CAA – presentations

Anxiety discourse by Jeremy Huggett.

Anxiety discourse by Jeremy Huggett.

Well, conference over, dust settled, time for some reflection. Overall, another rip-roaring success with some really interesting talks and a thoroughly entertaining plenary from Jeremy Huggett (as blogged by Orla Murphy). Social media was everywhere this year and whilst there is still room for imrovement in how such channels are integrated into the conference as a whole, this years organising committee have certainly set the bar high for Perth next year.

A fuller review of the sessions I was involved in is forthcoming, but in the meantime, my talks are all now online on Slideshare and presented below.

Turns out that one drawback of Twitter is that tweets are only indexed for a short period of time so now, having waited a while to begin writing up, it is no longer possible to search for content by the hashtags used in the sessions; makes compiling content based on this channel rather awkward… The organisers have archived the lot, I believe, so all will be resolved when that archive is made publically accessible but for now, I can only easily find my content and content I retweeted/favourited. There are however a growing list of other write-ups and reviews here on the CAA conference website.

Places, People, Events and Stuff; building blocks for archaeological information systems

Session: Archaeological Information Modelling

Archaeological information is by its very nature complex and uncertain. Typically, databases (when used) are used to record a ‘perfect’ and simplified version of the available archaeological information; there is little room for multivocality, uncertainty is reduced to a value qualifier and fundamental concepts are semantically indistinct. It is time for archaeological information systems to move forward with respect to the core concepts of subjectivity, multivocality, temporality and uncertainty.

There have been significant works in the last decade attempting to tackle some of these issues. This paper will focus on the specific concepts of subjectivity, multivocality, temporality and uncertainty and will examine how these concepts can successfully be modelled and made explicit within archaeological information systems, such theoretical constructs being independent of any particular modelling language or structure or implementation platform.

Keywords: data modelling; CIDOC-CRM; ontology; UML; theory; semantics


SDI: A perspective from a UK archaeological unit

Session: Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDIs) in archaeology and cultural heritage: achievements, problems and perspectives

As one of the largest archaeological units in the UK, Wessex Archaeology create and use a significant amount of digital data. As identified in the session abstract, much of this data has a spatial component. In order to make best use of this data, WA are currently implementing a Spatial Data Infrastructure to underpin much of our work and business processes. This paper presents this SDI as designed, the archaeological processes supported, how it works currently and it will work as modules are added, and how it draws upon and will ultimately provide information to external agencies.

The paper will cover the theoretical and practical aspects of design and implementation with emphasis on requirements, workflow, software and hardware platforms.

Finally the paper will explore some potential avenues for further improving access to information from third parties more generally (APIs, web services, distributed systems, etc), specifically looking at the ways in which SDI principals and technologies could be applied to local Historic Environment Records and the National Monuments Record, Wessex Archaeology being significant consumers of data from such sources.

Keywords: SDI; archaeological unit; HER; SMR excavation; evaluation; survey; desk based assessment; spatial data management

Capturing and working with 3D data in heritage contexts

Session: Three-dimensional archaeology; recording, analysis and visualisation

A range of 3D data capture technologies are becoming more widely used in heritage contexts. Wessex Archaeology now regularly make use of such technologies in a variety of contexts such as Environmental Impact Assessment, archaeological evaluation and Cultural Resource Management. These technologies can be applied to a range of purposes including but not limited to, for example, wide area prospection for new archaeological features, analysis of landscape structure and development, recording of heritage monuments and structures and monitoring of impacts at a site or landscape scale. Such technologies are opening up different approaches to fieldwork and post-fieldwork operations and also opens up a variety of possibilities for data manipulation, analysis and interpretation.

This paper will use case studies based on recent Wessex Archaeology projects to examine how the use of laser, satellite and photographic based techniques can be incorporated and combined into traditional and digital workflows, benefits and drawbacks and how capturing and working with such sources of data changes the ways in which we can record, analyse, interpret and make accessible our heritage. Furthermore, the paper will present some of the latest developments in hardware, software and methodologies available to support such work and examine the underlying principals of using such technologies in heritage contexts with particular reference to the importance and necessity of specialist archaeological input.

Keywords:terrestrial laser scanning; airborne laser scanning; photogrammetry; GNSS; total station theodolite; LiDAR; laser scanning; spatial analysis; GIS