Archives de catégorie : CAA2014

CAA-2014-S07: Cesar Gonzalez-Perez & Patricia Martín-Rodilla. Integration of Archaeological Datasets Through the Gradual Refinement of Models

Integration of Archaeological Datasets Through the Gradual Refinement of Models



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

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The problem of integrating disparate archaeological datasets has received a great deal of attention lately. This is a relevant problem, and we do not dispute the advantages of being able to query and process information that is uniformly accessed from a wide array of distinct sources. However we observe that most, if not all, of the approaches to integrate archaeological datasets comprise extremely ad hoc efforts that suffer from one of the following two issues, and sometimes both. The first issue that we have observed is that, in order to integrate different datasets, a new, distinct model capable of catering for all of them is created. This results in the paradox of generating yet one more unique, non-standard view on the data. The second issue that we have observed is that, when carrying out the integration, individual datasets are mapped to a reference model such as CIDOC CRM [1], bridging the large gap that exists between the specific implementation (often at the database level) and the conceptual expression, which is costly and error prone.

In this paper we propose an alternative approach to archaeological dataset integration, which introduces the notion of the gradual refinement of models. In order to integrate a collection of disparate datasets, we propose that a conceptual model of each dataset is first created; these models must be extensions of a given abstract reference model such as CHARM [2], so that they capture the peculiarities of each dataset, but at the same time they share a common conceptual framework. Then, these particular models are examined for similarities, and more abstract models are generalised from those that are the closest. This can be repeated as necessary until, eventually, a hierarchy of models is finally obtained, and a number of views on the data are generated at different levels of abstraction, each one encompassing more datasets the more abstract it is.

The paper will illustrate this approach through the integration of three real datasets: a subset of the SIA+, the 20-year old, half-million object dataset that Incipit CSIC uses as their regular archaeological database; the «Camiño Primitivo» database, a purpose-built store also by Incipit CSIC for the cataloguing of sites and associated ethnographic elements along the Way of St. James in Spain; and the «Town and Country in Roman Essex» dataset offered by the Archaeological Data Service of the University of York, a Roman settlements database from Essex in the UK.

A particular model will be presented for each of the three datasets. Then an abstract particular model will be generalized from the two datasets belonging to Incipit CSIC, since it is assumed that, having been created within the same organisation, they should share a significant number of conceptual commonalities. Integrated querying and information processing will be demonstrated at the top level of abstraction, involving the three datasets, as well as at an intermediate level of abstraction, which involves only the two datasets at Incipit CSIC but provides much richer and more specific semantics.

  • CHARM, the Cultural Heritage Abstract Reference Model:
  • ConML, the conceptual modelling language in which CHARM is expressed:

Cesar Gonzalez-Perez & Patricia Martín-Rodilla
Institute of Heritage Sciences, Spanish National Research Council (Incipit, CSIC)

CAA-2014-S07: Ethan Gruber & Tyler Jo Smith. Linked Open Pottery

Linked Open Pottery

Tyler Jo SMITH


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


Linked open data methodologies have tremendous potential in facilitating data interoperability, aggregation, and analysis. With lessons learned in the development of, a collaborative project dedicated to the definition of numismatic concepts in the semantic web, the author has endeavored to apply these methodologies to the field of Greek pottery. While several thesauri have been published online, not all employ linked data, and none of them currently interact as «five star» linked data, as defined by Berners-Lee. This paper discusses the development of a discipline-specific thesaurus which serves as a bridge between the Getty vocabularies (soon to be published as linked open data), British Museum, and other thesauri, supplemented by URIs from the Pleiades Gazetteer of Ancient Places ( for production places, Virtual International Authority File ( identifiers for people, and DBpedia URIs whenever applicable.

The paper will discuss the challenges in data normalization between vocabularies, the creation of an ontology in terms that pottery specialists understand, employing SKOS, OWL, Dublin Core, etc. when possible, and the development of an architecture for maintaining, editing, and publishing linked open data. This architecture is based primarily on, utilizing XForms for editing linked data in web forms, allowing for sophisticated validation scenarios, SPARQL/Update, and other types of REST interactions.

Only by building a bridge between existing thesauri can large-scale aggregation of pottery data be possible. The paper will conclude with several test-case scenarios, showing quantitative and geographic visualizations made possible by the normalization discussed above: the statistical distribution of pottery shapes by vase painters or production places or the distribution of the vessels created by specific potters over time and space, rendered in the form of maps and timelines.

Ethan Gruber – American Numismatic Society (ANS)
Tyler Jo Smith – McIntire Department of Art. University of Virginia