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Examining DINAA’s Potential to Reframe
Our Archaeological Vocabulary
This series of images demonstrates some of the different
ways that we can use DINAA to develop a broader
understanding of the past. Image 1 shows all positive
responses to a simple ‘mounds’ query and ideally provides
an accurate representation of the distribution of mound,
and/or mound related sites currently in the DINNA archives.
Image 2 shows the distributions and concentrations of
Woodland Period sites within DINNA. Independently both of
these maps are useful, because they help us to understand
inter-state distributions of people based on either culture-
history period, or the presence of an artifact type, whereas
previously such distributions would have required hours to
produce. But when we use these selection and query
abilities together, we can develop more specific maps.
Image 3 shows all of the mound sites returned when the
query is restricted to Woodland Period sites. Image 5
provides an even more specific view, isolating only mound
sites associated with the Late Woodland Period (which can
be compared to Image 4, which displays the distribution of
all Late Woodland sites in the DINAA files). Ultimately, this
gives us a much broader view of the past then when working
solely with specific archaeological cultures.
DINNA CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
IMAGE 2: Current distribution of General Woodland sites
in DINAA
IMAGE 1: Current distribution of all sites returning positive
result from ‘mounds’ query and table of period distributions.
IMAGE 3: Current distribution of Woodland sites returning
positive results in ‘mounds’ query and table of distributions.
IMAGE 5: Current distribution of Late Woodland sites
returning positive results in ‘mounds’ query.
WOODLAND SUBPERIOD SITE COUNT
Early Woodland 99
Middle Woodland 527
Late Woodland 470
Late Woodland / Mississippian 14
Terminal Middle Woodland 1
TOTAL 1111
SITE PERIOD SITE COUNT
Paleoindian 25
Archaic 445
Woodland 2642
Late Prehistoric 733
Protohistoric 6
Prehistoric Undifferentiated 3069
Historic 429
Uncategorized 744
TOTAL 8093
IMAGE 4: Current distribution of Late Woodland sites in
DINAA
OVERVIEW
The goal of the Digital Index of North American Archaeology (DINAA) is to construct a system
by which the separate archaeological site files databases from across North America can
interact and interoperate. Our goal is not replace the current system, but complement it by
providing a service that allows for a broader ‘big picture’ view of the past that is not easily
available otherwise. Basically, we are constructing a system that will help make the files from
Ohio (or any other state) compatible with both those in neighboring Indiana but also Florida.
This is important because most states developed their own archaeological ontologies
independently of each other decades ago, and often there are differences in terminology and
spelling that can make typical queries difficult (ex: Paleoindian vs Paleo-Indian vs Clovis or
Adena vs Middle Woodland).
We accomplish this creating a translational database file for each state’s ontology. These
translational files specify which category in the DINNA Controlled Vocabulary (general
hierarchical culture history based on the CIDOC-CRM ontology) each state culture-history
term best fits into (Vocabulary listed on the bottom left). We also attempt to assign
radiocarbon date ranges from definitive reports and regional syntheses to each
culture/history term, and provide citations for our research through the free and open source
bibliographic web service, Zotero. (The figure to the left illustrates how the layer works.) Once
this basic context, gleaned form the existing literature, is established archaeologists can
begin exploring our understanding of the past across state lines - searching by culture history
period and (eventually) temporal context as well.
In these ways, DINNA allows for an increasingly contextualized understanding of the
archaeological past. This contextualization is important because, archaeological cultures are
almost always defined by lists of traits, and even with decades of advances in archaeological
thought and theory we are still somewhat constrained by artifact typologies and checklists
when determining site affiliation. Despite, our best efforts, these decisions regarding how we
distinguish different groups of archaeological peoples are still very educated guesses –
guesses that affect how we think about past peoples, who they interacted with and the beliefs
they had. As anthropologists, we recognize that past realities were often much more fluid
than our culture history constructs allow.
The authors do not assume to know a better model by which to understand the past, the
criticisms above are simply some well-documented weaknesses with our culture-history
model (Largely inherited from its normative origins). What we believe though, is that by
creating a system through which separate state databases can interoperate, some of these
problems can be addressed. This is because DINAA retains much of the original site file
information, and offers a powerful query tool, that allows scholars to perform searches of this
data as well* (site type, diagnostic artifacts, NRHP status, etc). Using this query function and
selectable culture history periods in the DINAA controlled vocabulary we can begin to
develop broader understandings of the past, DINAA allows us to reframe the archaeological
vocabulary through an increased contextualization.
*NOTE: DINAA does NOT make site locations or other sensitive data about sites available to
the public. We use site centroid data to assign sites to a 20x20km grid. This allows for a
reasonably high resolution graphic (at the national scale) while protecting sensitive
archaeological site data, and provides a more regular visual check of query selections than
provided by irregular county boundaries.
CASE STUDY –MOUND SITES
State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs) each maintain their own independent
archaeological site databases. This can result in states utilizing different language to describe
similar sites, imposing modern political boundaries on our understanding of the past. This
poster examines how archaeological vocabulary is implemented across state lines, and
explores how a supplementary structure - such as the Digital Index of North American
Archaeology (DINAA) – can be used to help interoperate divergent systems. DINAA’s multi-
state approach offers North American archaeology a chance to develop a more standardized
vocabulary that can evolve nimbly with user input, but that interoperates with legacy terms so
that professionals can recognize and query concepts that relate to those in their local
terminologies. Because DINAA has the potential to both ‘translate’ our past work and update
our terminological framework, SHPO databases can be better interoperated across state lines
with derivative benefits in multi-state research. DINAA is an ongoing project that seeks to
organize archaeological data from multiple states within a common online architecture.
Because DINAA is public, it only hosts non-sensitive information, and exists to supplement (not
replace) the current data management systems maintained by the SHPO offices in each state.
ABSTRACT
 Paleoindian
o Clovis
o Folsom
o Early Paleoindian
o Late Paleoindian
 Dalton
o Late Paleoindian / Early
Archaic
o Cumberland
o Pre-Clovis
 Archaic
o Late Archaic
 Bluegrass
o Middle / Late Archaic
o Terminal Late Archaic
o Late Archaic / Early Woodland
o Early Archaic
 Big Sandy
o Middle Archaic
 Woodland
o Early Woodland
 Adena
o Middle Woodland
 Crab Orchard
o Late Woodland
 Albee
 Allson LaMotte
 Brems
o Terminal Middle Woodland
o Late Woodland / Mississippian
 Late Prehistoric
o Mississippian
 Middle Mississippian
• Angel
• Caborn Welborn
 Upper Mississippian
 Early Mississippian
 Late Mississippian
 Protohistoric
 Contact Period
 Historic
o 19th Century
o 20th Century
o 21st Century
o African American
o Delaware
o Euroamerican
o Historic Indian
o Historic Non-Indian
 Prehistoric Undifferentiated
 Uncategorized
o No Data
o Other
o Unknown
o Unknown Native American
DINNA CONTROLLED VOCABULARY†
R. Carl DeMuth1, Kelsey Noack Myers1, Thad Bissett2, David G. Anderson2,
Joshua J. Wells3, Eric C. Kansa4, Sarah W. Kansa5, Stephen Yerka2
1: Indiana University Bloomington
2: University of Tennessee Knoxville
3: Indiana University South Bend
4: Open Context & UC, Berkeley (D-Lab)
5: Alexandria Archive Institute
Further Information
http://ux.opencontext.org/blog/
archaeology-site-data/
Our project is hosted on GitHub you can download it and
contribute to the project by accessing our controlled vocabulary at:
https://github.com/ekansa/oc-ontologies/blob/master/vocabularies/dinaa.owl
I wasn’t able to make it to Austin, but I am
standing by to talk about this poster feel
free to call me at 304.691.0660. OR (if you
have a smart phone handy) we can do a
Google hangout just visit the link below,
scan this QR CODE. (the one to the right),
or invite me to a new hangout (My
username is rcdemuth).
Link: http://goo.gl/x2C52d
VIRTUALLY TALK TO THE LEAD AUTHOR NOW!!!!
R. Carl DeMuth
Graduate Student, IU Bloomington
Department of Anthropology
304.691.0660
rcdemuth@indiana.edu
rcdemuth @rcdemuth rdemuth
Scan this code with your
cell phone to import my
contact Information
†: As of April 2014, in progress.

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DeMuth SAA 2014 Examining DINAA’s Potential To Reframe Our Archaeological Vocabulary

  • 1. Examining DINAA’s Potential to Reframe Our Archaeological Vocabulary This series of images demonstrates some of the different ways that we can use DINAA to develop a broader understanding of the past. Image 1 shows all positive responses to a simple ‘mounds’ query and ideally provides an accurate representation of the distribution of mound, and/or mound related sites currently in the DINNA archives. Image 2 shows the distributions and concentrations of Woodland Period sites within DINNA. Independently both of these maps are useful, because they help us to understand inter-state distributions of people based on either culture- history period, or the presence of an artifact type, whereas previously such distributions would have required hours to produce. But when we use these selection and query abilities together, we can develop more specific maps. Image 3 shows all of the mound sites returned when the query is restricted to Woodland Period sites. Image 5 provides an even more specific view, isolating only mound sites associated with the Late Woodland Period (which can be compared to Image 4, which displays the distribution of all Late Woodland sites in the DINAA files). Ultimately, this gives us a much broader view of the past then when working solely with specific archaeological cultures. DINNA CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK IMAGE 2: Current distribution of General Woodland sites in DINAA IMAGE 1: Current distribution of all sites returning positive result from ‘mounds’ query and table of period distributions. IMAGE 3: Current distribution of Woodland sites returning positive results in ‘mounds’ query and table of distributions. IMAGE 5: Current distribution of Late Woodland sites returning positive results in ‘mounds’ query. WOODLAND SUBPERIOD SITE COUNT Early Woodland 99 Middle Woodland 527 Late Woodland 470 Late Woodland / Mississippian 14 Terminal Middle Woodland 1 TOTAL 1111 SITE PERIOD SITE COUNT Paleoindian 25 Archaic 445 Woodland 2642 Late Prehistoric 733 Protohistoric 6 Prehistoric Undifferentiated 3069 Historic 429 Uncategorized 744 TOTAL 8093 IMAGE 4: Current distribution of Late Woodland sites in DINAA OVERVIEW The goal of the Digital Index of North American Archaeology (DINAA) is to construct a system by which the separate archaeological site files databases from across North America can interact and interoperate. Our goal is not replace the current system, but complement it by providing a service that allows for a broader ‘big picture’ view of the past that is not easily available otherwise. Basically, we are constructing a system that will help make the files from Ohio (or any other state) compatible with both those in neighboring Indiana but also Florida. This is important because most states developed their own archaeological ontologies independently of each other decades ago, and often there are differences in terminology and spelling that can make typical queries difficult (ex: Paleoindian vs Paleo-Indian vs Clovis or Adena vs Middle Woodland). We accomplish this creating a translational database file for each state’s ontology. These translational files specify which category in the DINNA Controlled Vocabulary (general hierarchical culture history based on the CIDOC-CRM ontology) each state culture-history term best fits into (Vocabulary listed on the bottom left). We also attempt to assign radiocarbon date ranges from definitive reports and regional syntheses to each culture/history term, and provide citations for our research through the free and open source bibliographic web service, Zotero. (The figure to the left illustrates how the layer works.) Once this basic context, gleaned form the existing literature, is established archaeologists can begin exploring our understanding of the past across state lines - searching by culture history period and (eventually) temporal context as well. In these ways, DINNA allows for an increasingly contextualized understanding of the archaeological past. This contextualization is important because, archaeological cultures are almost always defined by lists of traits, and even with decades of advances in archaeological thought and theory we are still somewhat constrained by artifact typologies and checklists when determining site affiliation. Despite, our best efforts, these decisions regarding how we distinguish different groups of archaeological peoples are still very educated guesses – guesses that affect how we think about past peoples, who they interacted with and the beliefs they had. As anthropologists, we recognize that past realities were often much more fluid than our culture history constructs allow. The authors do not assume to know a better model by which to understand the past, the criticisms above are simply some well-documented weaknesses with our culture-history model (Largely inherited from its normative origins). What we believe though, is that by creating a system through which separate state databases can interoperate, some of these problems can be addressed. This is because DINAA retains much of the original site file information, and offers a powerful query tool, that allows scholars to perform searches of this data as well* (site type, diagnostic artifacts, NRHP status, etc). Using this query function and selectable culture history periods in the DINAA controlled vocabulary we can begin to develop broader understandings of the past, DINAA allows us to reframe the archaeological vocabulary through an increased contextualization. *NOTE: DINAA does NOT make site locations or other sensitive data about sites available to the public. We use site centroid data to assign sites to a 20x20km grid. This allows for a reasonably high resolution graphic (at the national scale) while protecting sensitive archaeological site data, and provides a more regular visual check of query selections than provided by irregular county boundaries. CASE STUDY –MOUND SITES State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs) each maintain their own independent archaeological site databases. This can result in states utilizing different language to describe similar sites, imposing modern political boundaries on our understanding of the past. This poster examines how archaeological vocabulary is implemented across state lines, and explores how a supplementary structure - such as the Digital Index of North American Archaeology (DINAA) – can be used to help interoperate divergent systems. DINAA’s multi- state approach offers North American archaeology a chance to develop a more standardized vocabulary that can evolve nimbly with user input, but that interoperates with legacy terms so that professionals can recognize and query concepts that relate to those in their local terminologies. Because DINAA has the potential to both ‘translate’ our past work and update our terminological framework, SHPO databases can be better interoperated across state lines with derivative benefits in multi-state research. DINAA is an ongoing project that seeks to organize archaeological data from multiple states within a common online architecture. Because DINAA is public, it only hosts non-sensitive information, and exists to supplement (not replace) the current data management systems maintained by the SHPO offices in each state. ABSTRACT  Paleoindian o Clovis o Folsom o Early Paleoindian o Late Paleoindian  Dalton o Late Paleoindian / Early Archaic o Cumberland o Pre-Clovis  Archaic o Late Archaic  Bluegrass o Middle / Late Archaic o Terminal Late Archaic o Late Archaic / Early Woodland o Early Archaic  Big Sandy o Middle Archaic  Woodland o Early Woodland  Adena o Middle Woodland  Crab Orchard o Late Woodland  Albee  Allson LaMotte  Brems o Terminal Middle Woodland o Late Woodland / Mississippian  Late Prehistoric o Mississippian  Middle Mississippian • Angel • Caborn Welborn  Upper Mississippian  Early Mississippian  Late Mississippian  Protohistoric  Contact Period  Historic o 19th Century o 20th Century o 21st Century o African American o Delaware o Euroamerican o Historic Indian o Historic Non-Indian  Prehistoric Undifferentiated  Uncategorized o No Data o Other o Unknown o Unknown Native American DINNA CONTROLLED VOCABULARY† R. Carl DeMuth1, Kelsey Noack Myers1, Thad Bissett2, David G. Anderson2, Joshua J. Wells3, Eric C. Kansa4, Sarah W. Kansa5, Stephen Yerka2 1: Indiana University Bloomington 2: University of Tennessee Knoxville 3: Indiana University South Bend 4: Open Context & UC, Berkeley (D-Lab) 5: Alexandria Archive Institute Further Information http://ux.opencontext.org/blog/ archaeology-site-data/ Our project is hosted on GitHub you can download it and contribute to the project by accessing our controlled vocabulary at: https://github.com/ekansa/oc-ontologies/blob/master/vocabularies/dinaa.owl I wasn’t able to make it to Austin, but I am standing by to talk about this poster feel free to call me at 304.691.0660. OR (if you have a smart phone handy) we can do a Google hangout just visit the link below, scan this QR CODE. (the one to the right), or invite me to a new hangout (My username is rcdemuth). Link: http://goo.gl/x2C52d VIRTUALLY TALK TO THE LEAD AUTHOR NOW!!!! R. Carl DeMuth Graduate Student, IU Bloomington Department of Anthropology 304.691.0660 rcdemuth@indiana.edu rcdemuth @rcdemuth rdemuth Scan this code with your cell phone to import my contact Information †: As of April 2014, in progress.