Digital tools- how do they change how we manage heritage and archaeology? Last week I posted the first half of the EAC Heritage Management Symposium and here is the second half of those presentations:
Saving Treasures: The DANS digital archive
DANS, the Dutch national digital research archive, is an institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) http://dans.knaw.nl/. Collaboration between the Dutch Cultural Heritage Agency (RCE) and DANS makes it possible to ensure sustainable archiving and unlocking of digital documentation of cultural heritage.
The e-depot for Dutch archaeology is located at DANS. A wealth of archaeological excavation and exploration data such as maps, field drawings, photographs, tables and publications is digitally accessible via EASY, the online archiving service https://easy.dans.knaw.nl.
Archaeologists deposit their completed research results in EASY to boost their work’s visibility and findability. Agreements to this end have been laid down in the quality standard for Dutch archaeology. A national protocol is used to describe, exchange and deposit data. The description and data of thousands of archaeological research collections can be downloaded. DANS encourages researchers to let their deposited data enter the public domain using the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) licence, a common international standard.
Tree-ring data, coming from dendrochronological research done at archaeological sites, shipwrecks, buildings, furniture, paintings, sculptures and musical instruments are made available by the Digital Collaboratory for Cultural Dendrochronology (DCCD) http://dendro.dans.knaw.nl/.
To increase data visibility to a broad public and to integrate data on a European level, DANS ensures that archaeological and dendrochronological data are included in portals like Europeana and ARIADNE.
DANS operates according to the OAIS model for digital archives and holds the Data Seal of Approval, the internationally recognized quality mark for trusted digital repositories. As a Regular Member of the International Council for Science – World Data System (ICSU-WDS) DANS is certified according to international standards and seen as a trustworthy party in terms of authenticity, integrity, confidentiality and availability of data and services.
Hollander H., 2014. The e-Depot for Dutch Archaeology Archiving and publication of archaeological data. Proceedings of the International Conference on Cultural Heritage and New Technologies (CHNT 18, 2013). Vienna: Stadt Archäologie Wien http://www.chnt.at/chnt-18-proceedings/
Hella Hollander (The Netherlands)
Current state and future visions of virtual research tools in Czech Republic
The Archaeological Map of the Czech Republic (AMCR) project is about to be finished and one chapter of building digital infrastructures in the Czech Republic will be closed. It is a natural occasion for evaluation of the national state-of-the-art in dealing with Digital Culture Heritage, particularly archaeological data. It is the right time to summarize our knowledge using digital tools and to outline the prospects of development for the next years. What are the key points? The AMCR represents both an administrative system of field archaeology management and a kind of “sites and monuments record” for the territory of the Czech Republic. Its fundamental underlying principles are interoperability, standardization, data re-use, crowdsourcing and networking. However, a reasonable question should also be the theoretical background of the process of digitization of the archaeological world. Infrastructures should every time stay on the level of service for the community of researchers and every digital tool has to fulfil real needs in both fields of archaeological theory and practice. On the other hand, the application of this virtual research environment is inseparable from archaeological legislation and institutional management.
David Novák – Martin Kuna – Jan Hasil – Dana Křivánková (Institute of Archaeology CAS, Prague)
ASA: an Open Source WebGIS application for Albania
ASA uses a WebGIS application, based on Open Source, to register its activity. It is open for the public and serves the data through public Web Mapping Services (WMS) to all the stakeholders. It registers all the archaeological survey tracts and the related attributes for each of them such as: is there any archaeological finding and what? This enables getting information about where there is a survey, the area covered and the archaeological results.
The tract data update as frequently as a new development project is planned. Also updates apply when a scientific project or an occasional archaeological finding is reported. The registration of this process actually is done by ASA specialists with all the required digitizing tools offered by WebGIS, including importing tracts from other GIS formats. A brief list of WebGIS functions is as follows:
• Real time surveillance with statuses for each development project until it finishes
• Registration of archaeological tracts and polls and related attributes
• Document/photo attachments for each tract and poll
• Combine all the necessary background information such as orthophoto, topography, satellite images, ownership, protected areas, etc.
• Administration of users and roles and creation of list values
• Easy to use with no deep GIS knowledge
• Enables all the stakeholders to create their tracts with no credentials and save them in local PC
• Forces unified standards for registering the archaeological activity
• Puts the base for creation of the first archaeological map of Albania
ASA intends to continue the development of extending the current WebGIS by enabling stakeholders to register and create data and upload reports directly in the system: ASA will check for the validity and confirm the registration in the final Database. The development will continue with “Construction of documents archive and integration with WebGIS”, which will create the full central archive of spatially related archaeological documentation.
Rudina Zoto (Albania)
New opportunities for access to cultural goods by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports
Effective use of the great new opportunities offered by IT applications requires continuous enrichment of cultural repositories, long-term and sustainable conservation and management, and uninterrupted availability and accessibility to all audiences. At the same time, the variability of uses and users, and the ease of reproduction combined with the inherent difficulties of monitoring and regulation, challenge the preservation of the identity and integrity of the digital cultural content. This can easily be cut off from its meaningful context, which is necessary for its interpretation and understanding. There are also complex legal issues and implications. All these factors are taken into consideration as current projects are carried out and future ones are being planned. For twenty years now, the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports has been actively involved in many projects, contributing to the enrichment of national and European cultural repositories and aggregators.
Currently, under EU funding, two large-scale projects are being carried out. The first is aimed at the digital recording and documentation of ca. 500.000 moveable monuments from the Ministry’s museums and storage facilities. All these objects, many of which have never before been indexed, photographed or studied, are now systematically being identified, photographed, described, catalogued, and then digitally recorded, in order to be included in a new integrated information system. When completed, the new IT platform will allow all departments of the Ministry to centrally and effectively administer, curate, monitor and protect their collections against wear, loss and theft. The platform will also allow the publication and promotion of Greek cultural heritage through the Internet and all kinds of digital applications to various audiences. Similarly, the project for the creation of an Archaeological Cadaster of the archaeological sites and immovable monuments will contribute to the future goal of the formation of an all-inclusive National Archive of Monuments. The latter will provide an accurate, real-time picture about the state and condition of the Country’s whole cultural capital, enabling firmly founded and efficient strategic decisions concerning its preservation, protection and management.
Elena Korka (Greece)
Application of New Digital Technologies in Archaeological Heritage Management in Hungary
Our aim here is to provide a short overview of the efforts of the Archaeolingua Foundation and the Central European University in order to present archaeology to the wider public. First of all, there have been events jointly organized by ALF and CEU: first, the conference and exhibition entitled New Digital Technologies and Hungarian Innovations in Heritage Management in Budapest, February 2015. Four international keynote speakers introduced the latest technologies and recent developments, and the exhibition was a great meeting point for experts and those who were interested in the topic. Various techniques and tools were exhibited here, including multimedia applications, which will be also illustrated in our paper.
Secondly, through the cooperation of Archaeolingua and CEU a Masters course in archaeological heritage started in November. It continues the work of the above mentioned conference in New Digital Technologies. The lecturers are internationally recognized European experts in the field who introduce archaeological and heritage preservation applications of digital technologies according to multifaceted topics. Several Hungarian archaeologists have contributed to both events by presenting their own case studies.
Futhermore, regarding education, a new program was launched at CEU in 2014: the Cultural Heritage Studies program which is an interdisciplinary two-year MA program intended to educate individuals who wish to become heritage experts and practitioners, offering a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches.
As far as publications are concerned, Archeolingua is committed to the dissemination of the domestic results in digital heritage in the form of printed and online applications. Among the latest evidence for this is the ACEAH (Archaeolingua Central European Archaeological Heritage) series jointly published with the Archaeopress Publishers.
Moreover, we would like to emphasize the online magazine called Hungarian Archaeology, which is the only such online journal in this field in Hungary. It reaches a wide audience through the internet and provides recent information and news contributed by experts in archaeology and heritage.
Elizabeth Jerem / József Laszlovszky (Hungary)
On-site presentation of the invisible prehistoric landscapes
The aim of the paper is to demonstrate the possibility of presentation of prehistoric sites in locations where there is neither any preserved construction, nor any relic of the original landscape. Such sites usually meet with indifference both from the public and from institutions involved in preservation of historical monuments. The possibility of creating virtual and augmented reality proved to be a potential tool to grasp the invisible and to describe the disappeared. Using the examples of the Neolithic sites in Bylany near Kutna Hora and Prague Vinor and Bronze Age site in Zalezlice we show a potentially powerful tool for digital heritage management.
Jiri Unger, Petr Kvetina (Insitute of Archaeology of the CAS, Prague, v.v.i., Czech Republic)
3D Icons project, and 3D Icons Ireland
As a partner in the EU co-funded 3D-ICONS project, the Discovery Programme undertook the 3D documentation of some of the most iconic cultural heritage sites in Ireland. This pan-European project aimed to establish a complete pipeline for the production of 3D replicas of archaeological monuments and historic buildings, and to publish the content to Europeana for public access. The list of Irish icons range from wider cultural landscapes to smaller ornately carved stones and includes a wide range of chronological periods: neolithic rock art from 2500 BC to Derry’s 17th Century fortifications.
The primary digitisation methods include airborne laser scanning (ALS), phase-based terrestrial laser scanning (Faro Focus 3D) and close range structured light scanning (Artec EVA). These are now mainstream approaches for surveying historic landscapes, structures and objects, generating precise, high resolution point cloud data, primarily for viewing and interaction in proprietary software applications. The challenge was to convert these complex high volume data sets into textured 3D models, retaining the geometric integrity of the original data. The paper highlights the development of a pipeline to produce a lightweight 3D model which enables the public to interact with a photorealistic model based upon accurate survey and texture data.
3D-ICONS ended in January 2015, but a new website 3dicons.ie was launched to offer continued access to the Irish 3D models and associated content and media generated during the project. The paper will consider the impact of this online content, particularly how it has been used as a teaching aid in secondary schools and how this may be extended in the future. It will also demonstrate how content from the project has been re-modelled to develop an interactive and immersive experience for the great mound at Knowth, a development in partnership with the operators of the Brú na Bóinne visitor centre.
Anthony Corns, Gary Devlin, Aaron Deevy, Robert Shaw
Long term data preservation and re-use: the work of the Archaeology Data Service
There is an urgent need to preserve and integrate existing archaeological research data to enable researchers to use new and powerful technologies. Large numbers of archaeological datasets span different periods, domains and regions; more are continuously created as a result of the increasing use of computer-based recording. They are the accumulated outcome of the research of individuals, teams and institutions, but they form a vast and fragmented corpus and their potential is constrained by difficulties of access and lack of integration. Furthermore, these data are fragile and they will be lost unless they are actively curated. In the UK the Archaeology Data Service (ADS) has taken a lead role in the preservation and dissemination of digital data since 1996. It hosts over 1.3m metadata records, over 35,000 unpublished fieldwork reports, and over 900 data rich archives.
This paper will examine the issues surrounding digital preservation and access, based on 20 year’s experience. It will discuss the challenges faced by ADS over the last 20 years, and how those have been addressed to enable it to become a sustainable trusted digital repository for the sector. Consideration will be given to business models for secure archiving, economic impact, as well as to technological advances. The paper will also highlight the role of the EU-funded e-infrastructure, ARIADNE, which is working to provide integrated access to archaeological data for European researchers. The challenges are global, and are relevant to all those involved in the management of archaeological resources.
Julian Richards (UK )
Archaeology and Geohistory: building a multi-user platform in the Brussels Capital Region
For 5 years now the Brussels-Capital Region has been creating a geohistorical platform. A multitude of ancient maps have been georeferenced and vectorised, and projected together with the information coming from historical documents and various types of (archaeological) archives onto the actual cadaster within the cartography project of the Administration of Town Planning and Housing (www.mybrugis.irisnet.be), the Brussels region’s public cartographic site containing all urbanization information concerning the city. It constitutes the Inventory of the Archaeological Heritage, produced under the form of an Atlas of the Archaeological Potential within the Brussels Region. It is the legal base for the management of the archaeological heritage and the organization of preventive archaeology. The further developments of this web GIS will make the historical and archaeological information easily understandable and accessible to a larger public with the possibility of integrating e.g. research from university units. This process will lead to a larger understanding of the urbanization process of the city.
In addition to this 2D information, experimental 3D modelling was started based on integrated historical, archaeological and cartographical research. The test case presented is the house where the famous renaissance anatomist Andreas Vesalius lived. Today, disappeared from the urban landscape, this method has made it possible to localize it with precision and through the modelling of the images derived from ancient drawings give a better understanding of the architectural composition of the building.
The Brussels Region also holds a complete set of LIDAR images for the whole territory. The exploitation of these data has only just started and is extremely promising as they give extra information not only for the dense Sonian forest around the city but also for the city itself. Implementation of building archaeology data in the LIDAR model gives new perspectives on research on medieval building methods.
Hans Blanchart (Belgium)