slowmotionarchaeology

The Registry of Research Data Repositories (re3data.org) is hosting a database of over 900 data repositories that cover “all academic disciplines.” The Registry is funded by the German Research Foundation and is comprised of all German institutes. However, to be included, the repository must have an English GUI to their website. Suggestions are being solicited for other repositories to be included.

Their schema is published and comments can be added to that schema until Oct. 20, 2014.

The schema treats archaeology oddly as a subject. There is a value tree for Humanities/Ancient Cultures/Prehistory/ and Classical Archaeology. There is also a separate entry for Egyptology and Ancient Near Easter Studies.

The Archaeology Data Service (ADS) and the Digital Archaeological Record (tDAR) get listed under the following:

  • Ancient Cultures
  • Classical Archaeology
  • History
  • Humanities
  • Humanities and Social Sciences

which strikes me as odd since tDAR, for example, is overwhelmingly non-Classical archaeology. Approaching this from an anthropological perspective would have one browsing through the ‘A’s for ‘archaeology’ or ‘anthropology’ and not finding either (anthropology is under E for Evolution-Anthropology). You can search for ‘archaeology’ in the search engine (you need the second ‘a’) and get 10 results, including the two listed above but also

The re3data.org site is supposed to join with another index of repository site Databib, and be controlled by yet a third organization, DataCite, sometime next year.

2014-Digital-Epigraphy-cover

The Oriental Institute has released a new book titled Digital Epigraphy, a manual for the methods that they are using to record items found in their Epigraphic Survey.

During the past several decades the Epigraphic Survey has refined its conventions and recording methodologies to fit with the widely divergent nature of the inscribed surfaces we record and the changing conditions in Egypt that are resulting in the accelerating decay of those inscribed surfaces. For the past two years we have been experimenting with new digital tools, software, and equipment that have allowed us to streamline our recording process while still achieving the highest degree of accuracy, the bottom line of any scientific documentation. It has always been our aim to share these conventions and methodologies with our friends and colleagues, and it is our great pleasure to present the initial results here now. The digital formats in which this manual is made available are particularly appropriate and will be updated and changed regularly, since the manual will always be a work in progress. The possibilities are limitless.

The free volume is available from their website as either a PDF or ePub book.

Much of the volume is a primer on the use of Photoshop for photo manipulation, and Illustrator for the final vector drawings. They cover layer structures, brush selection, curves, manipulating vector paths, pattern creation, and more.

digital_epigraph_epub_p108

Screenshot from p. 108 of Digital Epigraphy

In short: this is essential and the manual that I wish I could write for those creating digital drawings in the field or in the research lab. I plan to make it required reading.

From the ASCSA website:

Regular members of the ASCSA began excavation on April 7 south of the museum and Temple E with the goal to unite the conserved portions of the Frankish area with the ‘plateia’ south of the museum.  This area will be open to the public once the area is consolidated.  ‘Trenches’ were also opened within the Church and north of the church.  Participants in the first of three sessions include Maggie Beeler, Morgan Condell, Hans Hansen, Stephanie Kimmey, Jen Swalec, Sarah Rous, Alex Seufert, Colin Whiting, and Rebecca Worsham.  Ross Brendle is working in the museum with our black figure pottery collection.  Jody Cundy is the site supervisor and Rosana Valente is assisting in the pot sheds.  Google Glass is one exciting addition to the recording system, thanks to Andrew Reinhard, Director of Publications, who has generously lent his unit to us.

Follow the link to see a slideshow.

I am always happy to see more video on site. I am hoping that we hear more about their use of Glass while the season continues.

Kristina Neumann, one of our PhD candidates in the Department of Classics at UC, will be giving a presentation soon on her work with the Google Earth database mentioned here earlier.  She has done amazing things with this database and created a series of KML files that allows her to express the reach of Antioch coinage in a stunning way.

This paper is part of the joint AIA/APA meetings in Chicago happening now. See it in session 5D at 12:30 on Saturday January 4.

In ancient times, much like now, authorities determined which foreign currency was accepted in a community. For Neumann, this made coins an ideal representation of a political relationship among cities. For example, if lots of Antiochene coins were discovered in a neighboring city, it’s likely a political agreement existed between the two governments.

Coins were also a data-rich resource for Neumann. In addition to tracking where the coins were found, she cataloged critical information about a coin — such as when it was minted and under whose authority it was made — that has been derived from the images and inscriptions imprinted on it. Other artifacts, like pottery, were less likely to have such identifiers.

Neumann uses Google Earth to convert the vast information in her coin database into a visual representation of Antioch’s political borders. She analyzes how the software plots which coins were found where and in what quantity across different historic time periods. This way she can follow the transformation of Antioch’s political influence as it was absorbed by the Roman empire.

She has found Antioch’s civic coins were spread farther out than previously theorized, and they were particularly abundant along a known trade route. Neumann can scan centuries of change in seconds with Google Earth to show the overall contraction of Antioch’s political authority but also its continued and evolving influence in selected regions and cities — and eventually its greater integration within the empire.

Google Earth allows Kristina Neumann to track change in Antioch as it was absorbed by the Roman Empire.

Her talk is already getting some news attention, which I have been tracking here.

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