Tag Archives: ontology

CAA2014: Ontologies and standards for improving interoperability of archaeological data: from models towards practical experiences in various contexts

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

CAA2014 banner

CAA2014 banner

Overview:

The session was organised by Anne-Violaine Szabados, Katell Briatte, Maria Emilia Masci, and Christophe Tufféry. Reinhard Foertsch and Sebastian Rahtz chaired the session.

There were a number of highlights. The number of papers referencing the CIDOC CRM demonstrates the impact and uptake of this robust ontology within the cultural heritage sector. With increased uptake and demonstrable use cases, this can only snowball and bring the benefits so many people have discussed over the past ten years and more. Dominic Oldman and Sebastian Rahtz’s paper in particular set the scene here, talking about experiences with the CLAROS and ResearchSpace projects.

Discussion of the PeriodO project was particularly striking. The approach to taken to provide a Linked Data resource of period assertions is a very neat solution to the problem of diverse views of archaeological periods and the inclusion of a spatial component promises to make for an incredibly powerful resource. I look forward to making use of this in my research.

There was significant diversity in the subject matters of presentations, ranging from 3D models to coins to archaeological deposits, features, sites and monuments. It was particularly pleasing to note there is now a significant group of researchers working with ontologies, providing an active community for ideas to be discussed within and ideas mooted and developed. It is a privilege to be a part of this. With groups such as the ARIADNE Linked Data SIG and the CAA Semantic SIG, there are also forums within which we can collaborate and communicate.

Programme:

  1. › The Digital Archaeological Workflow: A Case Study from Sweden  - Marcus Smith, Swedish National Heritage Board 08:55-09:20 (25min)
  2. › Find the balance – Modelling aspects in Archaeological Information Systems  - Frank Schwarzbach, Dresden University of Applied Sciences 09:20-09:45 (25min)
  3. › linkedARC.net: addressing the standards question in archaeological digital data management using Linked Open Data  - Frank Lynam, Trinity College Dublin 09:45-10:10 (25min)
  4. › Dykes of standards supporting polders of data: the practices used in the Netherlands for making archaeological data available and accessible  - Valentijn Gilissen, Data Archiving and Networked Services 10:10-10:35 (25min)
  5. › Integration of Archaeological Datasets Through the Gradual Refinement of Models  - Cesar Gonzalez-Perez, Institute of Heritage Sciences, Spanish National Research Council 10:50-11:15 (25min)
  6. › Building comprehensive management systems for cultural – historical information  - Chryssoula Bekiari, Institute of Computer Science, Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas 11:15-11:40 (25min)
  7. › To Boldly or Bravely Go? Experiences of using Semantic Technologies for Archaeological Resources  - Keith May, English Heritage (& University of South Wales) 11:40-12:05 (25min)
  8. › Aligning the Academy with the Cultural Heritage Sector through the CIDOC CRM and Semantic Web technology.  - Dominic Oldman, British Museum – Sebastian Rahtz, IT Services, University of Oxford 12:05-12:30 (25min)
  9. › Making the links to Portable Antiquities Scheme data  - Daniel Pett, The British Museum, Portable Antiquities Scheme 14:00-14:25 (25min)
  10. › The interoperability of the ArSol database (Soil Archives): reflections and feedbacks experiences on the use of the CIDOC-CRM ontology and the integration of thesauri  - Emeline Le Goff, UMR 7324 CITERES – Olivier Marlet, UMR7324 CITERES 14:25-14:50 (25min)
  11. › Geosemantic Tools for Archaeological Research (GSTAR)  - Paul Cripps, Archaeogeomancy, Hypermedia Research Unit, University of South Wales 14:50-15:15 (25min)
  12. › Linked Open Pottery  - Ethan Gruber, American Numismatic Society – Tyler Jo Smith, University of Virginia 15:15-15:40 (25min)
  13. › Uncertainty handling for ancient coinage  - Karsten Tolle, Databases and Information Systems 15:40-16:05 (25min)
  14. › Some Issues on LOD in Cultural Heritage: the Case of Historical Place Names  - Oreste Signore, CNR-ISTI 16:20-16:45 (25min)
  15. › Periods, Organized (PeriodO): a Linked Data gazetteer to bridge the gap between concept and usage in archaeological periodization  - Adam Rabinowitz, The University of Texas at Austin 16:45-17:10 (25min)
  16. › A metadata schema for cultural heritage documentation data retrieval through publication- Using STARC metadata schema to handle 3D Cultural Heritage Documentation (The case of recording sites in Israel)  - Yiakoupi Kyriaki, The Cyprus Institute 17:10-17:35 (25min)
  17. › An Ontology for 3D Visualization in Cultural Heritage  - Valeria Vitale, King’s College London, Department of Digital Humanities 17:35-18:00 (25min)
  18. › Poster Session & Conclusion  - Anne-Violaine Szabados, UMR 7041, LIMC – Katell Briatte, DGP – DSIP – Maria Emilia Masci, Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa – Christophe Tufféry, Institut National de Recherches Archéologiques Préventives, Cités, Territoires, Environnement et Sociétés 18:00-18:20 (20min)

 

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GSTAR @ CAA2014

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

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

On Thursday 24th April, I gave a presentation on my PhD research project (GSTAR) to the 2014 Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology conference, Paris, France. The presentation formed part of the session S07 Ontologies and standards for improving interoperability of archaeological data: from models towards practical experiences in various contexts organised by Anne-Violaine Szabados, Katell Briatte, Maria Emilia Masci, and Christophe Tufféry. Reinhard Foertsch and Sebastian Rahtz chaired the session.

Some notes on the session can be found here.

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

The abstract describes the talk, which covered work to date in the first year of the project:

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.

The presentation is available on Slideshare:

The presentation also prompted some positive comments on Twitter, which was lovely:

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GSTAR: investigation of methods for working with geosemantic data, integrating geospatial data with semantic data

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

Mapping rubble by Brian Hoffman

Mapping rubble by Brian Hoffman

The first investigation in the GeoSemantic Technologies for Archaeological Research (GSTAR) research project is nearing completion, an assessment of approaches to the integration of geospatial archaeological data into a semantic framework to provide geosemantic capabilities.

The investigation draws on archaeological excavation data lodged with the Archaeology Data Service (ADS) and made available as Linked Data (LD) through the ADS’s Linked Data platform. The data relates to the Cobham Golf Course site and was produced by Oxford Archaeology (OA) as part of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) project then turned into a Linked Data resource through the Semantic Technologies Enhancing Links and Linked data for Archaeological Resources (STELLAR) project, undertaken by the Hypermedia Research Unit at the University of South Wales (USW).

Mapping a feature by Wessex Archaeology

Mapping a feature by Wessex Archaeology

The GSTAR literature review identified two strands of integration approaches within published literature. Emerging from the semantic web and Linked Data communities, an approach involving the direct inclusion of geospatial data within semantic resources, leveraging World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards for Resource Description Framework (RDF) and Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards for Well Known Text (WKT, part of the Simple Features specification) and GeoSPARQL. Emerging from the Geographic Information Science (GISc) community, approaches involving the use of Web Feature Services (WFS) within broader Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDI) running in parallel and linked to to semantic resources.

This initial GSTAR investigation looked at both these strands with a view to assessing suitable modes for subsequent use in the next phases of the GSTAR project. A WISSKI installation has also been setup to allow for the minting of any additional URIs needed.

GeoSPARQL route

This involved creating geosemantic data aligned with the CRM-EH extension to the CIDOC CRM ontology, stored within the Oracle Spatial & Graph platform and accessed via GeoSPARQL using an Oracle WebLogic web server and the Jena Framework.

[code language="xml"]
<owl:Class rdf:about="http://purl.org/crmeh#EHE0022_ContextDepiction">
<rdfs:isDefinedBy rdf:resource="http://purl.org/crmeh#CRMEH"/>
<rdfs:subClassOf rdf:resource="http://erlangen-crm.org/110404/E47_Spatial_Coordinates"/>
<rdfs:label>Context Depiction</rdfs:label>
<rdfs:comment>
The Spatial co-ordinates of a Context, defining the actual spatial extent of the context. Usually recorded at the time of excavation or other investigative work
</rdfs:comment>
</owl:Class>
[/code]
The OWL definition of the EHE0022 class used to describe depictions

Further triples were also added to describe the depiction using the GeoSPARQL ogc:hasGeometry and ogc:asWKT properties.

[code language="xml"]
<owl:ObjectProperty rdf:about="#hasGeometry">
<rdfs:isDefinedBy rdf:resource=""/>
<rdfs:isDefinedBy rdf:resource="http://www.opengis.net/spec/geosparql/1.0"/>
<skos:prefLabel xml:lang="en">hasGeometry</skos:prefLabel>
<dc:date rdf:datatype="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema#date">2011-06-16</dc:date>
<dc:contributor>Matthew Perry</dc:contributor>
<dc:description xml:lang="en">
A spatial representation for a given feature.
</dc:description>
<rdfs:range rdf:resource="#Geometry"/>
<rdfs:comment xml:lang="en">
A spatial representation for a given feature.
</rdfs:comment>
<rdfs:domain rdf:resource="#Feature"/>
<rdfs:label xml:lang="en">hasGeometry</rdfs:label>
<dc:creator>OGC GeoSPARQL 1.0 Standard Working Group</dc:creator>
<skos:definition xml:lang="en">
A spatial representation for a given feature.
</skos:definition>
</owl:ObjectProperty>
[/code]

The OWL definition of the hasGeometry property

GIS Server route

A second approach used the same base platform and data but accessed the geospatial component via WFS provided by GeoServer, drawing on the Oracle database.

Next steps

The results of this stage and the GSTAR project in general will be presented at the Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA) conference to be held in Paris, France during April 2014.

Thanks are due to the University of South Wales for funding the GSTAR project and to the people and organisations responsible for the tools, technologies and data being used. Also my PhD supervisor (Prof. Douglas Tudhope; USW), advisors (Dr Mark Ware and Dr Alex Lohfink: USW) and fellow researchers Ceri Binding (USW), Dr Andreas Vlachidis (USW) and Michael Charno (ADS) for their input.

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Some detailed modelling – archaeological excavation data

Pottery

Pottery

As part of my PhD research, the GSTAR project, I’ve been doing some more detailed work data modelling using the CRM-EH extensions to the CIDOC CRM, looking specifically at the concepts of ‘context’ aka ‘stratigraphic unit’ and how to model stratigraphy and context specialisms and relationships. Also the related processes by which objects become deposited in archaeological contexts and are subsequently found.

I will hopefully be publishing this work more fully in due course but for now here is a taster of some of the preliminary results.

This is very much open for discussion so any comments gratefully received.

Contexts and Stratigraphy: Positive and Negative Stratigraphic Units and related Events

The context is the fundamental unit of recording in many archaeological recording systems. We can think of archaeological contexts, representing discreet stratigraphic units, as being of two basic classes: Positive and Negative.

Positive Stratigraphic Units describe layers and deposits, ie the result of some material being deposited in a place whilst Negative Stratigraphic Units represent cuts, ie the result of some material being removed from a place.

Contexts and Specialisms

Contexts and Specialisms

Stratigraphy can be seen as the relative sequence of events resulting in these changes to archaeological deposits. A shortcut is used here for stratigraphically above/below (more accurately stratigraphically before/after) to provide a short chain representing this much longer sequence of events and event relationships.

Contexts and Stratigraphy

Contexts and Stratigraphy

Context Types and Relationships

All types of contexts have physical relationships with other contexts. The types of relationships depends on the type of context. Properties inherited from parent classes likewise.

Contexts can all be seen as subclasses of an overarching concept, the stratigraphic unit. These subclasses are generally represented in recording systems using different context sheets each holding common properties such as UIDs and classifications and also type specific properties such as physical relationships. Subtypes include masonry, timber and skeletons.

Context Relationships

Context Relationships

Finds deposition

Finds can be seen as ending up in archaeological deposits through some move event which could be a deliberate action or otherwise (eg an accidental loss). This forms one of the chain of events relating to objects beginning with their creation and initial use and/or display and eventually continuing beyond their rediscovery into the display and changes of custody in the world of museums and collections.

Finds Deposition

Finds Deposition

In addition to the act of discovery, however that may occur, a whole sequence of events then results in assignment of identifiers and classification using typologies.

Find discovery

Find discovery