3D and/or archaeological data

Submitted by Isto Huvila on Wed, 11/13/2013 - 10:54

The 18th incarnation of the Conference on Cultural heritage and new technology (CHNT18), earlier in its prehistory known as workshop Archäologie und Computer had several tracks, but somehow it seemed that the two main themes that have been prevailing for the last 15 or so years are still going strong: 3D and data management. In some sense we are still discussing about how to create impressive (both technically and visually) models and representations of archaeological entities and presenting yet another open and "open"  (relational) database solutions for the documentation of archaeological data of which the latter ones tend to be geared either toward heritage management or documentation needs of individual projects or institutions. Apart from ARCHES project and ARIADNE infrastructure related session, there is very little concrete talk about preservation.

Even if there might be some reason to be a bit cynic, the field is progressing. The use of 3D for research purposes, quick capture and processing of data for specific rather than "this might be somehow useful" -purposes, and development of data management for actual (albeit sometimes narrow) needs of researchers and heritage managers are something that wasn't discussed too much for some years ago. Also the whole focus on research infrastructures and the acknowledgement of (at least in principle) the benefits of open and well-documented data is something that is quite laudable even if many obstacles are still on the way to a large scale deployment of interoperable infrastructures. Further, a significant aspect is the interest and initiative of major regional and national authorities on these initiatives instead of individual geeks (as was the case for a decade ago) interested in such metaphysical things as data and information management. The fact is that an infrastructure is not sustainable without a backing of the responsible authorities, either directly as their owners or committed sponsors of broader international and/or community efforts.

The ARKDIS project participated the event with a poster and a presentation by Isto on the aspects of determining documentation and authenticity of archaeological entities on the basis of a study of how archaeologists interpret a ball-point pen as if it would be an archaeological object.