the finding and the productive centre, - the relationships with elements found in different locations is a fundamental operation in pottery analysis, all the information encoded in the pottery identity cards will be shared, visualised and integrated with cultural heritage information from different sources (archaeological repositories, Europeana and so on) in order to produce a really significant impact in the advancement of the discipline.
  22. 22. 6. Open data and reuse As open data best practice requires data be made available and easily accessible for re-use, the data created through ArchAIDE will be preserved and disseminated according to the international data archiving standards set out in the Open Archival Information System (OAIS). The data will be disseminated online, and made freely available for use and re-use. In according with national laws about Cultural Heritage, each record will be licensed with a Creative Common-Attribution-Share Alike license (CC-BY-SA) in order to maintain openness and to permit new ways of exploitation. Therefore, all the sherd records and postsherd’s Identity Cards will become part of a semantic database, in order to be used as new correspondences for classification purposes, and additionally will be preserved in a digital repository to assure long-term preservation and dissemination as open data.
  23. 23. The challenge began. The project will be tested on different pottery classes (with an extensive on-the-field test and assessment experiences), especially having large-scale production and distribution. The archaeologists, mathematicians and IT scientists involved in the project: Università di Pisa - Dipartimento di Civiltà e forme del sapere Cnr - Istituto di Scienza e Tecnologie dell’Informazione University of Tel Aviv - School of Computer Science University of York - Archaeology Data Service Universitat de Barcelona - Fac. de Prehistòria, Història Antiga i Arquelogia Universität zu Köln - Institut für Archäologie Baraka Arqueologos ElementsCentre De Gestió i Difusió De Patrimoni Cultural Inera srl thank you for attention and wait for you at the end of the project, 31 May 2019.

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