The semantics of heritage data is a growing area of interest with ontologies such as the CIDOC-CRM providing semantic frameworks and exemplary projects such as STAR and STELLAR demonstrating what can be done using semantic technologies applied to archaeological resources. In the world of the Semantic Web, advances regarding geosemantics have emerged to extend research more fully into the spatio-temporal domain, for example extending the SPARQL standard to produce GeoSPARQL. Importantly, the use of semantic technologies, particularly the structure of RDF, aligns with graph and network based approaches, providing a rich fusion of techniques for geospatial analysis of heritage data expressed in such a manner.
This paper gives an overview of the ongoing G-STAR research project (GeoSemantic Technologies for Archaeological Resources) with reference to broader sectoral links particularly to commercial archaeology. Particular attention is paid to examining the integration of spatial data into the heritage Global Graph and the relationship between Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) and Linked Data, moving beyond notions of ‘location’ as simple nodes, placenames and coordinates towards fuller support for complex geometries and advanced spatial reasoning. Finally, the potential impacts of such research is discussed with particular reference to the current practice of commercial archaeology, access to and publishing of (legacy, big) data, and leveraging network models to better understand and manage change within archaeological information systems.