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Vol 1 - Issue 1

Digital Archaeology

List of Articles

Monitoring protocol for the preservation of ancient wooden shipwrecks
Marie-Laure Courboulès, Daniela Peloso, Vincent Dumas

The experimental project of the preservation monitoring of a wreck is part of the program of preservation and restoration of the Departmental Museum of Ancient Arles. From 2014, the museum has dealt with the problems inherent to the preservation of a Roman barge 31 meters long exposed in its galleries. The study of the preservation status and of the deformations of the Roman maritime-fluvial barge Arles-Rhône3 (AR3) demonstrated the scientific necessity of an adapted monitoring tool, as well as of a monitoring protocol, applicable by the restorer/curator’s team of a maritime Museum. Ancient wooden shipwrecks are mainly composed of organic materials (wood, caulking, etc.), and frequently equipped with the metallic components (...). They constitute rare archaeological objects and are frequently of very big size. When exhibited, they are preserved in the halls of museums, and are, consequently, very sensitive to room climate variations. Too often, there is a tendency to give too much attention to the initial restoration, and not consider enough the evolution of objects during the preservation process. Therefore, it is very important to consider the objects in their context and make the most of the preventive conservation. Concerning the content of the proposed monitoring protocol, several aspects of space and time must be considered. Moreover, the team responsible, consisting from scientists from different disciplines, will have to establish the general theoretical framework of the protocol for preservation monitoring.

Documenting a site in the Arctic using 3D, between archaeological research and environmental changes: Kuukpak, Northwest Territories, Canada
Rémi Méreuze, Adam Jarhaus, Pete Dawson, T. Max Friesen

In the Canadian Arctic, as in the whole northern world, recent climate change has greatly affected the
environment. Permafrost thawing, rising of the sea level and increasing erosion have become more destructive every
year. In this sensitive context, the Arctic CHAR project aims to save at best the Inuvialuit heritage in the Mackenzie Delta.
Parallel to the coast mentoring and prospecting, the Kuukpak site is excavated since summer 2014. The excavated
structure, a house mainly composed of wood, is a fragile, wood starting to decay as soon as it is exposed, and complex
task, the frame collapse led to the amalgamation of these structural pieces. Two 3D recording methods were used to
support the excavations operation, laser scanning and photogrammetry. The first, in order to ensure a conservation as
faithfully as possible of this doomed heritage; the second to provide a regular registration of the excavations as they

Perspectives on 3D recording of an archaeological excavation through multiple years: The case of the villa of "Grésil" (Normandy, France)
Rémi Méreuze, Jérôme Spiesser

The Roman villa of "Gresil" (Seine-Maritime) is located inside a forest, the excavations began in 2012. The
state of conservation of the site is exceptional since the place was apparently re-forested at its abandonment. It is,
however, quite difficult to take zenith photos in this peculiar context. In order to work around the difficulty, a protocol of 4D
records of the evolution of the excavation has been set since 2013 and perfected throughout the years.

Study of a structure dedicated to 3D data production and exploration applied to research in archaeology
Jean-Baptiste Barreau, Ronan Gaugne, Gaétan Le Cloirec, Yann Bernard, Valérie Gouranton, Bruno Arnaldi

The West Digital Conservatory of Archaeological Heritage project, a.k.a. WDCAH, is a French research
organization whose aim is to both ensure the preservation of digital archaeological data, and deliver expertise in
production, analysis, visualization and virtual reality exploration techniques. He was created three years ago in the
CReAAH (Research Center for Archaeology, Archeosciences and History). This project is an interdisciplinary project
composed of engineers and researchers in archaeology, computer science, virtual reality and 3D interaction with virtual
environments. Its purpose is to help the scientist in his research work through a wide range of 3D data generation
methods. In addition, through a collaboration with IRISA (Institute of Research in Computer Science and Random
Systems), the WDCAH explored and illustrated the interest of virtual reality at different stages of the archaeologist work:
(i) for scientific analysis and understanding of archaeological contexts, (ii) to validate certain hypotheses, argue and
demonstrate and (iii) to disseminate for educational purposes and scientific mediation. After three years of existence, the WDCAH proposes to take stock of its organization and mode of operation. It appeared that the positioning of the WDCAH
structure, its proximity, adaptability and exchange with archaeologists had an impact on the scientific process as
important as the intrinsic efficiency of 3D imaging tools. The rapid evolution of these tools, both in terms of digitization of
existing and hypothetical modeling involves some difficulties that may have significant scientific and economic impacts for
a discipline that is not always familiar with these technologies and does not necessarily have the financial means to
spend. From the work of the WDCAH, constants have emerged on a broad technical spectrum, from digital storage to
virtual reality interaction through the 3D reconstruction of buildings, ecological environments and human activities. But
these constants also concern methodological choices as the positioning of the archaeologist, 3D engineer, or graphic
designer, funding, possible responses to archaeological issues and participation in the evaluation of cultural heritage.
Based on the experience of WDCAH, we propose to identify and characterize these constants to share with the
community and help archaeologists access to 3D digital archeology.

Data visualisation in archaeology based on graph approach. Operational meeting of ArkeoGIS archaeologists and IndexMed ecologists
Romain David, Loup Bernard, Cyrille Blanpain, Alrick Dias, Jean-Pierre Féral, Sophie Gachet, Julien Lecubin, Christian Surace, Thierry Tatoni

The one thing in common “archaeological”, “biodiversity” or “social systems” studies share is that data
production is both expensive and few automated. Long time series and / or large spatial surveys are difficult to conduct,
since it is necessary to use several observers. The robustness and reproducibility of the observation are also harder to
get and is obviously impossible in archaeological sciences, even if modeling methods are improved.
In a context of multi-source data production, the equivalence of observation systems and the inter-calibration of the
observers become crucial. Multi-disciplinary integrative approaches become necessary to study systems where the output of data, in each discipline, is discontinuous, imprecise and poorly distributed. Yet, all variables (characterization of
economic activities and human installation, productions studies, characteristics of the discovered or reconstituted objects,
biotic or abiotic data, maps of anthropogenic and natural pressures, rendered services and feelings, societal perception...)
of these systems interact over time and at each spatial scale.
After a few years of existence, ArkeoGIS aggregates 67 databases representing over 50 000 objects (sites, analyzes...).
With this standardization of archaeological and paleoenvironmental information, it seemed important to test new data
mining methods, to see whether "related" and complex data can be linked to these archaeological data sets. The link
between aggregated-bases extracts within ArkeoGIS allowed us to set up a cross-requesting and test possibilities in a
prototype developed by the consortium IndexMed. This prototype, open source, allows the establishment of links between
objects from different databases.
The consortium IndexMed aims to identify and to raise the scientific challenges related to data quality and heterogeneity.
The use of graphs allows us to consider data despite their disparity and without prioritization, and improve decision
support using emerging data mining methods (collaborative clustering, machine learning, graphs approaches,
representation knowledge). Adapting these methods in archeology allows us to go beyond the "simple" data aggregation:
ArkeoGIS can therefore also be used to power such tools allowing us to mine our data and metadata.

Linking Spatial-Temporal Points, Connecting Human and Digital Nodes: the ArcheoSITAR Project Framework
Mirella Serlorenzi, Giorgia Leoni, Ilaria Jovine, Andrea De Tommasi

The JIAP 2016 Conference has given the opportunity to the ArcheoSITAR Project workgroup to illustrate to
French and European Colleagues the plans for the new ongoing season of methodological and technological enhancement of the SITAR web collaborative platform, starting from results achieved during the first eight years of
implementation path (2008-2016).
Moving from the former specific paradigm of institutional GIS of the Special Superintendence for the Colosseum and the
Central Archaeological Area of Rome - the territorial institute of the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Tourism, in
charge of the census, protection, study and promotion of the archaeological heritage of Rome, the SITAR web platform is
currently evolving towards an advanced and participatory knowledge organization system, for the benefit of both the
scientific and citizen community. Consequently, the project implementation is being undertaken also considering new
research & development approaches to archaeological knowledge management, Public Archaeology, Cultural Commons,
Open and Citizen Science, and Cultural Diversity, Digital Social Innovation, and Responsible Research and Innovation.
In this sense, the ArcheoSITAR Project workgroup is paying a particular attention I) to some interesting trends in users’
accessing on-line georeferenced data and knowledge - still to be better observed in the archaeological domain, to
understand actual users’ informational needs and habits - and II) to requests for a real, ubiquitous and public access to
that knowledge, above all by mean of cooperative tools, such as, among the others, Open and Linked Data applications,
Open Data and Open Access repositories, Digital Libraries and, soon, also Collective Awareness Platforms.
Two fundamental events have characterized the project in terms of evolving concept and primary scopes (scientific
knowledge sharing, archaeological research network building, public engagement, data and knowledge openness and
completeness): firstly, in 2013, the third annual SITAR Conference, that has officially launched the SITAR web platform
on the Italian National Research and Education Network; later, in 2015, the fourth annual SITAR Conference, entitled
Thinking in Network, Thinking of the Network for Research, Safeguard and Promotion of the Cultural Heritage, that has
actually boosted the project towards its advanced mission of developing a new social place of human and professional
interactions, for the archaeological sector and for the complex social and territorial context of Rome.
Considering these milestones achieved during the first period of project implementation, as well as some other stimulating
experiences, such as, among the others, the FP7 European ARIADNE Project and some cooperation actions with
institutes of the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Tourism, the Italian National Research Council, and some Italian
Universities, the SITAR workgroup is currently developing more extended and performing core components for the
platform, such as the new web Archaeological Information System, also by supplying them with cooperative procedures
to allow users to access, use, co-create, share and elaborate public archaeological knowledge and, therefore, to support
them in developing their own collaborative attitude. Altogether, these enhancing features are bringing the ArcheoSITAR
Project from the former, pure archaeological and technological effort of Linking Spatial-Temporal Points, towards the
more persistent, socio-economic perspective of Connecting Human and Digital Nodes, of both the Public Archaeology
and the territory of Rome.

"True holes" and "false errors": the control of the digitization of shapes of flint formations in the Dordogne department by using a GIS.
Christophe Tuffery, David Talec, Jean-Baptiste Caverne, Pascal Tallet, Geneviève Pinçon, Stéphane Konik, Jean-Pierre Platel, Alain Turq, André Morala, Paul Fernandes

In the framework of several collective research projects, a partnership with the Centre National de
Préhistoire in Périgueux has achieved digitization at 1:10 000 scale of all flint formations in Dordogne department. This
work, carried out with ArcGIS and QGis software, using 1:50 000 scale geological maps scanned and georeferenced,
available on BRGM Infoterre web service, enabled the production of a unique database on georesources. Once digitized
and uniformly characterized, flint formations are used to view current georesources and therefore to make hypothesis on
supply strategies and movements of prehistoric populations. Data on flint formations were uploaded on ArcGISOnLine
(AGOL), a mapping web platform of ESRI for sharing securely geo-referenced data. During this step, differences in
geometry arose between original data and data after uploading on AGOL platform. A systematic quality control of
digitization and transformation of files after their transfer to AGOL platform, has appeared necessary to ensure the data
quality for project partners. If this control had not been made, errors of interpretation could have occurred, especially
when using functionalities of spatial analysis with these data, for which the quality of geometry is essential. This
communication aims to highlight importance of quality control of georeferenced data, not only during their initial
digitalization but also throughout their treatments and transfers to various diffusion and sharing platforms.

Perceive the rythm of the Parisian urban tissue evolution in the second half of the XVth century thanks to the study of land transactions: the treatment of dating imprecision intervals.
Léa Hermenault

Land transactions (partition into lots and land regrouping) mentioned in a group of Parisian urban
topography studies lead us to have a better understanding of Parisian buildings movement of rehabilitation after the end
of the One Hundred Years War. Despite its rarity and richness, this group of data has one major disadvantage : its date
isn’t precise. Some statistical methods allows us to manage properly these imprecise dating intervals. We have tested
four different methods : determination of midpoints, use of lowers and uppers interval boundaries, and then the method
which consists on examining for each year the probability of occurrence of each land transaction. If all of these methods
allow us to visualize the same trend, they can’t lead us to understand rythms with the same level of subtlety, and are not
always appropriate. We demonstrate here that the probability of occurrence method is the most relevant. Thanks to this
method, we show how a huge number of lands regrouping take place after the One Hundred Years War, few years before
the recovery of partition into lots, and that the rhythm of these ones isn’t similar between the center and the outskirts of
the city.

Importance of using Geographic Information System for the Middle Palaeolithic sites in Northern France. The example of Caours (Somme, France) and Beauvais (Oise, France).
Gwénaëlle Moreau, Jean-Luc Locht

During the middle Palaeolithic, the northern France was only occupied by Neanderthals groups. However,
successions of glacial and interglacial cycles explain a complex and discontinuous settlement, raising complication in the
study of its dynamics at a regional scale. Therefore, some aspects of Neanderthals behaviour are still mischaracterize: in
most cases, the function of the site and its territorial management over the northern France have to be specified. The
spatial analysis of open air sites from northern France will help us to answer those questions. However, for Middle
Palaeolithic sites, we can’t see systematically on the field the spatial organisation directly, we sometimes need
modelization. Therefore, we started to build a spatial analysis protocol adapted to this site and applied to such sites. The
sites of Caours (Somme, France) and Beauvais (Oise, France) are two open air sites that are exceptionally well
preserved and displaying a large amount of faunal and lithic rests. Both are perfect candidate to apply and test the new
protocol. First results proved that for each site the existence of a spatial organisation as remains concentration zones.
Then, we characterize this areas – number, distribution. Finally, we were able to associate them to human activity areas
like hearths, butchery or knapping areas.

The Linked Open Data Revolution in Numismatics: The examples of nomisma.org and Online Greek Coinage
David Wigg-Wolf, Frédérique Duyrat

The project nomisma.org was initiated by the American Numismatic Society in 2010. The original aim was to
facilitate the online presentation of numismatic concepts employing the methods of the Semantic Web and Linked Open
Data. In this way nomisma.org laid the foundation for the machine-based exchange of data between systems.
Projects that employ the concepts of nomisma.org, such as OCRE and CRRO, can now be used by both coin cabinets
and inventories of archaeological coin finds in order to exchange data, as well as to publish them online. This paper
consists of two parts; in the first part the emphasis is placed on the one hand on a practical illustration of how the data are
linked by nomisma.org in order to show just what is possible at present. But it will also explain how this is achieved and
present the underlying ontology. The experience of nomisma.org provides useful lessons that can be applied productively
to other archaeological material. The second part is devoted to recent developments in Greek numismatics and the
underlying data structure.

Haruspex, Knowledge Management Tool for Unstructured Data
Matthieu Quantin, Benjamin HERVY, Florent Laroche, Jean-Louis Kerouanton

This study presents a method designed to analyse and tap corpus made of unstructured or weakly structured documents. The term structured refers to a computer point of view, and means non-described, non explicitly marked up data. Nowadays, digital (open, or private) corpus creation is a massive trend. More and more data is being scanned, photographed, faithfully transposed, etc. to be analysed (among other uses). Digital data set is the exclusive material, daily handled by the researcher. These sets are often specifically designed for a project, even collected by the researcher himself. This trend needs to be accompanied by analytic tools. Actually physical and digital data have different potentials of analysis. Yet, the researcher in humanities often remains powerless facing the unstructured data he collects: articles, scan of archives, OCR documents, media and their metadata. Deploying a database is often limited to an “excel sheet” or some few SQL tables. Big data and data-mining technologies are restricted to large scale project, for already structured text, with a significant IT support team. This opens the gap between historians, archaeologist, sociologist and the “digital humanities”. This tool, nammed Haruspex, aims at closing this gap. It processes textual data, eventually combined with pictures, written in french or english, and outputs a graph oriented database. This database contains interlinked documents (semantic closeness). As inputs, several formats (pdf, txt, odt, latex …) are supported. The process is ran through 4 steps: 1. Corpus management: create or extract eventual metadata (date, place, tags) for each document; manipulate them: concatenate, split, gather, exclude…2. Semantic indexing of the corpus: keyword extraction (generic but also specific) and classification of these keyword in categories (if possible). 3. Results monitoring by the researcher. 4. Computing the “semantic closeness” between documents from the monitored keywords. First tests of haruspex concern several fields of study: shipyards industrial heritage , history of chemistry in the XXth century, labour history in french colonies and contemporary scientific publications studies. These tests convinced the concerned researchers.