The Amphora Project; an online resource for the study of Roman Amphorae


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The computing aspects of the Amphora project, presented on behalf of the project team (Simon Keay, David Williams, Penny Copeland, Jill Philips, Paul Cripps, Jo Gilham, Graeme Earl and Tony Austin).

The project is online at the Archaeology Data Service:

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The Amphora Project; an online resource for the study of Roman Amphorae

  1. 1. The Amphora Project an online resource for the study of Roman Amphorae Paul Cripps, University of Southampton, School of Humanities; Archaeology.
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>Overview of project </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Team </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aims </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The online resource </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Database </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Image collection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Website </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Live Demonstration! </li></ul>
  3. 3. Project overview <ul><li>AHRC funded major project </li></ul><ul><ul><li>3 year project </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A number of people involved </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Simon Keay (Project Manager) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>David Williams (Senior Research Fellow & Project Supervisor) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Penny Copeland & Jill Philips (photography, illustration, content) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Paul Cripps (database development) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Jo Gilham (website/database development) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Graeme Earl and Tony Austin (various things!) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>External contributors (content) </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Aims and objectives <ul><li>To provide an online introductory resource for the study of Roman amphorae </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Aimed at non-specialist users </li></ul></ul><ul><li>To provide an online reference collection of amphora types and associated information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Written descriptions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Drawings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Photographs </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. The resource <ul><li>Comprises </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A database holding textual data and paths to multimedia objects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A website which provides a comprehensive interface to the database </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Resides with the Archaeology Data Service </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A permanent managed home for digital archaeological resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accessible using standard web browser technology </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. The resource - contents <ul><li>Wealth of information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>217 Amphora Types </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>814 individual published references with 1594 occurrences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1900 images </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Drawings (574) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Hand specimens (366) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Photographs of whole or partial amphorae (498) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Photographs of thin sections (457) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. The database - overview <ul><li>Relational data structure </li></ul><ul><li>Controlled vocabularies where possible </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fabric types </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Diagnostic characteristics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Proper names eg authors </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Designed and loaded with data using Microsoft Access </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Simple and easy to use </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Customised interface for data entry and maintenance </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Migrated to Oracle at ADS </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Enterprise level DBMS capable of supporting many transaction requests from web-server </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. The database - structure <ul><li>Relational data structure </li></ul><ul><ul><li>But influenced by ontological approaches to archaeological information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Particularly the nature of types, typologies and classification </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Core is one self referencing table </li></ul><ul><ul><li>AmphoraTypes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Amphorae can have subtypes and supertypes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recursive relationship rather than enforced artificial heirarchy </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. The database – conceptual ER AmphoraType Is subtype of / is supertype of Photographs Drawings Published References
  10. 10. The database - contents <ul><li>Each amphora type has a number of free-text descriptive attributes created from submitted texts and published sources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Contents of amphora </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Origins and occurrences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fabric </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Distinctive features </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Date range </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Supported by standardised categorical attributes to facilitate structured querying </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Controlled vocabularies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Used by online search facilities </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Images and Image Processing <ul><li>The resource contains many images to support the text </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All presented as rasters for web delivery </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Jpeg </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Drawings created using CorelDraw </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Drawn to scale </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Artistic conventions </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Images and Image Processing <ul><li>Many presented as ‘zoomifyable’ images </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Free Flash based software from </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Works on OSX and Windows using a web browser and a plugin </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>User can zoom in/out and pan around the image </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A desktop application prepares the image by slicing the original image into segments, resampling as needed and storing metadata in an xml file </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. A web-based resource <ul><li>Dynamic interface to the database </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Search facilities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Browse catalogues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Coldfusion </li></ul></ul><ul><li>ADS look and feel </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Common across projects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Easy to use </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Non-linear experience </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Possible to approach resource from any angle </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Catalogue of Fabrics
  15. 15. Catalogue of Amphorae
  16. 16. Amphora pages - main
  17. 17. Amphora pages - images
  18. 18. Amphora pages - fabrics
  19. 19. Published References
  20. 20. Search Tools