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CAA-2014-S07: Paul Cripps & Douglas Tudhope. Geosemantic Tools for Archaeological Research (GSTAR)

Geosemantic Tools for Archaeological Research (GSTAR)




Presentation held at the CAA2014, session Ontologies and Standards for improving Interoperability of Archaeological Data

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Much work has been undertaken over the past decade relating to the application of semantic approaches to archaeological data resources, notably by English Heritage and the University of South Wales. These two organisations, over the course of a number of projects, developed an archaeological extension to the CIDOC CRM ontology through the Ontological Modelling Project (Cripps & May, 2010), then applied this to a number of archaeological resources through the subsequent STAR project (May, Binding and Tudhope, 2011), implementing tools to facilitate integration of other resources through the STELLAR project (May, Binding, Tudhope, & Jeffrey, 2012), and now, in partnership with the Bespoke HER User Group, RCAHMS, RCAHMW and Wessex Archaeology, are implementing SKOS based vocabularies and associated tools to enable the augmentation of these semantic resources through the SENESCHAL project.

From the outset, it was observed that the spatial component of archaeological data would be a key element, archaeological data being inherently spatial in nature. To date, most current applications of spatial semantics in the heritage sector have focussed on place names and named locations for sites and monuments and object provenances. The GSTAR project aims to extend semantic approaches to archaeological data fully into the geospatial domain and is instead focussing on the detailed spatial data emerging from archaeological excavation and survey work and is investigating approaches for the creation, use, management and dissemination of such spatial data within a geosemantic framework, building on the CIDOC CRM, with particular reference to sharing and integration of disparate resources.

This paper will present work to date in the first year of the GSTAR project. This has been centred on the identification of suitable platforms and methods for the integration of semantic and geospatial data including comparisons of different approaches emerging from the Semantic Web and Geospatial research communities. Testing and prototyping has been accomplished using sample data from the Archaeology Data Service, making use of available geospatial and (geo)semantic tools, both FOSS and commercial.

  • Cripps, P. and K. May 2010. To OO or not to OO? Revelations from Ontological Modelling of an Archaeological Information System, in: Nicolucci, F. and S. Hermon (eds.), Beyond the Artifact. Digital Interpretation of the Past. Proceedings of CAA2004, Prato 13–17 April 2004. Archaeolingua, Budapest, pp. 59-63.
  • May, K., C. Binding and D. Tudhope 2011. A STAR is Born: Some Emerging Semantic Technologies for Archaeological Resources, in: Jerem, E., F. Redő and V. Szeverényi (eds.), On the Road to Reconstructing the Past. Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA). Proceedings of the 36th International Conference. Budapest, April 2-6, 2008. Archeaeolingua, Budapest, pp. 111-116 (CD-ROM 402-408).
  • May, K., C. Binding, D. Tudhope and S. Jeffrey 2012. Semantic Technologies Enhancing Links and Linked Data for Archaeological Resources, in: Zhou, M., I. Romanowska, Z. Wu, P. Xu and P. Verhagen (eds.), Revive the Past. Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA). Proceedings of the 39th International Conference, Beijing, April 12-16.. Pallas Publications, Amsterdam, pp. 261-272.


Paul Cripps – Hypermedia Research Unit, University of South Wales & Archaeogeomancy
Douglas Tudhope – Hypermedia Research Unit, University of South Wales