Emerging digital practices in archaeological research

This summer school is organized by the Digital Curation Unit of the Athena Research Centre between 28 June and 3 July 2015, as part of ARIADNE's Trans National activities. 

For more information about the school see the website: Summer school Athens 2015

Programme

Sunday, 28 June  19:00 - 21:30 Birds-of-a-feather dinner

Master of ceremonies: Dr Agiatis Benardou, Digital Curation Unit, IMIS-Athena Research Centre

A birds-of-a-feather informal discussion session combined with dinner, where participants to the summer school will be invited to introduce briefly themselves, and to present a single point, question or idea from their own experience and work, within the broad theme of emerging digital practices in archaeological research, and archaeological data representation, curation and use in the digital environment.

Training workshop: Digital methods and tools for archaeological data curation

The training workshop is  the first module of the summer school, but it will also be open to further participants interested in the use of digital methods and tools for accessing, representing, visualising and communicating archaeological resources. It is taught by an international faculty, including instructors from the Digital Curation Unit, the University of Oxford and the University of Southampton.

Monday, 29 June 

9:30 - 10:00: Welcome and introductions

10:00 - 13:00: Curating archaeological knowledge digitally: from practice to method

Professor Costis Dallas, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, Department of Communication, Media and Culture, Panteion University & Digital Curation Unit, IMIS – Athena Research Centre

This session introduces the issue of curating archaeological knowledge digitally, in the context of the proliferation of data and resources from legacy fieldwork projects, museum archaeological collections, commercial and community archaeology, and of emerging digital practices of “sheer curation” supporting a process of upstreaming/downstreaming between data representation and interpretation.  It further presents critically a methodological framework for ensuring the effective discovery, appraisal, representation, organization, curation, and use of archaeological information based on information science scholarship and professional education. For this purpose, it introduces the main principles, concepts, methods, use contexts and considerations of a general “discipline of organizing”, supplemented by research-based contributions from information science, and sets them in the context of the archaeological record, and contemporary challenges of data definition, representation and use it entails.  Participants will be expected to contribute to critical discussion and elaboration of appropriate questions, ideas and approaches of managing information digitally in the archaeological context, drawing from their experience in seeking, building, managing, curating and using archaeological information resources in the context of their own research project.

14:00 - 17:00: Semantic modeling of legacy archaeological data

Professor Panos Constantopoulos, Department of Informatics, Athens University of Economics and Business & Digital Curation Unit, IMIS –  Athena Research Centre

Given the complexity, ambiguity, heterogeneity, and frequent lack of integrity and contextual information characterizing legacy archaeological data, archaeologists find formidable challenges as they wish to use them for “re-excavation”, comparative analysis or integrative research. A first step to make such data amenable to further analysis and use as evidence consists in eliciting as much information as possible from the data, and combine it with categorical and middle-range knowledge, as well as with an assessment of salient queries furthering archaeological research. This session addresses the construction of semantic representations of pre-existing archaeological datasets or collections of resources based on an analysis of their information content and context on the one hand, and of salient queries and information “use cases” on the other. These representations are derived from an ontological reference model, the CIDOC CRM (ISO 21127), and usually take the form of XML, RDF or OWL schemas. Participants will be expected to take part in pencil-and-paper domain modeling activities, using a diagramming technique that will be introduced in the session, as well as examples from archaeological legacy resources.

Tuesday, 30 June

9:00 - 12:00 What to do with LiDAR and geophysical field data? A case study

Professor Gary Lock, Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford

This session, based on a case study from the Moel-y-Gaer, Bodfari, Wales, hillfort excavation, addresses the issues related to the use of LiDAR and geophysical survey data for an archaeological research project. It will discuss methods of integration and assess how useful they are in a research-based excavation. This talk will be used to stimulate discussion based on participants own experiences of archaeological field work especially survey and excavation.

13:00 -16:00: Discovering archaeological datasets and resources through registries and repository services

Professor Christos Papatheodorou, Department of Archival and Museum Studies, Ionian University & Digital Curation Unit, IMIS – Athena Research Centre

This session introduces the problem of data discovery in archaeology, as archaeological research seeks increasingly to leverage the potential benefits of data integration and linking across heterogeneous collections. After a generic introduction to these problems, and to current technologies allowing more effective resource discovery of online research resources, it  presents the ARIADNE registry and the affordances it offers to archaeologists and stewards of archaeological information to appraise, ingest, curate and access information on archaeological datasets, metadata models (schemas), controlled vocabularies and other resources of interest, and introduces the challenges and utility of data management and knowledge enrichment services necessary in order to ensure the usefulness of such an infrastructure. It also introduces the challenges involved in providing access for discovery to archaeological metadata through a variety of data management, knowledge enrichment, geodata and semantic linking services.

Wednesday, 1 July

9:00 - 12:00 Humanizing GIS: new approaches to spatial data representation and interpretation in archaeology

Professor Gary Lock, Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford

Based on an introduction to a theory of spatial thinking in the context of tensions between processual and post-processual understandings of the archaeological landscape, this session focuses on a critical view exploring the potentials of GIS for archaeological representation, visualisation and interpretation. A number of relevant archaeological examples will be presented, to set the stage for a discussion where participants will be called to introduce experiences, questions and ideas addressing the challenges archaeologists face as they seek to employ GIS technologies in the context of contemporary epistemological debates.

13:00 - 16:00: Digital archaeological practice and Virtual Archaeology: putting things in context

Dr Paul Reilly, Department of Archaeology, University of Southampton

This session introduces the background, current capabilities and emerging promise of virtual archaeology technologies as tools for knowledge production and management across the entire value chain of archaeological research, including the potential for novel affordances in archaeological scholarly publication and public communication.

16:00 - 17:00: Archaeology, information and digital curation

Professor Seamus Ross, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto 

The increasing use of sensors, onsite recording devices, digital imaging technologies, databases, GIS and other kinds digital capture and representation technologies is creating a vast digital record of archeological research and rescue which is inherently unstable. This session examines key challenges and approaches to digital curation from the perspective of the increasingly common digitally encoded archaeological record.

Expert forum: Digital futures of archaeological practice 2020-2025 

The expert forum is the second module of the summer school, involving a number of additional experts beyond summer school participants. It builds on the lessons learned from the training workshop, and aims to develop strategic competencies for medium-term planning of digital archaeological research and information management, focusing on participants’ own expertise and research projects.  

Thursday, 2 July

9:00 - 10:30: Introduction

Pondering the future of digital archaeology: a practice viewProfessor Costis Dallas, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, Department of Communication, Media and Culture, Panteion University & Digital Curation Unit, IMIS – Athena Research CentreChallenging digital archaeology: a framework for actionDr Jeremy Huggett, Department of Archaeology, University of GlasgowGrand challenges for digital archaeology: a panorama and synthesisProfessor Gary Lock, Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford

11:00 - 12:45: Virtual archaeology and 3D/immersive technologies

Moderator: Dr Paul Reilly, Department of Archaeology, University of Southampton

13:45 - 15.30: The digital future of archaeological field recording

Moderator: Professor Gary Lock, Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford

16:00 -17:30: Digital research infrastructures and archaeology: present value, future promise

Roundtable discussion

Moderator: Professor Seamus Ross, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto

Dr Agiatis Benardou, Digital Curation Unit, IMIS – Athena Research Centre

Professor Robin Boast, Department of Media Studies, University of AmsterdamDr Guntram Geser, Salzburg Research
Professor Julian Richards, Department of Archaeology, University of York (on Skype)

Friday, July 3

9:00 - 10.45: Curating legacy archaeological data, collections and knowledge

Moderator: Professor Panos Constantopoulos, Department of Informatics, Athens University of Economics and Business & Digital Curation Unit, IMIS – Athena Research Centre

11:15 - 13:00: Open, community and participatory digital archaeology

Moderator: Dr Colleen Morgan, Department of Archaeology, University of York

14:00 - 16:45: Open discussion: digital archaeology 2020-2025

Moderator: Dr Jeremy Huggett, Department of Archaeology, University of Glasgow

16:45 - 17.00: Final remarks

Professor Costis Dallas, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, Department of Communication, Media and Culture, Panteion University & Digital Curation Unit, IMIS – Athena Research Centre