GSTAR @ ASAHRG; engaging domain experts and formulating archaeological research questions

Archaeogeomancy: Digital Heritage Specialists – archaeological geomatics – the majick of spatial data in archaeology – archaeological information systems for the digital age:



The main focus of the GSTAR project is to investigate the use of geosemantic technologies for archaeological research purposes. To this end, a geosemantic resource has been created from a range of sources and the next step is to express real world archaeological research questions in the form of queries which can be actioned on this resource. Whilst I have my own ideas regarding interesting research questions for my study area, in order to engage with the broader research community and draw on their extensive experience and knowledge, I will be taking GSTAR on the road tomorrow, giving an overview of the project to the Avebury and Stonehenge Archaeological and Historical Research Group so as to be able to pick their brains about potential areas of archaeological research which may be interesting and fruitful to explore.

To date, such exploration may well have been hindered by the usual silo based storage of archaeological information compounded by semantic inconsistencies between data sources. Not to mention the lack of spatial integration or integration at different scales of recording. Having a wealth of interoperable data and tools with which to explore and analyse it may just open doors previously locked and barred (or at least firmly jammed shut).

Of course, the primary aim of the project is to investigate the technologies but, being an archaeologist I would like to engage with archaeological discourse in addition to focussing on matters technological. After all, for the technology demonstrators to be successful, they really need to be able to support real world topics rather than just using simple use cases solely to demonstrate some theoretical situations; far too many demonstrators and exemplars are based around simplistic scenarios which obviously work but are far removed from any real world applications. We know already that the technologies underpinning the GSTAR project work ‘in the lab’ but can they be applied successfully in a complex subject domain such as archaeology for complex use cases such as those presented by archaeological research processes?

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