Sessions, non-collapsing

S02.  From CAD to GIS. Implications of a fundamental change in documenting excavations (Standard)


Axel G. Posluschny, Research Centre of the Keltenwelt am Glauberg
Reiner Göldner, Saxon Archaeological Heritage Office
David Bibby, Regierungspräsidium Stuttgart

Documentation of excavations in recent years has undergone fundamental changes. As digital documentation methods became standard, CAD tools initially were predominantly in use, but in recent years GIS use for basic recording has become more common for a number of reasons:

  • GIS offer database options combined with graphical elements
  • GIS are commonly used to analyse excavation data
  • GIS software is available as FOSS (free and open source software) in a greater variety than CAD software

However, the move from CAD to GIS has a number of implications for documenting, storing and analysing excavation data, including problems with documenting 3D structures, and importantly, changing the philosophy of recording elements in the field.

Various tools offer different approaches: survey2GIS ( uses recorded data from total stations and transfers these into shape files for further use. Tachy2GIS ( on the other hand uses incoming data from total stations to directly “draw” features on an attached computer. The choice for one of these approaches of course also has an impact on the documentation strategy.

The choice of tool also impacts on archiving strategies. There are highly standardized geodata formats (e.g. based on ISO 19125 Simple Features) enabled through GIS, and alternative standards applicable for data derived from CAD.

We invite contributions that tackle the theoretical aspects of digital tools for documenting excavations in general and the change from CAD to GIS in particular. We would also very much welcome contributions that deal with practical aspects of the tools in use, that offer new and exciting solutions or that show case studies, where GIS has been used, solving problems or creating problems. We also welcome contributions that will discuss specific archaeological geodata structures with regard to preservation, archiving and re-use, preferably based on experiences from real life geodata.

S03. Paradata to the people! Documenting documentation and more (Roundtable)


Isto Huvila, Department of ALM, Uppsala University

A key obstacle to using and understanding archaeological legacy data is seldom the lack of general information about the data, but rather that there is not enough contextual knowledge of its origins and earlier use (e.g. Faniel et al., 2018; Kim & Yoon, 2017; Voss, 2012). A lack of proper understanding of how data, models, visualisations and other carriers of archaeological knowledge were developed makes it difficult or impossible to interpret them properly. The issue is accentuated in contemporary digital contexts where documentation needs to be more explicit than ever to ensure that the traces of its making and use become and remain visible and are preserved.

The data that documents the processes relating to data and information in different forms is conventionally refered to as paradata in the literature (e.g. Bentkowska-Kafel et al., 2012; Gant & Reilly, 2017; Huvila, 2017). Although its importance has been acknowledged for a long time, especially in field archaeology, and although the documentation of not only observations but the documentation processes is a common practice and requirement, the systematic capturing, understanding and use of paradata remains in its infancy.

This roundtable session hosted by the CApturing Paradata for documenTing data creation and Use for the REsearch of the future (CAPTURE) project ( invites short lightning talks describing evidence-based and theoretical work, positions, statements and perspectives relating to archaeological paradata, i.e. data about processes of, for instance, creating, using, manipulating and managing archaeological data and information in different forms (e.g. digital measurement and observation data, spatial data, visualisations, texts physical collections and features). This can include data about the making of 3D visualisations or digital or non-digital paradata about the provenance of digital or non-digital field observations. The contributions should focus on identifying theoretical and practical opportunities, challenges and gaps in how paradata is understood at the moment, how these issues should be solved and what aspects of paradata-related practices require more research.


Bentkowska-Kafel, A., Denard, H., & Baker, D. (Eds.) (2012). Paradata and transparency in virtual heritage. Farnham: Ashgate.

Faniel, I. M., Austin, A., Kansa, E., Kansa, S. W., France, P., Jacobs, J., Boytner, R., & Yakel, E. (2018). Beyond the archive: Bridging data creation and reuse in archaeology. Advances in Archaeological Practice, 6(2), 105–116.

Gant, S., & Reilly, P. (2017). Different expressions of the same mode: a recent dialogue between archaeological and contemporary drawing practices. Journal of Visual Art Practice, (pp. 1–21).

Huvila, I. (2017). The subtle difference between knowledge and 3d knowledge. Hamburger Journal für Kulturanthropologie, 7(1), 99–111.

Kim, Y., & Yoon, A. (2017). Scientists’ data reuse behaviors: A multilevel analysis. JASIST, 68(12), 2709–2719.

Voss, J. (2012). Radically Open Cultural Heritage Data on the Web. In Proceedings of the Museums and the Web 2012, April 11-14, San Diego.

S04.  Archaeological practices and knowledge work in the digital environment (Roundtable)


Isto Huvila, Department of ALM, Uppsala University
Costis Dallas, University of Toronto
Suzie Thomas, University of Helsinki
Eleftheria Paliou, University of Cologne
Rimvydas Laužika, University of Vilnius

At the time of rapid development of novel computer applications for archaeology, there is an increasing need for critical understanding of their implications to the practices of knowledge production in and about archaeology (cf. Lambourne et al., 2014; Selhofer & Geser, 2015; Geser & Selhofer, 2014; Geser & Niccolucci, 2016; Huvila & Huggett, 2018). In-depth insights into how digital tools and methods impact the making and use of archaeological knowledge are a key to a better understanding of how the use of digital technologies influence archaeological work and thinking, and to being able to steer the use of computer applications to improve its quality. There is an emerging body of research ranging from studying field practices (e.g. Dell’Unto et al., 2017) to collections-based research (e.g. Khazraee, 2019; Faniel et al., 2018), and use of digital archaeological tools and information in different branches of society (e.g. Laužikas et al., 2018; Foka et al., 2017; Huvila, 2017) in the context of individual research projects, national initiatives, as well as EU funded projects and frameworks such as CARARE, Europeana Cloud, ARIADNEplus, ARKWORK, SEADDA and DARIAH, and other multi-national efforts such as the work of the European Archaeological Council.

The session organised under the auspices of the COST Action Archaeological practices and knowledge work in the digital environment (ARKWORK) invites paper proposals on evidence-based, theoretical and reflective studies of digital practices and knowledge work in archaeology relating but not limited to:

  • how material cultural heritage is being digitised, preserved and made available;
  • how archaeological remains are documented;
  • how the documentation and archaeological collections are used to create knowledge on archaeology and the human past; and
  • how the knowledge of the broad range of stakeholders from land development and academia to tourism and education do their work from complementary disciplinary perspectives.

The session is open for proposals from archaeologists working with digital tools reflecting their use of technologies, developers of digital applications conducting user studies and evaluations and scholars from fields, including but not limited to, museum studies, sociology, ethnography, information studies, science and technology studies and beyond, conducting evidence-based studies of digital archaeological practices and knowledge work. The focus of presentations is expected to be in elucidating and explicating how the use of digital technologies has changed or is changing how archaeology is achieved (i.e. practices) and its consequences to archaeological knowledge work, rather than on describing the use or features of tools, or reporting the results of an archaeological survey.


Dell’Unto, N., Landeschi, G., Apel, J., & Poggi, G. (2017). 4D recording at the trowel’s edge: Using three-dimensional simulation platforms to support field interpretation. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 12, 632–645.

Faniel, I. M., Austin, A., Kansa, E., Kansa, S. W., France, P., Jacobs, J., Boytner, R., & Yakel, E. (2018). Beyond the archive: Bridging data creation and reuse in archaeology. Advances in Archaeological Practice, 6(2), 105–116.

Foka, A., Katerelou, A., Kelaidis, K., & Xekalaki, G. (2017). Digital archaeology? greece on focustools, methodologies and trends. Archaeology & Arts.

Geser, G., & Niccolucci, F. (2016). D2.4: Final Innovation Agenda and Action Plan. ARIADNE.

Geser, G., & Selhofer, H. (2014). D2.1 First Report on Userś Needs. Prato: ARIADNE.

Huvila, I. (2017). Land developers and archaeological information. Open Information Science, 1(1), 71–90.

Huvila, I., & Huggett, J. (2018). Archaeological practices, knowledge work and digitalisation. Journal of Computer Applications in Archaeology, 1(1), 88–100.

Khazraee, E. (2019). Assembling narratives: Tensions in collaborative construction of knowledge. JASIST, 70(4), 325–337.

Lambourne, G., Stoakes, L., Cassar, M., Balen, K. V., Rhisiart, M., Thomas, M., Miller, R., & Burnell, L. (2014). Strategic Research Agenda. Tech. rep., JPI Cultural Heritage and Global Change, Rome.

Laužikas, R., Dallas, C., Thomas, S., Kelpšienė, I., Huvila, I., Luengo, P., Nobre, H., Toumpouri, M., & Vaitkevičius, V. (2018). Archaeological knowledge production and global communities: Boundaries and structure of the field. Open Archaeology, 4(1), 350–364.

Selhofer, H., & Geser, G. (2015). D2.2 Second Report on Users’ Needs. Salzburg: ARIADNE.

S05.  Machine learning in archaeological research; challenges and opportunities (Standard)


Alex Brandsen, Leiden University
Iris C. Kramer, Southampton University
Wouter B. Verschoof-van der Vaart, Leiden University
Hector A. Orengo, Catalan Institute of Classical Archaeology
Arnau Garcia-Molsosa, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge
Francesc C. Conesa, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge

After the success of last year’s session on Machine Learning (ML) and the fruitful discussion that followed, it became apparent that there is plenty of interest in the application of these methods in archaeology. This interest might be partly ascribed to advances made in Deep Learning – in particular Convolution Neural Networks – across various disciplines. Applications using these methods now show high performance and in some cases exceed humans on challenging tasks ranging from computer vision to natural language processing. In digital archaeology we have seen and foresee applications of these techniques including automated object detection in remote sensing data, artefact image classification, use-wear analysis, text mining, paleography, predictive modelling, 3D shape analysis and recognition, and typology development.

The diversity of AI-based procedures, methods and archaeological applications results in a certain lack of standardised approaches and well-defined workflows. This session aims to: 1) offer a space for comparing methods, algorithms, code, APIs and workflows; 2) discuss the problems related to their application and; 3) offer insights into best practices including sources of error and validation methods. The ultimate aim is that the combination of approaches and the ensuing discussion will help to further build an integrated community of practitioners.

We specifically invite authors to submit papers relating to the creation of (annotated) datasets & the sharing of developed methods, data (or data structures) and code, but also welcome papers on the more broad subject of ML, relating to the following themes:

  • Using small, incomplete and noisy datasets for ML;
  • Choosing and tuning specific ML techniques;
  • Evaluation of ML and conventions for performance metrics;
  • Interpretation and validation of ML results;
  • Collaboration and insights from ML fields outside of archaeology;
  • Ethics of ML in archaeology;
  • Education of ML in archaeology;
  • Case studies on the application of ML to the analysis of texts, artistic representations, bioarchaeological remains, material culture and archaeological sites. Combinations of such approaches will be particularly welcome.

For practical approaches we would encourage a critical dialogue to identify individual and shared problems, opportunities, and solutions. We invite authors to provide a thorough explanation and evaluation on their approach.


Barceló, J.A. 1995a. Back-propagation algorithms to compute similarity relationships among archaeological artifacts. In J. Wilcock & K. Lockyear (Eds.), Computer applications in archaeology 1993 (BAR International Series 598). Tempus Reparatum, Oxford: 165-176.

Barceló, J.A. 1995b. Seriación de Datos Arqueológicos Ambiguos o Incompletos. Una Aplicación de las Redes Neuronales. In Aplicaciones Informáticas en Arqueología. Teoría y Sistemas (vol. 2). Denboraren Argia, Bilbao: 99-116.

Di Ludovico, A., and Ramazzotti, M. 2005. Reconstructing lexicography in glyptic art: Structural relations between the Akkadian Age and the Ur III period. In LI Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale: 263-80.

Liss, B.; Howland, M.D. and Levy, T.E. 2017. Testing Google Earth Engine for the automatic identification and vectorization of archaeological features: A case study from Faynan, Jordan. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 15: 299-304.

Menze, B.H. and Ur, J.A. 2012. Mapping patterns of long-term settlement in Northern Mesopotamia at a large scale. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(14): E778-E787.

Oonk, S. and Spijker, J. 2015. A supervised machine-learning approach towards geochemical predictive modelling in archaeology. Journal of Archaeological Science, 59: 80-88.

Orengo, H. A. and Garcia-Molsosa, A. (2019, in press). A brave new world for archaeological survey?: automated machine learning-based potsherd detection using high-resolution drone imagery. J. Archaeol. Sci.

Trier, Ø.D., Cowley, D.C. and Waldeland, A.U. 2019. Using deep neural networks on airborne laser scanning data: Results from a case study of semi?automatic mapping of archaeological topography on Arran, Scotland. Archaeological Prospection, 26: 165- 175.

Van den Dries, M.H. 1998. Archeology and the application of artificial intelligence. Case studies on use-wear analysis of prehistoric flint tools. Archaeological Studies Leiden University No. 1., Faculty of Archaeology, University of Leiden.

Van der Maaten, L.J.P.; Boon, P.J.; Paijmans, J.J.; Lange, A.G. and Postma, E.O. 2007. Computer Vision and Machine Learning for Archaeology. In J.T. Clark and M. Hagemeister (eds.) Digital Discovery. Exploring New Frontiers in Human Heritage. Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology. Archaeolingua, Budapest.

Verschoof-van der Vaart, W.B. and Lambers, K., 2019. Learning to Look at LiDAR: The Use of R-CNN in the Automated Detection of Archaeological Objects in LiDAR Data from the Netherlands. Journal of Computer Applications in Archaeology, 2(1): 31-40.

Wright, H.and Gattiglia, G. 2018. ArchAIDE: Archaeological Automatic Interpretation and Documentation of ceramics. In Proceedings of the  Workshop on Cultural Informatics Research and Applicationsco-located with the International Conference on Digital Heritage, Nicosia, Cyprus, November 3, 2018: 60-65.

S06.  Facilitating advanced computational and data-intensive archaeological research (Other)


Dr Eleni Kotoula, University of Edinburgh

The use of High Performance Computing (HPC) clusters in Arts and Humanities encapsulates the notion of computer science ‘as a means to amplify human effort’ expressed at the panel on ‘Grand Challenges in Cultural Heritage Data and Information’ (Rushmeier, 2016). Not only is the analysis of large amounts of data faster with parallel computing methods than on a desktop computer, but computations that would not be possible become achievable (RSS, 2018). Consequently, efficient use of research infrastructure offers potential across all archaeological sub-disciplines and allows researchers to ask new questions and scale up their projects. In addition, the tremendous developments in data acquisition and collection approaches, including data capture devices and data mining, lead to extremely large datasets. The efficiency of methodologies traditionally used for archaeological research is under question because of the storage, organization, management and analysis needs of large datasets. Researchers noted, among others, the need for computational infrastructure and systematic, large-scale analyses (Kintigh et al. 2014). Characteristic applications are the archaeological simulation and agent-based modelling (Rubio-Campillo, 2015), geospatial analysis (Cooper & Green, 2016; McCoy, 2017), the 3D reconstruction of sites and objects derived from computer vision (Brutto & Meli, 2012).

Although e-infrastructure enables large scale and multidisciplinary research, it is considered  ‘complex and challenging’ by users, as demonstrated by previous research, which shed light on the challenges for the wider adoption of digital research services (Voss et al., 2009). Findings demonstrate that problems are not only of technical nature, but include issues relevant to the discovery, access and use of digital resources, which could be addressed via outreach, support and training. Even though this research covered a wide range of disciplines, data quality was the emphasis in reference to arts and humanities (Voss et al., 2009). Initiatives, which have addressed facilitation of digital research, include Europeana (, the Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities ( and the Advanced Research Infrastructures for Archaeological Dataset Networking in Europe ( In addition, the CAA community has shown increased interest in relevant issues (Cuy et al., 2018, 2019; Crabtree & Romanowska, 2019; Lorenzon & Kaliszewska, 2019; Stöger et al., 2018). These sessions have cultivated the environment for a constructive dialogue on facilitating advanced computational and data-intensive archaeological research at CAA 2020.

This session aims to showcase on-going computational and data-intensive archaeological research and highlight future directions that will further facilitate wider integration in the archaeological research lifecycle. This session welcomes proposals on the latter, which might focus on skills development and collaborative approaches, including but not limited to the development of software, data science and programming skills via training (e.g. in the format of The Carpentries –, knowledge and expertise exchange between the CAA and other communities of practice with overlapping interests (e.g. the Research Software Engineers –, and raising awareness about research data management (e.g. via programmes, actions and events of the Digital Curation Centre

This session also invites contributions on deciphering the role of archaeological computing experts with an emphasis on the challenges faced during the planning and development of computational and data-intensive research projects. Do the already existing institutional, national, international and/or European research infrastructures meet the requirements of archaeological computing research? Are the existing services accessible? Are there any barriers to archaeologists and cultural heritage professionals in using the services? How can we address these issues and overcome these barriers? We welcome papers discussing the potential of collaboration between the CAA community and other communities of practice with overlapping interests, to share expertise, develop skills and training programs.

We seek to present case studies on computationally demanding and data-intensive on-going and completed archaeological research projects, including but not limited to modelling and simulation, data analysis, mining and visualisation. The emphasis will be on projects which demonstrate the potential of using these approaches to answer archaeological research questions as well as best practices in using computational resources, such as efficient use of High Performance Computing (HPC) clusters and cloud computing services, and good data management planning across the research lifecycle from acquisition and storage to publishing, sharing and re-use.

The proposed session is intended to be of interest to a broad range of CAA conference attendees. It aims to provide the opportunity to students and early career researchers to understand the current issues around data-intensive and computational research in archaeology. Academics with teaching responsibilities from the heritage, archaeology and arts and humanities disciplines, as well as professionals from the GLAM sector, who are keen to introduce changes in their curriculum or training programmes, to develop skills of students and staff within their organization, are also encouraged to attend this session. Furthermore, researchers and practitioners who are keen to contribute towards the development of tools, software and resources that meet the needs of archaeological computing research and practice are encouraged to attend and share their experiences. Last but not least, this session aims to engage IT professionals and researchers who are responsible for the development, delivery and support of digital research services used by the archaeological computing community.


This session welcomes contributions addressing one or more aspects of the theme as described above. In an attempt to facilitate a dialogue, we welcome contributions in the form of 20-minute papers (as in standard sessions), shorter 10-minute papers and lightning talks.


Brutto, M.L. and Meli, P., 2012. Computer vision tools for 3D modelling in archaeology. International Journal of Heritage in the Digital Era, 1(1_suppl), pp.1-6.

Cooper, A. and Green, C., 2016. Embracing the complexities of ‘big data’ in archaeology: the case of the English Landscape and Identities project. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, 23(1), pp.271-304.

Crabtree S. and Romanowska I., 2019. Session 34 Archaeological Data for Modern Problems. Modern Methods for Archaeological Questions. CHECK OBJECT INTEGRITY – Book of Abstract. CAA 2019. Institute of Archaeology of Jagiellonian University in Kraków. pp. 236-237.

Cuy S., Ducke B., Förtsch R. and Block-Berlitz M., 2019. Session 35 Extreme Data Processing in Archaeology. CHECK OBJECT INTEGRITY – Book of Abstract. CAA 2019. Institute of Archaeology of Jagiellonian University in Kraków. pp. 244-245.

Cuy S., Ducke B., Förtsch R., Block-Berlitz M. and Schäfer, F. 2018. S30 Open Digital Infrastructures for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage. CAA Tübingen 2018 List of Sessions. pp. 20-21.

Kintigh, K.W., Altschul, J.H., Beaudry, M.C., Drennan, R.D., Kinzig, A.P., Kohler, T.A., Limp, W.F., Maschner, H.D., Michener, W.K., Pauketat, T.R. and Peregrine, P., 2014. Grand challenges for archaeology. American antiquity, 79(1), pp.5-24.

Lorenzon M. and Kaliszewska A., 2019. Session 41 From Micro to Macro: computer-based approaches for the analysis of big data in the study of artefacts and societies. CHECK OBJECT INTEGRITY – Book of Abstract. CAA 2019. Institute of Archaeology of Jagiellonian University in Kraków. p. 270.

McCoy, M.D., 2017. Geospatial Big Data and archaeology: Prospects and problems too great to ignore. Journal of Archaeological Science, 84, pp.74-94.

Research Services Section, 2018. A Guide to the Research Computing Service.  Information Services, IT Infrastructure, University of Edinburgh. Available at  [Accessed 15 Jul. 2019].

Rubio-Campillo, X., 2015. Large Simulations and Small Societies: High Performance Computing for Archaeological Simulations. In Agent-based Modelling and Simulation in Archaeology (pp. 119-137). Springer, Cham. Archaeological simulations

Rushmeier, H., 2016. Panel on ‘Grand Challenges in Cultural Heritage Data and Information’, U.N. Global Colloquium of University Presidents, Yale University, April 12-13, 2016.

Stöger H., Paliou E. and Crawford K. 2018. S28 Cities of Data: computational and quantitative advances to urban research. CAA Tübingen 2018 List of Sessions. pp. 19-20.

Voss, A., Asgari-Targhi, M., Procter, R., Halfpenny, P., Fragkouli, E., Anderson, S., Hughes, L., Fergusson, D., Vander Meer, E. and Atkinson, M., 2009. Adoption of e-Infrastructure Services: inhibitors, enablers and opportunities. In Proc. 5th Int. Conf. on e-Social Science, Cologne, June.

S07.  Conceptualising, Implementing and Visualising Spatial and Temporal Vagueness (Standard)


Cesar Gonzalez-Perez, Incipit CSIC
Patricia Martín-Rodilla, CITIUS USC
Martín Pereira-Fariña, Incipit CSIC

Vagueness has always been a difficult topic in science; information that is uncertain, or entities with unclear borders, for example, are especially difficult to treat. Over the past few years, for archaeology, and for the humanities in general, vagueness has started to be considered as a rich source of knowledge when it is adequately managed. Mechanisms to record, represent and communicate vagueness have been proposed, and CAA as well as other conferences has had some very good sessions on this topic in recent years. This complements a long tradition of trying to cope with vagueness, especially from a spatial perspective; works such as [2] and, more recently, [5], have paved the way for more recent research.

The aim of this line of research can be summarized as follows: instead of treating vagueness as an undesirable and annoying aspect of information, we should start seeing it as a valuable resource that must be recorded, processed and visualised for richer interpretations and more nuanced conclusions.

Current Research

Recently, approaches have been proposed to classify vagueness in different types (such as ontological vs. epistemic [3]), capture vague information about archaeological entities [4], or visualise vagueness in 3D archaeological reconstructions [1]. The Digital Humanities community has also paid significant attention to this, with specific projects (such as PROVIDEDH, and some specific workshops and tracks focusing on vagueness, such as “Complexity And Uncertainty In DH Projects: A Co-design Approach Around Data Visualization” within Digital Humanities (DH) 2019, or “Uncertainty in Digital Humanities” in the International Conference on Technological Ecosystems for Enhancing Multiculturality (TEEM) 2019.

Some specialised subfields have appeared within the “vagueness in archaeology” theme. In particular, spatial and temporal vagueness are two clearly hot topics, given the relevance that space and time have for archaeology.

Most of these works, however, are extremely data-oriented, focussing on how to capture vagueness in databases or how to express it in datasets. Although this is very interesting, it only constitutes part of the necessary work; in order to treat vagueness as a valuable asset, we must start by being aware of its existence and impact in our data models, and include the explicit treatment of vagueness as one factor in the decision-making processes of model building in archaeology. In addition, we need tools to build, manipulate and process vagueness as one dimension of archaeological data.

So far, there is a lack of tools like these, and drawing conclusions that incorporate vague knowledge or evaluating the impact of vagueness in research outcomes is practically impossible.

Expected Contributions

Along these lines, research is necessary to contribute sound philosophical arguments to the treatment of vagueness in archaeology; to provide a good conceptualisation of related ontological and epistemic issues such as precision, exactitude, accuracy, perfection, ambiguity, generalisation, or reliability; and to suggest graphic devices to convey vagueness in 3D reconstructions, maps, and other visual models. Only when a solid theoretical foundation has been set will we be able to develop computer systems that can store, process and represent vagueness as appropriate.

This is especially so in relation to space and time. Objects with fuzzy spatial boundaries (such as many archaeological sites or areas) are difficult to manage, study and preserve, and events or phases with uncertain or unclear temporal boundaries are equally hard to treat. This session aims to advance contributions to fulfil these needs.

Expected Themes

Papers are welcome in this session about the following topics, among others:

  • Philosophical accounts of vagueness, including ontological and epistemic aspects.
  • Relationships between linguistic, spatial and temporal vagueness.
  • Vagueness and different language functions in archaeology.
  • Ontologies or conceptual models of spatial and/or temporal vagueness for archaeology.
  • Use of fuzzy logic, many-valued logics, or other quantitative approaches to the description of vagueness in space and time.
  • Recording and processing of vague information in databases and other information systems.
  • Visualisation of vagueness in maps, timelines, sketches, 3D reconstructions and other visual representations of the archaeological record.
  • Case reports of archaeological sites or areas that have been affected (positively or negatively) by the treatment of vague information.


The session will be of interest to:

  • Archaeologists concerned with a richer and more nuanced representation of spatial and temporal vagueness.
  • Cultural heritage managers that must make decisions on, and deal with, information that is intrinsically imprecise and uncertain.
  • Developers of information systems that are aiming to capture vagueness in their data.


[1] Brunke, L., 2017. Uncertainty in archaeological 3D reconstructions, in Faculty of Archaeology. University of Leiden. Leiden, The Netherlands.

[2] Burrough, P.A., 1996. Natural Objects with Indeterminate Boundaries, in Geographic Objects with Indeterminate Boundaries, P.A. Burrough and A.U. Frank (eds.). GISDATA, 2. Taylor & Francis. London. 3-28.

[3] Gonzalez-Perez, C., 2018. Information Modelling for Archaeology and Anthropology. Springer.

[4] Martín-Rodilla, P. and C. Gonzalez-Perez, 2019. Conceptualization and Non-Relational Implementation of Ontological and Epistemic Vagueness of Information in Digital Humanities. Informatics. 6(2).

[5] Smith, B. and A.C. Varzi, 2005. Fiat and bona fide boundaries: Towards an ontology of spatially extended objects, in Spatial Information Theory: A Theoretical Basis for GIS, S.C. Hirtle and A.U. Frank (eds.). LNCS, 1329. Springer. 103-119.

S08.  NLP of Expert and Non-Expert Discourses in Archaeology (Standard)


Patricia Martín-Rodilla, CITIUS USC
Cesar Gonzalez-Perez, Incipit CSIC
Pablo del Fresno, Sistemes de Gestió de Patrimoni SCCL

Natural language processing (NLP) has been applied to archaeological texts for some time, starting with the works of Gardin in the 1970s [2], and most recently with works such as [3, 9]. However, there is much room for improvement, as the power of NLP is augmented when used in combination with contextual information in an assisted manner. In other words, when NLP works on texts automatically and with no consideration for context such as who the speaker is, from what perspective the discourse has been issued, or in what setting, it can only reach so far. When contextual information like this is incorporated through human assistance, NLP can produce more results that are easier to interpret and reuse [1, 10].

At the same time, heritage-related discourses, including archaeological ones, have been often described in terms of their perspective or standpoint. For example, CHARM [4, 6] differentiates between expert and non-expert valorisations, the former being issued by following a specific methodology, explicitly, and usually in writing; whereas the latter are often issued without a methodology, implicitly, and almost never in writing.

Expert and non-expert discourses share many things but are also clearly different. For example, expert discourses tend to make extensive use of specialised vocabularies, whereas non-expert texts not so much. Differences like this have an impact on the relevance, applicability and results of NLP techniques. The conceptual, linguistic and discursive characterization of these similarities and differences allows us to better study possible interconnections and flows between the two different kinds of discourses in archaeology.

Current Research

For the reason stated above, some current applications of NLP to archaeological texts are starting to use it in combination with other techniques such as conceptual modelling [5, 7, 8].

One potential contextual aspect that may enrich NLP analyses is that of discourse viewpoint. Most NLP applications to archaeology, as far as we know, focus on texts elaborated by experts such as academics, practitioners or students, paying little or no attention to discourses from non-expert points of view, such as those of the local communities or tourists. Although we do not dispute that the expert viewpoint is crucial, non-expert perspectives are also important if we aim to understand how monuments and other archaeological elements are understood by people. This session aims to fill this gap.

Expected Contributions

Studying non-expert discourses through NLP techniques will help experts to understand how people perceive, receive, conceptualise and communicate about archaeological elements such as monuments, sites or artefacts in museums. This will be especially so when the analyses are carried out comparatively, so differences, and even disagreements, can be detected between expert and non-expert discourses. Aligning the expert and non-expert agendas on culture-related issues has long been a goal of global organisations such as UNESCO, and we hope that this session will contribute towards knowing more about how to achieve it.

Expected Themes

Papers are welcome in this session about the following topics, among others:

  • Literature surveys on what discourse types (expert, non-expert) have been addressed in archaeological NLP.
  • Comparative results of expert and non-expert discourse NLP analysis in archaeology.
  • NLP algorithmic tuning for expert vs. non-expert archaeological discourses.
  • Applications of NLP over time, to time-aware discourse, or in time-compared settings.
  • NLP applications cases on archaeological primary textual sources.


The session will be of interest to:

  • Archaeologists working with local communities and/or tourists.
  • Researchers or students of NLP, especially with an application to archaeology or the humanities.
  • Developers of NLP systems, especially for archaeology.
  • Cultural heritage specialists that aim to understand how heritage discourses are constructed and communicated.
  • Librarians and other practitioners in charge of vocabularies, thesauri or similar lexical devices in archaeology.


[1] Gale, W.A., K.W. Church, and D. Yarowsky, 1992. One sense per discourse, in HLT ’91 Proceedings of the workshop on Speech and Natural Language. Harriman. 233-237.

[2] Gardin, J.-C., 1973. Document Analysis and Linguistic Theory. Journal of Documentation. 29(2): 137-168.

[3] Gardin, J.-C., 2003. Archaeological Discourse, Conceptual Modelling and Digitalisation:  An Interim Report of the Logicist Program, in The Digital Heritage of Archaeology, M. Doerr and A. Sarris (eds.).

[4] Gonzalez-Perez, C., 2018. Information Modelling for Archaeology and Anthropology. Springer.

[5] Gonzalez-Perez, C., P. Martín-Rodilla, and M. Pereira-Fariña, 2018. Computer-Assisted Analysis of Combined Argumentation and Ontology in Archaeological Discourse, in 46th Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA 2018). Tübingen, Germany.

[6] Incipit, 2016. CHARM Web Site (web site). Accessed on 30 May 2016.

[7] Martín-Rodilla, P., M.L. Hattori, and C. Gonzalez-Perez, 2019. Assisting Forensic Identification through Unsupervised Information Extraction of Free Text Autopsy Reports: The Disappearances Cases during the Brazilian Military Dictatorship. Information. 10(7).

[8] Pereira-Fariña, M., C. Gonzalez-Perez, and C. Reed, 2018. The Building of Controversies around the Management of Cultural Heritage, in 9th Conference of the International Society for the Study of Argumentation (ISSA 2018). Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

[9] Richards, J., D. Tudhope, and A. Vlachidis, 2015. Text Mining in Archaeology: Extracting Information from Archaeological Reports, in Mathematics in Archaeology, J.-A. Barceló and I. Bogdanovic (eds.). CRC Press, Taylor & Francis.

[10] Vlachidis, A., D. Tudhope, M. Wansleeben, J. Azzopardi, K. Green, L. Xia, and H. Wright, 2017. D16.4: Final Report on Natural Language Processing.

S09.  Digital Infrastructures and New (and Evolving) Technologies in Archaeology (Roundtable)


Holly Wright, University of York
Dr. Achille Felicetti, Università degli Studi di Firenze, PIN – Polo Universitario “Città di Prato”
Ceri Binding, University of South Wales

Following on from the successful Digital Infrastructures for Archaeology: Past, Present and Future directions session in Krakow, the ARIADNEplus project invites participants to present and discuss the role of new and evolving technologies in digital infrastructures such as repositories, archives, aggregation portals, digital scholarly presses, and heritage management infrastructures of regional and national governments. Investment in technologies within persistent digital infrastructures represents significant investment, and requires a firm understanding of the potential risks and rewards. This roundtable will consist of 10-minute presentations about the pros and cons of a technology already in use within an archaeological data infrastructure, or the introduction of a new technology that has potential for use within infrastructures. Technologies may include, but are not limited to, Linked Data, Natural Language Processing, Image Recognition and other types of machine/deep learning. This will be followed by discussion around the challenges and potential usefulness of these technologies within archaeological data infrastructures, as we chart a course for current and future best practice. This roundtable is open to any researcher working with a new or evolving technology who would like an opportunity to highlight or discuss these technologies and explore their potential for archaeological data.

S10.  Open Archaeology and Open Science: a challenging opportunity (Roundtable)


Franco Niccolucci, PIN
Kai-Christian Bruhn, Mainz Centre for Digitality in the Humanities and Cultural Studies
Julian D. Richards, ADS-University of York

The Open Science principles are progressively becoming a reality thanks to the policies adopted in the EU[1], by states and globally worldwide. On the methodological level, the FAIR data principles [2*] impact on archaeological data but raise some issues when they turn into recommendations and obligations for researchers. While there are projects and organizations addressing such issues in general, for example GoFAIR [3*] and FAIRsFAIR [4*], specific features of archaeological data, dictated by research and administrative (legal) needs, are rarely taken into account in the framework of the overall theme. If Access is now generally accepted by researchers and heritage agencies, in the past often reluctant to open their archives, and Interoperability is progressively facilitated by an increasing acceptance of standards for archaeological documentation, Findability is being solved by improving the search tools in the different repositories and with the creation of a global, large-scale system such as the one implemented by the ARIADNE EU project [5].

With regard to the Research Data Lifecycle, Data Re-use is instead still difficult, since it requires rich metadata to define the scope for which the data were created and to understand their quality – for example, 3D data created for dissemination may not have the necessary resolution required by restoration – and because tailored tools must be provided to further process them and obtain the results required by the re-user. Although current templates for Data Management Plans (DMP) indeed foster and support data re-use, they are still too focused on technical details to completely solve such problems. One reason might be that they are addressed separately: the researcher produces the data and must guarantee compliance with Interoperability and clear Access rules; the repository manager must guarantee appropriate management of the archives, thus supporting Access, and if possible support Findability; and finally tools for Re-use are provided by third parties, leaving to the perspective re-user the job of combining together all these components.

A potential solution to this fragmentation could be the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) [6], i.e. the perspective creation of an open cloud dedicated to scientists and researchers, promoted by the EU. There all the above steps would take place in the same framework with advanced technical support: the data creation and storage by a scientist; the collaboration between researchers to produce the data as a joint effort; and the availability of dedicated tools operating in the same framework to facilitate re-use.

At present, there is an intense activity mainly to define the EOSC governance and funding. On the other hand, a number of funded projects are addressing the technical aspects and organization. Research communities are analysing their requirements to define the characteristics that the EOSC should have to suit their needs. Those enlisted in the ESFRI roadmap [7] have greater influence than others, like archaeology, which however remains an important stakeholder and must contribute indications and requirements.

At the national level, the degree of maturity of research data infrastructures is uneven as regards archaeological data: there are countries with a long experience in the deposit of archaeological documentation, firstly the UK with ADS but also the Netherlands with DANS, and others that are now creating their infrastructure. The latter often have to face additional problems like the modest willingness of heritage or research agencies to financially support this work; the fragmentation of competences among different institutions; the increasing demand to make use of local or regional infrastructure solutions provided by the home institution; and some lack of interest by traditional academic circles, no longer opposing such initiatives but not yet fully supporting them.

The round-table will report on the current development of the application of the FAIR principles and the development of the EOSC, as well as on other EU and national initiatives, as summarized above. It will also describe the advancement in the creation of an “archaeological cloud” in the framework of the EOSC, designed and progressively implemented by the ARIADNE and ARIADNEplus projects [8].

Following this background, contributions will report about national roadmaps and new initiatives concerning archaeological data and the related research infrastructures, mainly in Europe but also internationally (USA, Japan, Central/Southern America). It will discuss how superordinate concepts can be successfully mediated in infrastructural offers down to regional and local levels and at the same time a broader acceptance by scientists can be achieved. The round-table discussion aims to reflect the user’s, the developer’s, as well as the implementer’s perspective.

Presentations will give an insight into how these developments relate to archaeological research methodology (see e.g. the Coalition for Archaeological Synthesis (CfAS) [9]). Finally, a contribution will concern the potential impact and the expectations of the archaeological community as resulting from a survey in progress, concluding in October 2019.

This roundtable include 10 minute position papers to introduce key topics and will discuss:

  • Introduction: the European framework. FAIR principles and their application in archaeology. The EOSC: progress of the initiative and potential impact on archaeological research
  • The ARIADNEplus project in light of the EOSC
  • The national research data infrastructure initiatives in Germany (NFDI), in Italy and in other countries
  • Standards and interoperability for archaeological documentation: the state of play
  • Digital technology for the archaeological cloud: the way ahead
  • New scenarios in digital archaeological research
  • What archaeologists wish and what they can expect from the creation of digital research infrastructures


[1] European Commission. Open Innovation: Open Science, Open to the World–a vision for Europe. (2016), pp. 31–56

[2] The FAIR Data Principles,

[3] GoFair,


[5] C. Meghini et al “ARIADNE: A Research Infrastructure for Archaeology” (2017), ACM Journal on Computing and Cultural Heritage (JOCCH), Special Issue on Digital Infrastructure for Cultural Heritage, Part 2, Volume 10 Issue 3, August 2017, Article No. 18

[6] European Commission. Prompting an EOSC in practice (2018),

[7] ESFRI Roadmap 2020, to appear and be presented on 25 September 2019

[8] ARIADNE and ARIADNEplus projects home page:

[9] J.H. Altschul et al (2018), “Fostering Collaborative Synthetic Research in Archaeology”, Advances in Archaeological Practice 6(1), 2018, pp. 19–29

S11.  Advances in multidimensional visualization and geomorphological analysis of site formation processes (Standard)


Vasiliki Andreaki, Department of Prehistory, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain
Juan Antonio Barceló, Department of Prehistory, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain

Stratigraphy has always been a topic of discussion in archaeology because it is a powerful tool for interpreting archaeological sites. While advances in computer applications in archaeology have brought a wide toolbox for representing stratigraphic sequences in recent years, there is still more to be done in the field of geomorphological analysis and its integration into archaeological practice in order to reconstruct site formation processes.

Geomorphological analysis includes geometrical analysis. As is the case for every element with well-defined geometry, stratigraphy can be measured, and has specific patterns that need to be deciphered such as orientation, chemical properties, etc. For this purpose, continuing in the same line as the last year´s session in Krakow, we call for papers and/or posters in an attempt to present and discuss current advances in multidimensional visualization of stratigraphic sequences as well as to encourage the integration of geomorphological analysis of site formation processes in current computational archaeology. We encourage papers presenting advances in visualizing site formation processes and creating stratigraphic models, including:

  • Allen´s Algebra and equivalent ontologies for temporal representation
  • 4D Wheeler diagrams in geoarchaeology
  • Predictive models based on hydrology, slope, orientation, etc.
  • Geomorphometrical properties of stratigraphic sequences and structural geology
  • Microtopographic modelling and surface interpolation
  • Event-based stratigraphic ordering and Bayesian analysis
  • Database recording and multidimensional visualization of depositional events
  • Data capture and photogrammetry in excavation

We think that it is about time we integrate the dynamic parameters of geomorphological analysis into archaeological stratigraphy, alongside additional chronological data derived from scientific dating methods, in order to better define depositional events in the archaeological record.

S12.  Archaeological Exploration of Digital Spaces (Standard)


Lauren Herckis, Carnegie Mellon University
Emma Slayton, Carnegie Mellon University

This session explores the archaeological analysis of digital spaces. Significant portions of human activity now happen online, where places are not physical spaces and human activity leaves traces that can only be explored using modified archaeological methods. Computational spaces have become places where people meaningfully interact with one another and their surroundings: cultural landscapes are shaped by digital platforms that increasingly host much of our day-to-day activity. In some cases, such as Second Life (Boellstorff 2015) or the Digital Karnak Project (Sullivan & Snyder 2017), these virtual spaces are designed to resemble the physical world. Human activity here might mirror physical engagement with the natural world: there is a field of vision, depth perception, apparent gravity, perhaps the ability to move objects or build structures. In other computational spaces, such as social media platforms, chats, or collaborative workspaces, human relationships develop and culture is enacted despite the absence of shared (real or metaphorical) physical space. Even when digital spaces are designed to mimic physical reality, interaction is governed by different rules as compared to similar interactions in the natural world.

An abandoned building in a temperate forest will soon be inhabited by creatures, overgrown by plant life, and buried under new loam. Archaeologists can use our understanding of these natural processes to estimate time passed and infer human interference. More than a decade after the construction of college campuses, retail outlets, campaign headquarters, and other social spaces in Second Life, some of the places people built in this virtual world are still in regular use. Some are long abandoned and occasionally visited. Others have been repurposed, intentionally deconstructed, or are otherwise transformed by in-world activity, software updates, or other changes. As compared to their physical counterparts, these abandoned structures suffer different ravages of time (Veix 2018).

The application of digital tools to the field of archaeology has been explored deeply in recent decades. CAA is an example of these efforts and their rich harvest of innovative methodologies, bodies of theory, and paradigm-changing insights into the lives of people around the world, past and present. For example, consider the revolution in mapping facilitated by LIDAR and OBIA-enabled archaeology: we can now produce maps of inaccessible spaces, tremendous regions, and have automated identification of anthropogenic features (Davis et. al. 2019). We continue to apply innovative technologies to the practice of archaeology. Now we have the opportunity to apply archaeological methods to innovative technologies, as well, to better understand the new digital realities that these technological innovations have made possible.

Anthropologists have long acknowledged that a “place” is a particular kind of “space” (Low 2016): relationships are shaped, power is deployed, and culture unfolds in places, those spaces that have been imbued with cultural value and meaningful human activity. Cultural anthropologists have also grappled with the increasingly digital lives of 21st century communities, where people meaningful interact but rarely if ever share physical space. Methods include netography, ethnomining, digital socialities, online tracing, and other ways of making anthropological sense of human behavior in computational places (Pink 2016). Computer scientists have identified computational places as meaningful digital spaces where interaction and collaboration happen (Harrison & Dourish 1996). Recently, software archivists, virtual reality designers, and others have worked to better understand the ways that people interact in places that do not have a physical space (e.g. Dourish 2006, Sherman & Craig 2018) and to contend with the ways that these environments, and human interactions within them, change with time (e.g. Kaltman 2017).

There have always been questions that archaeologists have been uniquely equipped to answer, which we approach through an exploration of spatial relationships and the material traces of human activity. Recently, archaeologists have proposed a series of “archaeological rules of engagement for conducting research within digital built environments” (Reinhard 2019) and applied archaeological methods to the analysis of digital collaborations (Herckis 2018). Archaeology of digital environments is a developing body of method and theory which will open new avenues for applied and collaborative archaeological inquiry, especially in the context of emerging technologies such as the design of virtual worlds.

This session welcomes case studies where researchers have applied archaeological method and theory to understand and/or reconstruct human behavior in digital environments or to design and develop new technologies for human-computer interaction. We also welcome theoretically-driven papers which explore development and/or analysis of digital environments through an archaeological lens, and other related papers. These avenues of inquiry and applied archaeology will be of interest to graduate students, archaeological methodologists, experts in the use of virtual reality for archaeology, computer scientists, and digital community researchers, and human-computer interaction specialists.


Boellstorff, Tom. Coming of age in Second Life: An anthropologist explores the virtually human. Princeton University Press, 2015.

Davis, Dylan S., Matthew C. Sanger, and Carl P. Lipo. “Automated mound detection using lidar and object-based image analysis in Beaufort County, South Carolina.” Southeastern Archaeology 38.1 (2019): 23-37.

Dourish, Paul. “Re-space-ing place: place and space ten years on.” Proceedings of the 2006 20th anniversary conference on Computer supported cooperative work. ACM, 2006.

Harrison, Steve R., and Paul Dourish. 1996. “Re-place-ing space: The roles of place and space in collaborative systems”. In Computer Supported Collaborative Work, Vol. 96. 67–76.

Herckis, Lauren. “Archaeology as Anthropology: Chaîne Operatoire and the Analysis of Contemporary Technologies”, Paper presented at the Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting, Washington, DC. 2018

Kaltman, Eric. The Stabilization, Exploration, and Expression of Computer Game History. Diss. UC Santa Cruz, 2017.

Low, Setha. Spatializing culture: The ethnography of space and place. Routledge, 2016.

Pink, Sarah. “Digital ethnography.” Innovative methods in media and communication research (2016): 161-165.

Reinhard, Andrew. “Human Archaeology of Persistent Digital Spaces”, Paper presented at the Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) North America Meeting, Syracuse, NY. 3-5 May 2019.

Sherman, William R., and Alan B. Craig. Understanding virtual reality: Interface, application, and design. Morgan Kaufmann, 2018.

Sullivan, Elaine A., and Lisa M. Snyder. “Digital Karnak:: An Experiment in Publication and Peer Review of Interactive, Three-Dimensional Content.” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 76.4 (2017): 464-482.

Veix, Joe. “Exploring The Digital Ruins Of ‘Second Life’.” Digg, 5 June 2018,

S13.  Using Archaeology Theory and Case Studies to Teach Technology: Applying skills and methods from archaeology to teach in other settings (Standard)


Emma Slayton, Carnegie Mellon University
Lauren Herckis, Carnegie Mellon University

The field of archaeology, where so many are trained in digital scholarship techniques from data management to complex computer modelling, uniquely positions degree holders to enter the workforce with skills that can be used outside of the tenure track stream. Archaeologists have the benefit of drawing from a wide range of theories and methodologies that present useful tools to apply towards the broader field of digital scholarship. These tools and skills are becoming more valued every day, as a growing number of researchers are coming to realize the benefit of computational analysis in their work within and outside the field of archaeology.

Scholars holding advanced degrees in archaeology are increasingly using their training in non-traditional educational environments. Alternate academic spaces or non-traditional teaching environments like libraries, museums, and community outreach organizations all hold the potential for archaeologists to showcase the benefits of digital scholarship. Expansion into these areas, particularly in alternate academic spaces that offer basic support of these skills, showcases the value of these technologies to a broader audience as well as provides opportunities for trained archaeologists to guide education in these areas. For example, many archaeologists are forging careers teaching and offering research support for digital tools (e.g. GIS and photogrammetry) or instructing about the past through interactive means outside of academic archaeology or anthropology departments. There has even been movement towards using archaeological theory to help researchers approach teaching digital methodologies to their students, focusing on the modern use of technology through the applications we use to study the past.

One example of this progression is in the field of Virtual Reality (VR), which has captured the imagination of educators both in and outside of archaeology departments. Many works discussing the pedagogy around VR have focused on archaeological sites, capturing past experiences to orient a modern audience to the past. Several of the researchers who are capitalizing on this opportunity are trained archaeologists. There are many works that focus on the applications of VR gaming as applied to archaeology (Kersten et al. 2018; Shackelford et al. 2018), as well as on preserving 3D-rendered materials (Grayburn et al. 2018). Recent conferences on the preservation of VR and 3D materials as well as teaching VR applications have had archaeologists on their planning committees (3D/VR Creation and Curation in Higher:, Immersive Pedagogy:, due to the unique position of archaeologists at the forefront of digital education, applying archaeological training beyond traditional archaeological methodologies.

Many highly trained archaeologists move into these fields despite the fact that there has been little discussion of how we as a community might use archaeological theory, methodology, and skill-based learning to educate those outside of the archaeological community. Every year there are more professional opportunities for people with digital scholarship backgrounds that demand the types of skills those with advanced archaeological training learn every year. Conversely, the academic market for archaeologists is becoming saturated as more archaeology students graduate. These new graduates are often unaware that their skills are highly valued in a variety of academic sectors. A session that details applications of digital archaeological skills outside the field of academic archaeology will expand the scope of opportunities for new archaeologists. In addition, such an expansive view of archaeological learning will help us begin to define new curricular goals for archaeology programs.

We invite researchers who work in and outside of archaeology departments to share examples of how they teach digital skills to a broader audience. As a session, we will provide insight into what students need to learn not only to be archaeologists, but also to be engaged members of the scientific community, educators, and citizen participants. This session will help early career archaeologists explore new ways to apply the skills they developed during their degree programs. Examples and case studies presented in this session may provide faculty who teach archaeology with new ideas about how to reach their audiences and prepare students for careers post-graduation. We will be accepting both full papers and lighting talks.

Case studies of particular pedagogies or methodologies will help illuminate current practice as well as various approaches to digital scholarship and community engagement. Papers might also focus on the ways that archaeological theory influences teaching practices, particularly when speaking to an audience without an archaeological background. Presenters are also invited to speak on how they have used archaeological data sets or skills drawn from their own scholarship to support digital education and skill training for students within and outside of archaeology.

This session will be of interest to students about to receive degrees, supervisors of students, and anyone who teaches archaeology in and outside of traditional academic settings.


Grayburn, Jennifer, Zachariah Lischer-Katz, Kristy Golbiewski-Davis, and Veronica Ikeshoji-Orlati, eds. Expected 2018. CLIR Report 176: 3D/VR in the Academic Library: Emerging Practices and Trends. Washington D.C.: Council on Information Resources.

Kersten, Thomas P., et al. “Virtual Reality for Cultural Heritage Monuments–from 3D Data Recording to Immersive Visualisation.” Euro-Mediterranean Conference. Springer, Cham, 2018.

Shackelford, L., Huang, W.D., Craig, A., Merrill, C., Chen, D. & Arjona, J. 2018. A Formative Evaluation on a Virtual Reality Game-Based Learning System for Teaching Introductory Archaeology. In Proceedings of E-Learn: World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education (pp. 605-611). Las Vegas, NV, United States: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).

S14.  Last of the Jedi or first of the Sith? Is ‘post excavation’ analysis a “dark art” best left to those who ‘know how’, or can better use of digital technologies help share archaeological knowledge from excavation to archive? (Standard)


Keith May, Historic England & University of South Wales
James Taylor, York University

Should archaeological analysis – commonly described by the misnomer “post-ex” – only be undertaken by a small group of highly skilled people? What opportunities are there for digital, and especially online, technologies to enable a more widely shared approach to how excavation data is recorded, analysed, published, and archived?

What improvements (re-engineering?) could be made to archaeological practice that would better encourage the sharing, linking and interoperability of archaeological data and information, particularly stratigraphic data records derived from the commercial side of the sector, in order to maximize public value and enhance the research potential of associated archaeological data?

How can we ensure the consistent development, application and enforcement of data standards and technical requirements relating to stratigraphic data and their promotion to others?

This session will address the current problems caused by the lack of standardized approaches to digital archiving of archaeological data. In particular stratigraphic and phasing data constitute the backbone of all the related archaeological records from each excavated site and are essential for integrated analysis, wider synthesis, and accessible archiving of the growing body of archaeological data and reports generated through the commercial archaeological sector in the UK and internationally. The stratigraphic record, usually in the form of a stratigraphic matrix, with associated relationships and data, acts as a primary, if not the primary piece of ‘evidence’ for how, and in what order, the site was excavated. As such the stratigraphic matrix is the key mechanism that enables anyone less familiar with the site to re-visit the excavation records, to understand what data is most relevant for any particular research questions, or problems encountered, and to piece together the underlying details of how the interpretations by the excavator(s) were actually arrived at. However, such records are often only held on paper or scanned copies of matrix diagrams that cannot easily be re-used with associated data. Often the key phasing data needed for synthesis work and interpretive understanding is not well documented or archived consistently, if at all, in written reports. This results in key records being unsearchable or remaining unconnected to other data, and at best usually requires lengthy and wasteful re-keying if any one wishes to work with the archives from such sites.

This session welcomes papers addressing the questions and topics described above, addressing these challenges from a practical or theoretical perspective.

S15.  Mobile GIS iN archaeology – the survey continues (Other)


Nazarij Buławka, University of Warsaw, Institute of Archaeology, Department of Near Eastern Archaeology
Julia M. Chyla, Antiquity of Southern Europe Research Centre/Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw
Stefano Remo Luigi Campana, Department of History and Cultural Heritage / Landscape Archaeology & Remote Sensing LAB, University of Siena

This session continues ongoing discussion of the changes that are happening in archaeological field prospection today, specifically further development of GNSS that helps to navigate in the landscape, and the possibility to bring your GIS into the field via Mobile GIS. During the session, we will continue prior discussion of the contemporary role of mobile GIS in archaeological field prospection. The aim of the session is a critical discussion about new tools used in the field, supported by examples/case studies presented by the participants. This session will also incorporate a broader discussion of contemporary methodology of field surveying. We need to get to know and use past examples. We also need to establish a common approach to field survey method, which would allow our datasets to be comparable.

Encouraged by new tools, applications, and a developing GPS precision, we believe that the introduction of Mobile GIS, and particularly applications available on smartphones, require a deeper reflection on good practice in field data collection. Since field surveying is deeply rooted in British archaeology and already has well-established guidelines on field data collection, this session aims to continue and enlarge the discussion.

This session invites short 10 minute presentations, followed by 5-minute discussions. The session will conclude with a roundtable discussion about tools and methods we use in field prospection, how they have changed and are changing currently, influencing our methods before, during and after survey.

We invite participants to present their case studies of field prospection in the light of the following questions:

  1. Data collection:
    1. How the use of Mobile GIS influenced the way you collect data during field survey?
    2. What is the role of a professional GIS specialist in data collection?
    3. How precise is your data?
    4. Quality control: What type of collected information should be under control and how?
  2. Methodology:
    1. How the use of Mobile GIS influenced your research methodology?
    2. Citizen science – how does it influence archaeology? How can it be used in archaeological surveys?
    3. What would you propose as a “good practice workflow” while using Mobile GIS in the field?
  3. Analysis and interpretation:
    1. How has the use of Mobile GIS influenced your understanding of the landscape?
    2. How can the data collected via mobile GIS be analyzed?
    3. Did it help you to answer your research questions?
  4. Publication:
    1. How the use of Mobile GIS influences the way you publish your data?
    2. Have you thought about archiving in Repository?
    3. Are your datasets comparable to others?

S16.  Problem and Project-based learning in Digital Archaeology Pedagogy (Standard)


Costas Papadopoulos, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, Maastricht University
Ronald Visser, Saxion University of Applied Sciences

Teaching Digital Archaeology (DA) as a subject as well as teaching archaeology-related subjects using digital approaches has the potential to empower students with the skills and competencies required to become producers rather than passive consumers of knowledge (Cocco 2006). Despite the fact that much DA teaching utilises real-world examples, artefacts, and documentary sources, we argue that the full pedagogic potential of experiential learning (Kolb 1984; Wurdinger 2005) within a DA classroom (or a traditional archaeology classroom employing a DA ethos) can be achieved within a problem/project-based learning (PBL) environment.

PBL constructs a framework through which students engage with authentic challenges (Bell 2010; Herrington & Herrington 2007; Stein 1998) in a student-led, collaborative, engaged, and reflective environment. Teaching this way can be challenging, with student projects potentially collapsing due to a variety of managerial, technological, or interpersonal issues. As Wurdinger (2005, 69) states: ‘outcomes of the learning process are varied and often unpredictable’. Yet, despite the potential pitfalls, providing situated and experiential learning opportunities which make students responsible for their own learning (Chapman et al. 1995) has the potential for their weaknesses to become strengths hence improving their practice (Ertmer & Simons 2005).

While Digital Humanities (DH) has embraced the ethos of the Maker Culture, there is little consensus (Whitson 2015) regarding how learning by making and doing can empower students to become critical thinkers and makers (Ratto 2011) through self-reflexivity and problem solving. Creating a collaborative and experiential learning environment, on the other hand, through PBL, in which students work together to complete an end product that materialises their knowledge and understanding (Helle et al. 2006) is designed to achieve this. Finally, the process of co-creation and the management challenges (above and beyond the technical skills being imparted) that collaborative projects pose, provide students with new mechanisms to critically respond to different situations as well as with the necessary competencies for careers in academia and the private sector (Cain & Cocco 2014).

Teaching DA or DH within a PBL environment changes the role of a traditional teacher: from an instructor to a facilitator and coaching expert. This poses different challenges for the teachers, since they have to rethink their role within the classroom and adapt their teaching practices. Instead of teaching a traditional course, teachers need to (learn to) select problems/projects that are suited to the Intended Learning Outcomes of the curriculum. PBL can also better address the challenge of teaching digital natives (Visser et al. 2016); as students are at the center of the pedagogical process, they can develop a learning trajectory that suits their skills, needs, and experiences.

This session builds on the discussions carried out in CAA2019 as part of S08: Teaching Digital Archaeology in which speakers and participants reflected on issues related to traditional classes, different modalities of teaching, the evolving role of instructors as coaches and facilitators, the value of exposing students to real-world problems, successes and failures of experimental approaches to teaching, digital natives and digital immigrants, and students as owners and producers.

This session invites all teachers in DA or DH who employ or have employed problem- and project-based learning approaches in their teaching, as well as students who have experienced such teaching and learning methods. Speakers are welcome to present specific class problems and projects, however, the focus should be on the lessons learnt and the pedagogical dimension of using such approaches in undergraduate/postgraduate teaching programmes and training sessions (e.g. workshops, masterclasses, hackathons etc.). It would be an important addition if speakers would not only show successes, but also instances where PBL failed. Session organisers envision short, 10-minute reflexive presentations and an informed discussion on the potential and challenges of problem- and project-based approaches to teaching digital archaeology.


Bell, S. (2010). Project-based learning for the 21st Century: Skills for the Future. The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 83(2): 39-43.

Cain, K. & Cocco, S. (2014). Leadership Development through Project Based Learning. In Proceedings of the Canadian Engineering Education Association Conference- École Polytechnique de Montréal June 2013.

Chapman, S., McPhee, P., & Proudman, B. (1995). What is Experiential Education?. In Warren, K. (Ed.), The Theory of Experiential Education (pp. 235-248). Dubuque: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company.

Cocco, S. (2006). Student Leadership Development: The Contribution of project-based learning. Thesis, Royal Roads University, Canada.

Ertmer, P.A. & Simons, K.D. (2005). Scaffolding Teachers’ Efforts to Implement Problem-based Learning. International Journal of Learning, 12(4): 319-328.

Helle, L., Tynjälä, P. & Olkinuora, E. (2006). Project-Based Learning in Post-Secondary Education – Theory, Practice and Rubber Sling Shots. Higher Education, 51(2): 287-314.

Herrington, A. J. & Herrington, J. A. (2006). What is an authentic learning environment?. In A. J. Herrington & J. A. Herrington (Eds.), Authentic learning environments in higher education (pp. 1-13). Hershey, PA: Information Science Publishing.

Kolb, D.A. (1984). Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development. Financial Times/ Prentice Hall, New Jersey.

Ratto, M. (2011). Critical Making: Conceptual and Material Studies in Technology and Social Life, The Information Society, 27(4), 252-260,

Stein, D. (1998). Situated learning in adult education.

Visser, R.M., van Zijverden, W.K., Alders, P.G. (2016). Teaching digital archaeology digitally, In S. Campana, R. Scopigno, G. Carpentiero, M. Cirollo (Eds), CAA2015. Keep the Revolution Going. Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Conference on Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology. Archaeopress, Oxford, 11–15.

Whitson, R. (2015). “Critical Making in the Digital Humanities”, In J. Wolfreys (Ed). Introducing Criticism in the Twenty-First Century. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 157-177.

Wurdinger, S.D. (2005). Using Experiential Learning in the Classroom. Lanham: Scarecrow Education

S17.  Emerging digital technologies against looting and illegal antiquities trafficking: critical approaches, solutions and outcomes (Standard)


Arianna Traviglia, IIT Centre for Cultural Heritage Technology (CCHT@Ca’Foscari)
Riccardo Giovanelli, Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia

Destruction of archaeological contexts by means of illegal excavation is becoming more and more a primary concern of governments, institutions and caring citizens. Looting (i.e. the illegal removal of ancient artefacts conducted through non-scientific methods by robbers) has a long history, dating back to ancient times. The phenomenon has been exacerbated in the last 15 years by a number of events such as the Iraqi war in 2004, the “Arab Spring” of 2011 with its subsequent social disorders, and ISIS’s actions in the whole MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, which, combined, determined a spiralling increase in looted items being available on the art markets, both the legal and illegal ones.

In the last decade, looting activities have increasingly been investigated and art markets monitored using computer-aided technologies that have proven to be highly instrumental in halting unlawful behaviours.

Remote sensing is being used to detect and monitor illicit excavations (especially in conflict areas) using multispectral imagery – investigated through both manual (Casana and Panahipour 2014; Contreras 2010; Stone 2008) and automatic recognition of looting patterns (Lasaponara and Masini 2018) –  and SAR data (Tapete, Cigna and Donoghue 2016). The time-series of VHR imagery deployed by Google Earth make it now possible to locate several looted sites throughout the globe (Contreras and Brodie 2011; Parcak et al. 2016; Zerbini and Fradley 2018), opening avenues for the development of new methods of recognition. The potential of computer vision and machine learning methods applied to web-scraped content (Huffer and Graham 2018; Huffer, Wood and Graham 2019) is being investigated to track illicit on-line sales and to identify networks (Tsiriogiannis and Tsiriogiannis 2016) and actors within the so-called “grey market” of antiquities (Bowman 2008; Mackenzie 2019; Mackenzie and Yates 2016). The monitoring, both manual and automatic, of Social Media, on-line forums and the deep web, is enabling crucial information about the illicit market using both quantitative and content data (Al-Azm and Paul 2019; Hardy 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018; Paul 2018). Databases of stolen objects and due diligence activities have been developed by enforcement units, such as the Comando Tutela Patrimonio Culturale in Italy and INTERPOL (Arma dei Carabinieri 2016). 3D imagery-fed blockchain technologies (Gandolfi and Cox 2018) are currently being investigated.

Research in this domain is clearly on the rise, its progresses pushed by the increasing loss of archaeological contexts and Cultural Heritage items. The developed technologies are getting more specialized, however they are often unable to achieve levels of sophistication that can concretely contribute to the fight against illicit trafficking.

This session invites the submission of original papers in the areas outlined above (i.e. remote sensing, computer vision, machine learning, data-mining, blockchain, qualitative and quantitative SM data analysis) and beyond that engage in a critical discussion on the approaches, solutions and outcomes of established and emerging technologies, in order to highlight the pros and cons of technological applications and to identify successful means and methods to concretely engage in the fight against looting and illicit trade of cultural heritage objects.  We are also interested in new methods and applications that have not been fully explored yet in the sphere of countering cultural property trafficking, but which should be taken into consideration for future developments.

The session is mainly intended for researchers working in the broad domain of antiquities crimes using traditional and computational approaches; it also benefits those working in the described technologies and methods (remote sensing, machine learning etc.) in the broader context.

The session is organized within the framework of the H2020 Netcher project (NETwork and digital platform for Cultural Heritage Enhancing and Rebuilding), that aims at creating a structured network of actors engaged in this fight.


Al-Azm, A and Paul, K A 2019 Facebook’s Black Market in Antiquities. Trafficking, terrorism, and war crimes. (June).

Arma dei Carabinieri 2016 PSYCHE : THE PROTECTION SYSTEM FOR CULTURAL HERITAGE HOME/2011/ISEC/AG/PRUM/4000002157. 2016. Available at

Bowman, B A 2008 Transnational Crimes Against culture: Looting at Archaeological Sites and the ‘Grey’ Market in Antiquities, Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 24(3): 225–242. DOI:

Casana, J and Panahipour, M 2014 Satellite-Based Monitoring of Looting and Damage to Archaeological Sites in Syria, Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies, 2(2): 128–151.

Contreras, D A 2010 Huaqueros and remote sensing imagery: assessing looting damage in the Viru Valley. Peru., Antiquity, 84(324): 544–545.

Contreras, D A and Brodie, N 2011 The Utility of Publicly-Available Satellite Imagery for Investigating Looting of Archaeological Sites in Jordan, Journal of Field Archaeology, 35(1): 101–114. DOI:×12707320296838.

Gandolfi, E and Cox, G 2018 New approaches to Open Data in Archaeology: the blockchain revolution. Paper presented to 2018 Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA) international conference, Tübingen, 19-23 March, 2018. Available at [Last accessed 17 June 2019].

Hardy, S A 2014 Using Open-Source Data to Identify Participation in the Illicit Antiquities Trade: A Case Study on the Cypriot Civil War, European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, 20(4): 459–474. DOI:

Hardy, S A 2015 Is looting-to-order “just a myth”? Open-source analysis of theft-to-order of cultural property, Cogent Social Sciences, 1(1): 1–22. DOI:

Hardy, S A 2017 Quantitative analysis of open-source data on metal detecting for cultural property: Estimation of the scale and intensity of metal detecting and the quantity of metal-detected cultural goods, Tong, S. (ed.) Cogent Social Sciences, 3(1): 1–49. DOI:

Hardy, S A 2018 Metal-Detecting for Cultural Objects until ‘There Is Nothing Left’: The Potential and Limits of Digital Data, Netnographic Data and Market Data for Open-Source Analysis, Arts, 7(3): 40. DOI:

Huffer, D and Graham, S 2018 Fleshing Out the Bones : Studying the Human Remains Trade with Tensorflow and Inception, Journal of Computer Applications in Archaeology, 1(1): 55–63. DOI:

Huffer, D, Wood, C and Graham, S 2019 What the Machine Saw: some questions on the ethics of computer vision and machine learning to investigate human remains trafficking, Internet Archaeology, DOI:

Lasaponara, R and Masini, N 2018 Space-Based Identification of Archaeological Illegal Excavations and a New Automatic Method for Looting Feature Extraction in Desert Areas, Surveys in Geophysics, 39(6): 1323–1346. DOI:

Mackenzie, S 2019 White-Collar Crime, Organised Crime and the Challenges of Doing Research on Art Crime. In: Hufnagel, S. and Chappel, D. (eds.) The Palgrave Handbook on Art Crime. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK. pp. 839–853. DOI:

Mackenzie, S and Yates, D 2016 Collectors on illicit collecting: Higher loyalties and other techniques of neutralization in the unlawful collecting of rare and precious orchids and antiquities, Theoretical Criminology, 20(3): 340–357. DOI:

Parcak, S, Gathings, D, Childs, C, Mumford, G and Cline, E 2016 Satellite evidence of archaeological site looting in Egypt: 2002 – 2013, Antiquity, 90(349): 188–205. DOI:

Paul, K 2018 Ancient Artifacts vs. Digital Artifacts: New Tools for Unmasking the Sale of Illicit Antiquities on the Dark Web, Arts, 7(2): 12. DOI:

Stone, E C 2008 Patterns of looting in southern Iraq, Antiquity, 82(315): 125–138. DOI:

Tapete, D, Cigna, F and Donoghue, D N M 2016 ‘ Looting marks ’ in space-borne SAR imagery: Measuring rates of archaeological looting in Apamea ( Syria ) with TerraSAR-X Staring Spotlight, Remote Sensing of Environment, 178(April): 42–58. DOI:

Tsiriogiannis, C and Tsiriogiannis, C 2016 Uncovering the Hidden Routes: Algorithms for Identifying Paths and Missing Links in Trade Networks. In: Brughmans, T., Collar, A., and Coward, F. (eds.) The Connected Past Challenges to Network Studies in Archaeology and history. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 103–122.

Zerbini, A and Fradley, M 2018 Higher Resolution Satellite Imagery of Israel and Palestine: Reassessing the Kyl-Bingaman Amendment, Space Policy, 44–45: 14–28. DOI:

S18.  Our little minions, part 3: small tools with major impact (Other)


Ronald Visser, Saxion University of Applied Sciences
Moritz Mennenga, Lower Saxony Institute of Historical Coastal Research
Florian Thiery, Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum

In our daily work, small self-made scripts, home-grown small applications and small hardware devices significantly help us to get work done. These little helpers – “little minions” – often reduce our workload or optimise our workflows, although they are not often presented to the outside world and the research community. Instead, we generally focus on presenting the results of our research and silently use our small tools during our research, without even pointing to them, and especially not to the source code or building instructions.

This session will focus on these small helpers – “little minions” – and we invite researchers to share their tools, so that the scientific community may benefit and – perhaps – spontaneously create “special minion interest groups”.

As we have seen in previous year’s “minion talks” there are a wide range of tools to be shared. These may be perfect examples for your own minion creation. A constantly expanding list of little minions can be found at

At CAA2018 in Tübingen, a normal session (see S6 [LH18]) spontaneously became a “Stand-up-Minion” lightning talk with a lot of nice pieces of source code, small tools and open/free software extensions for proprietary products. In 2018 we saw a tool for photogrammetric rectification of profile images of archaeological excavations, digital tools behind Bonify, and database solutions for excavations.

In Krakow at CAA2019, a lot of little minions of various research domains were published to the research community (see O29 [JUK19]). Martina Trognitz gave a deeper insight into Wikidata as a LOD minion addressing a “Linked and Open Bibliography for Aegean Glyptic in the Bronze Age”. In terms of text mining, Ronald Visser showed his “little text mining minion”. Florian Thiery and Allard Mees presented two small time minions to tame relative chronology and vague information in graph modelling using “Taming Time Tools: Alligator and Academic Meta Tool”. A minion to do “serial, fast and low cost 3D pottery on site documentation” was presented by Fanet Göttlich. Furthermore, Bart Vissers presented the minion “CpyPst3D: a tool for direct exchange of 3D features with attributes between GIS, 3D-modelling environment and CAD”. Spontaneous minions were additions to profileAAR by Moritz Mennenga, the use of Heurist for collecting minions by Ian Johnson, and a little minion by Gary Nobles to create a 3D volume object from point clouds of laser scans of excavation trenches.

This session invites short presentations, lightning talks – aka “minion talks” (max. 10 minutes including very short discussion) – of small coding pieces, software or hardware solutions, not only focusing on field work or excavation technology, associated evaluation or methodical approaches in data driven archaeology. Each “minion talk” should explain the innovative character and mode of operation of the digital tool. The only restriction is that the software, source code and/or building instructions are open and are or will be freely available (e.g. GitHub, GitLab, etc.). Proprietary products cannot be presented, but only open and freely available tools designed for them.

We invite speakers to submit a short abstract including an introduction into the tool, the link to the repository to get access to the source code and an explanation as to which group of researchers could benefit from the little minion and how. The tools may address the following issues, but are not limited to: data processing tools and algorithms, measuring tools, digital documentation tools, GIS-Plugins, hands-on digital inventions (for excavations), and data driven tools (e.g. Linked Data, CSV, Big Data). After previous years’ (pt.1 at CAA2017 Tübingen and pt.2 at CAA2018 Krakow) spontaneous success of “Stand-up-Science”, you will also have the opportunity to spontaneously participate and demonstrate what you have on your stick or laptop. If you want to participate without an abstract in the spontaneous section of the session, please send an email to us (even shortly before the conference). Please come and spontaneously introduce your little minion!

The minion session is designed for technically interested researchers of all domains who want to present their small minions with the focus on the technical domain and also for researchers who want to get ideas about what kinds of little minions are available to help in their own research questions, with the possibility to create spontaneously little minion special interest groups. All of us use minions in our daily work, and often tools for the same task are built multiple times. The reason for this reproduction is often that the focus in talks are on the projects, and not on the technical details. This session provides a slot for these tools that are considered too unimportant to be presented in the normal talks, but take important and extensive steps in our research.

As an outcome of the session, all presented tools and links to code repositories will be available for the CAA research community. We will also collect all little minions in a “CAA little minion catalogue” ( available for the public and extended in the future on a GitHub repository at


[JUK19] Institute of Archaeology of Jagiellonian University in Kraków 2019 CAA 2019 Kraków. Check Object Integrity. Book of Abstracts. Available at [Last accessed 18 July 2019].

[LH18] Lang, M., Hochschild, V. 2018 Abstracts CAA Tübingen 2018. Available at [Last accessed 18 July 2019].

S19.  From Spade to Joystick-Playable Theory and Critical History in Archaeological Games (Other)


Erik Champion, Curtin University
Juan Hiriart, University of Salford
Robert Houghton, University of Winchester

A summary of the theme/issue addressed by the session

Over the last decade, gaming technologies have been incorporated into many aspects of archaeological practice (Mol et al. 2017; Reinhard, 2018) and related heritage and historical fields (Chapman, 2016; Chapman et al. 2017; McCall, 2013). In many ways, the particular affordances of this new media offer new ways of examining archaeological data and communicating findings in museums, online websites, and formal educational environments. As the use of gaming technologies in this context have become more widespread, however, many questions in regard to the representational appropriateness of the medium and the theoretical and practical problems involved in designing and using them remain still largely unanswered.

We invite submissions addressing the historical questions related to digital archaeology and related computer applications when applied to and experienced in the medium of computer games and playable interactive experiences. Which issues could be better tackled in archaeology and heritage games? Which central related issues have writers raised but not resolved, and can we resolve them?

In particular, we are interested in answers to the following questions:

  1. How can historical methods and interpretations be transferred and evaluated in archaeology and heritage-related interactive, playable media?
  2. How can specific historic periods or historically distinctive sites and cultures be experienced and conveyed through interactive, playable media?

The importance and potential contributions of research in the field

In recent years, a growing community of scholars have focused their attention on the study of the intersections between history, archaeology and games, joining efforts in a field now established as historical game studies; “the study of those games that in some way represent the past or relate to discourses about it” (Chapman, 2016, p. 16). The scope of this strand can be positioned within this field of inquiry, as well as within the more recently proposed research area of archaeogaming, the “archaeology both in and of digital games” (Reinhard, 2018, p. 2).

There are very few workshops and interactive sessions at digital archaeology conferences in the area of game design and game theory. This session builds on a workshop on game prototyping at CAA Atlanta, which we believe was highly successful, but which did not fully address how historical problems in game design can be tackled. This session aims to address this topic, with a specific focus on questions around :

  • Problems of using gaming interactions in archaeological context (ethics, trivialisation of history, etc.)
  • Translation of historical / archaeological data into game form
  • Narrative and drama versus freedom and autonomy of the player
  • Historical accuracy versus immersion and engagement
  • Conveying historically situated events, places and perspectives through games

Proposed format for the session

This session invites 30-minute presentations, featuring a theoretical issue, and if possible, a practical demonstration or testing session of a history/heritage game project, prototype, or proof-of-concept. Ideas to actively involve the audience and to seek feedback are encouraged. Links to resources for proof of concept, prototyping and play-testing game ideas will be provided to participants before the session.

We invite all those interested in solving game-related problems in conveying digital archaeology: archaeologists, historians, researchers, game designers/developers, students and gamers. Possible topics to explore may include, but are by no means limited to:

  • Reconstruction of ancient spaces using gaming technology
  • Playful media in museums
  • Interdisciplinary projects involving games and archaeology
  • Participatory design methods to develop heritage games
  • Rapid prototyping
  • Teaching history and archaeology with games
  • Mobile apps and online platforms using playful interactions with history
  • Play and material culture
  • Game modding
  • Serious gaming
  • Board games and physical historical games
  • Evaluation of heritage games

An overview of the expected outcome of the session

After the conference we will pursue publishing opportunities and innovative ways of including prototypes and related game pitch media.


Chapman, A. (2016). Digital Games as History: How Videogames Represent the Past and Offer Access to Historical Practice.

Chapman, A., Foka, A., & Westin, J. (2017). Introduction: what is historical game studies? The Journal of Theory and Practice: Special section: Challenge the Past – Historical Games, 21(3), 358-371.

McCall, J. (2013). Gaming the past: Using video games to teach secondary history: Routledge.

Mol, A. A. A., Ariese-Vandemeulebroucke, C. E., Boom, K. H., & Politopoulos, A. (2017). The Interactive Past: Archaeology, Heritage & Video Games: Sidestone Press.

Reinhard, A. (2018). Archaeogaming: An introduction to archaeology in and of video games: Berghahn Books.

S20.  Computational classification in archaeology (Standard)


Oliver Nakoinz, Institut für Ur- und Frühgeschichte / Johanna Mestorf Academy, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Martin Hinz, Institute of Archaeological Sciences, Bern University

To make inferences about archaeological material that go beyond an individual object we have to decide what is similar and what is dissimilar. Reasoning about similarity has been at the heart of the archaeological method since its beginning. It defines what we understand as meaningful categories, such as a type, and underlies what we try to achieve with a typology. We group and label objects on the basis of more or, in most cases, less defined criteria. Predominantly, this is still done in an “impressionistic” or “intuitive” manner since more “objective” and “standardised” methods, e.g. geometric morphometrics, combined with automated recording of the artefacts, have not found a wide reception within archaeology. This limited uptake of “objective” and “standardised” methods may be caused by the perception that most approaches are complicated, general or reductionist.

In spite of past limited uptake, with current growing interest in pattern recognition, machine learning, and data mining, fundamental questions about classification are again placed to play a critical role. Building on the classification sessions at CAA2018 and CAA2019, this session focuses on topics and questions within computational classification, broadly construed. This session invites papers on new developments and methodological issues in computational classification, focused on:

  1. Integration of approaches:
    1. How can we integrate qualitative knowledge into classification processes?
    2. How can we integrate different classification approaches such as machine learning and traditional quantitative classification?
    3. How can we integrate quantitative classifications into qualitative archaeological interpretations? The question does not treat classifications as basic units of archaeological reasoning, as mentioned above, but rather as heuristic tools for developing interpretations.
  2. Method validation and reproducibility:
    1. Currently, there is not only a huge amount of data but there are also many classification algorithms and approaches available. This requires a much deeper understanding of the theoretical and methodological basics. How can we connect theory and method in this context?
    2. How can we evaluate different methods and estimate range, limitations and methodological constraints of different approaches?
    3.  How can we develop standards of method description and reproducibility?

The aim of the session is to provide a better understanding of classification methods and algorithms, and of validation techniques, since sound methodological knowledge is required to choose the right approaches among many competing approaches. In particular, it aims to promote a tight connection between method and theory, which is essential for a valid interpretation of classification results.

S21.  Hic sunt dracones – Improving knowledge exchange in the Semantic Web with Linked Open and FAIR data (Standard)


Florian Thiery, Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum
Martina Trognitz, Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities at Austrian Academy of Sciences
Ethan Gruber, American Numismatic Society

In historical maps, the phrase `Hic sunt dracones’ (‘here be dragons’) is used to describe areas which were unknown to the map creator [UW19]. Today the WWW gives researchers the possibility of sharing their research (data) and enables the community to participate in the scientific discourse to create previously unknown knowledge. But much of these shared data are not findable or accessible, thus resulting in modern ‘unknown data dragons’. Often these ‘data dragons’ lack connections to other datasets, i.e. they are not interoperable and in some cases even lack usefulness or usability. To overcome these shortcomings, a set of techniques, standards and recommendations can be used: Semantic Web and Linked Open Data, the FAIR principles and LOUD data.

Tim Berners-Lee introduced the concept of `Semantic Web’, wherein he suggested using the ideas of Open Data, semantically described resources and links, as well as usable (machine readable) interfaces and applications for creating a `Giant Global Graph’. In 2016 the FAIR principles were introduced [MW16]: research data and their metadata have to be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable. Linked Data is an essential part of the FAIR principles: “The Semantic Web isn’t just about putting data on the web. It is about making links, so that a person or machine can explore the web of data. [TBL06].” Publishing research data as HTTP URIs with RDF content containing links to other resources makes data FAIR.

On top of that, these data should be `open’ for access, re-use and universal participation [ODH19]. A five star rating system of openness [MH12] was introduced to rate Linked Data, i.e. “Linked Open Data (LOD) is Linked Data which is released under an open licence. [TBL06].” Furthermore, LOD have to be `usable’ for scientists and programmers to take advantage of all the LOD power. Following the LOUD principles[RS18] will make LOD even more FAIR.

Merging all these principles to create FAIR and LOUD research data results in the `Sphere 7 Data Model’ [FT19], which enables a wide array of digital humanities and archaeological (web-)applications using LOUD and FAIR data.

The Linked Data Cloud already offers research data repositories for certain archaeological and humanities domains. Popular examples of FAIR LOUD providers are: [EG18], [GS15], Pelagios [ISBS14], OpenContext [EC07], Portable Antiquities Scheme [EH18], ARIADNE [AN17] and there are more to come, e.g. NAVIS [TM18b], ARS3D [TKR19] and ARIADNEplus [AP19].

The development of more and more repositories poses challenges in handling the complex facets of data quality and completeness. This is especially valid for archaeological data, which are based on a complicated network of concepts from different knowledge domains. Moreover, it is necessary to include means of conveying knowledge about uncertainty in the data models to produce and publish transparent FAIR and LOUD data that can also describe specific stratigraphies or the (archaeological) context of objects. In order to be able to connect different data resources, exchange standards also have to be developed,  published, and applied.

To enable non-experts to engage with FAIR, and especially LOUD data, small tools – `minions’ – were created for different purposes, such as modelling a relative chronology (Alligator [DS18]), modelling and reasoning on vague edges in graph data (Academic Meta Tool [TM18]), creating annotated texts and images (Recogito [SBIS17]), and creating controlled vocabularies (Labeling System [TE16]). Furthermore, Wikidata [EGKMV14] not only offers community-driven data, but also provides a vast set of tools for using and interacting with it.

The goal of our session is to bring together experts on LOD and FAIR data, as well as anybody interested in learning about FAIR and LOUD data-driven publishing, applications and research projects based on this kind of data. We would like to discuss ideas for FAIR and LOUD data models as a basis for reproducible research and exchange in the Semantic Web.

This session is intended as a starting point for a CAA SIG on `Semantics and LOUD in Archaeology’. The core aim of this SIG is to use the CAA’s SIG format to raise awareness for Linked Data in archaeology by creating a friendly and open platform to discuss the role of LOUD and FAIR Data in archaeology, and to enable the CAA community to learn about  LOD basics. If you wish to join the SIG, feel free to contact us to be an active part of the discussion [SIG19] and help us to navigate archaeology away from the data dragons.

The success of the sessions on data quality in Linked Data at CAA 2017 and 2018 has raised awareness of the many challenges related to FAIR and LOUD data, and encourages pursuing the debate.

 For this session we invite contributions that address part or all of the following issues:

  • application of semantic web technologies, such as ontologies or RDF, to the archaeological domain
  • modelling archaeological artefacts as FAIR and LOUD data
  • modelling archaeological context, including the specificity of stratigraphy, uncertainty, and vagueness as FAIR and LOUD data
  • proposals for FAIR and LOUD data exchange standards
  • development of research tools producing or using FAIR and LOUD data
  • identifying sources and dangers of incorrect or ambiguous LOD
  • identifying duplicates across different LOD sources
  • keeping track of the provenance of data as a means of solving errors and identifying their source
  • setting up methodologies and tools in order to label or assess datasets based on their quality
  • dealing with ambiguities resulting from multiple links in the LOD cloud
  • computer vision or machine learning applications built upon controlled, semantic data

We encourage presenters to derive the problems from real-world datasets and to formulate proposals for solutions, preferably demonstrating (prototypes of) realised data-driven web applications. Since we target a broad and diverse audience because of the thematic relevance, the challenges described should also be integrated into their archaeological context (excavation, museum, archive, etc.).


[AN17] Aloia, N, Binding, C, Cuy, S, Doerr, M, Fanini, B, Felicetti, A, Fihn, J, Gavrilis, D, Geser, G, Hollander, H, Meghini, C, Niccolucci, F, Nurra, F, Papatheodorou, C, Richards, J, Ronzino, P, Scopigno, R, Theodoridou, M, Tudhope, D, Vlachidis, A, and Wright, H, 2017 Enabling European Archaeological Research: The ARIADNE E-Infrastructure, Internet Archaeology 43. DOI:

[AP19] ARIADNEplus 2019 ARIADNEplus: Advanced Research Infrastructure for Archaeological Data Networking in Europe Available at [Last accessed 18 July 2019]

[EC07] Kansa, E C 2007 Publishing Primary Data on the World Wide Web: and an Open Future for the Past. Technical Briefs in Historical Archaeology, 2(1):1-11. Availalbe at [Last accessed 18 July 2019]

[EG18] Gruber, E 2018 Linked Open Data for Numismatic Library, Archive and Museum Integration. In: Matsumoto, M. and Uleberg, E. (eds.) CAA2016. Oceans of Data. Proceedings of the 44th Conference on Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology. 2018 Oxford: Archaeopress. pp. 55–62.

[EGKMV14] Erxleben, F, Günther, M, Krötzsch, M, Mendez, J and Vrandečić, D 2014 Introducing Wikidata to the Linked Data Web. In: Mika, P., Tudorache, T., Bernstein, A., Welty, C., Knoblock, C., Vrandečić, D., Groth, P., Noy, N., Janowicz, K., and Goble, C. (eds.) The Semantic Web – ISWC 2014. Cham: Springer International Publishing. pp. 50–65. DOI:

[EH18] Harper, E 2018 Toys and the Portable Antiquities Scheme: A Source for Exploring Later Medieval Childhood in England and Wales, Childhood in the Past, 11(2): 85–99. DOI:

[FT19] Thiery, F 2019 Sphere 7 Data: LOUD and FAIR Data for the Research Community DOI:

[GS15] Gruber, E and Smith, T J 2015 Linked Open Greek Pottery. In: Giligny, F., Costa, L., Moscati, P., and Robert, S. (eds.) CAA2014. 21st Century Archaeology. Concepts, methods and tools. Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Conference on Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology. 2015 Oxford: Archaeopress. pp. 205–214.

[ISBS14] Isaksen, L, Simon, R, Barker, E T E and de Soto Cañamares, P 2014 Pelagios and the emerging graph of ancient world data. In: Proceedings of the 2014 ACM conference on Web science – WebSci ’14. 2014 Bloomington, Indiana, USA: ACM Press. pp. 197–201. DOI:

[MH12] Hausenblas, M 2012 5-star OPEN DATA. Available at [Last accessed 18 July 2019].

[MW16] Wilkinson, M D, Dumontier, M, Aalbersberg, Ij J, Appleton, G, Axton, M, Baak, A, Blomberg, N, Boiten, J-W, da Silva Santos, L B, Bourne, P E, Bouwman, J, Brookes, A J, Clark, T, Crosas, M, Dillo, I, Dumon, O, Edmunds, S, Evelo, C T, Finkers, R, Gonzalez-Beltran, A, Gray, A J G, Groth, P, Goble, C, Grethe, J S, Heringa, J, ’t Hoen, P A ., Hooft, R, Kuhn, T, Kok, R, Kok, J, Lusher, S J, Martone, M E, Mons, A, Packer, A L, Persson, B, Rocca-Serra, P, Roos, M, van Schaik, R, Sansone, S-A, Schultes, E, Sengstag, T, Slater, T, Strawn, G, Swertz, M A, Thompson, M, van der Lei, J, van Mulligen, E, Velterop, J, Waagmeester, A, Wittenburg, P, Wolstencroft, K, Zhao, J and Mons, B 2016 The FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship, Scientific Data, 3: 160018.

[ODH19] Open Data Handbook 2019 What is Open Data?. Available at [Last accessed 18 July 2019].

[RS18] Sanderson, R 2019 LOUD: Linked Open Usable Data. 28 May 2019. Available at [Last accessed 18 July 2019].

[SBIS17] Simon, R, Barker, E, Isaksen, L and De Soto Cañamares, P 2017 Linked Data Annotation Without the Pointy Brackets: Introducing Recogito 2, Journal of Map & Geography Libraries, 13(1): 111–132. DOI:

[SIG19] Thiery, F, Trognitz, M, Gruber, E, Tolle, K, Wigg-Wolf, D 2019 CAA SIG on “Semantics and LOUD in Archaeology” DOI:

[STMS18] Seidensticker, D, Thiery, F, Mees, A and Schmid, C 2018 Rdf Based Modelling Of Relative And Absolute Chronological Data: Examples From The Central African Rainforest And Roman Periodisation DOI:

[TBL06] Berners-Lee, T 2006 Linked Data. 27 July 2006. Available at [Last accessed 18 July 2019].

[TE16] Thiery, F and Engel, T 2016 The Labeling System: The Labelling System: A Bottom-up Approach for Enriched Vocabularies in the Humanities. In: Campana, S., Scopigno, R., Carpentiero, G., and Cirillo, M. (eds.) CAA2015. Keep the Revolution Going. Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Conference on Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology. 2016 Oxford: Archaeopress. pp. 259–268.

[TKR19] Thiery, F, Karmacharya, A and Rokohl, L 2019 ARS3D – Documenting facts and interpretations of African Red Slip Ware DOI:

[TM18] Thiery, F and Mees, A 2018 Taming the chronology of South Gaulish Samian found at Hadrian’s Wall and the German Limes using Linked Open Data DOI:

[TM18b] Thiery, F and Mees, A 2018 Taming Ambiguity – Dealing With Doubts In Archaeological Datasets Using Lod DOI:

[UW19] Wuttke, U 2019 “Here be dragons”: Open Access to Research Data in the Humanities. ulrikewuttke. Available at [Last accessed 17 April 2019].

S22.  Bayesian Approaches to Archaeological Questions (Standard)


Martin Hinz, Institut für Archäologische Wissenschaften, Universität Bern
Caroline Heitz, Institut für Archäologische Wissenschaften, Universität Bern
Mirco Brunner, Institut für Archäologische Wissenschaften, Universität Bern
Nils Müller-Scheeßel, Institut für Ur- und Frühgeschichte, Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel

It is now about 29 years since Bayesian techniques triggered a revolution in 14C calibration (Buck et al. 1991), and at about the same time the first Bayesian approaches were applied beyond pure dating questions. The methodology for archaeology was then introduced to the archaeological public 24 years ago by Buck et al. (1996) in a comprehensive textbook. It may be time now, and through the CAA in the motherland of Bayesian archaeology, also a good opportunity to sum up the current state and new developments in this field and to discuss future developments.

Which of the high-flying expectations of the pioneering days have been confirmed, which developments have led to dead ends? What does Bayesian statistics do today in archaeology, what is its significance in relation to chronological questions, but above all, where is it otherwise applied besides this field? Where are there still development potentials, and how can Bayesian thinking fertilize archaeological discussions? What are new, exciting and innovative fields in which Bayesian approaches can prove themselves in the future?

For this session, we invite presentations that explore the limits and possibilities of Bayesian statistics in and outwith the context of chronological questions, emphasizing those that involve these procedures beyond the scope of dating archaeological objects, features or sites (e.g. analysis of satellite, bioarchaeological, demographic and spatial data, hypothesis testing, and in material culture studies). We would like to explore how the methods from this field of statistics, the influence of which in general is growing in scientific research, and the thinking associated with it can enrich the archaeological sciences in general, and where the potential for the next revolution lies.


Buck, C.E., Kenworthy, J.B., Litton, C.D., Smith, A.F.M., 1991. Combining archaeological and radiocarbon information: a Bayesian approach to calibration. Antiquity 65, 808–821.

Buck, C.E., Cavanagh, W.G., Litton, C.D., 1996. Bayesian approach to interpreting archaeological data, Statistics in practice J. Wiley and Sons. John Wiley, Chichester [etc.].

S23.  Large-scale and intensive computational workflows in archaeological remote sensing: from big data to data science (Standard)


Francesc C. Conesa, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge
Hector Orengo, Catalan Institute of Classical Archaeology
Arnau García, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge

The last few years have seen an unprecedented advance in the application of computational approaches for the remote analysis of archaeological landscapes, sites and features. This progress is mostly related to improvements in availability, diversity and quality of remote sensing (RS) data acquired from multiple platforms (ranging from satellite imagery to UAVs) and sensors (e.g. multispectral, radar, lidar, thermal) but also to increased access to high performance computing. This is partly related to the development of multi-petabyte catalogues of geospatial datasets linked to cloud computing environments accessible through web-based application programming interfaces associated to interactive development environments. These have granted the research community unparalleled access to RS data and computing power, and facilitated the development of large-scale, multi-temporal and multi-sensor analyses of the Earth’s surface. These environments have also been instrumental in the implementation of intensive computational processes, such as machine learning-based data classification, multi-scale topographic analysis, long-term time series analysis, and so on.

Between these computing platforms Amazon’s Earth on AWS, ESA’s DIAS, ESA’s TED and  Google Earth Engine are some of the most popular. Earth Engine (Gorelick et al 2017) in particular can boost a fast-growing number of applications (see for instance Agapiou 2016; Liss et al. 2017; Rayne et al. 2017; Orengo and Petrie 2017, 2018; Garcia-Molsosa et al. 2019; Orengo and Garcia-Molsosa 2019) that cover a wide range of archaeological topics.

However, given their underlying computing infrastructure formed by clusters of low-end servers, which have severe limitations on the amount of data each individual server can handle, geospatial cloud-based platforms are not adequate to perform non-parallelizable processes or operations requiring large RAM amounts. For large full map operations, such as cost surfaces and watersheds or even aggregated statistics, alternative computing methods need to be employed.

This session will aim at showcasing and discussing new computational workflows for the treatment and analysis of large or complex RS datasets. We therefore encourage submissions that highlight innovative RS archaeological applications in the following or similar topics:

  • Implementation of high-performance computing workflows
  • Application of cloud-based computing platforms to archaeological RS problems
  • Use of multi-petabyte repositories of geospatial datasets
  • Complex computing or multiplatform workflows
  • RS analysis of large areas
  • RS data cleaning and preparation
  • Integration of multi-sensor or complex types of RS data


Agapiou, A. (2017). Remote sensing heritage in a petabyte-scale: satellite data and heritage Earth Engine© applications. Int. J. Digit. Earth 10: 85–102.

Garcia, A., Orengo, H., Conesa, F., Green, A. and Petrie, C. (2018). Remote Sensing and Historical Morphodynamics of Alluvial Plains. The 1909 Indus Flood and the City of Dera Gazhi Khan (Province of Punjab, Pakistan). Geosciences 9: 21.

Gorelick, N., Hancher, M., Dixon, M., Ilyushchenko, S., Thau, D. and Moore, R. (2017). Google Earth Engine: Planetary-scale geospatial analysis for everyone. Remote Sens. Environ. 202: 18-27.

Liss, B., Howland, M. D. and Levy, T. E. (2017). Testing Google Earth Engine for the automatic identification and vectorization of archaeological features: A case study from Faynan, Jordan. J. Archaeol. Sci. Reports 15: 299-304.

Orengo, H. A. and Petrie, C. A. (2017). Large-scale, multi-temporal remote sensing of palaeo-river networks: A case study from Northwest India and its implications for the Indus Civilisation. Remote Sens. 9: 1-20.

Orengo, H. A. and Petrie, C. A. (2018). Multi-scale relief model (MSRM): a new algorithm for the visualization of subtle topographic change of variable size in digital elevation models. Earth Surf. Process. Landforms 43: 1361-1369.

Orengo, H. A. and Garcia, A. (2019, in press). A brave new world for archaeological survey : automated machine learning-based potsherd detection using high-resolution drone imagery. J. Archaeol. Sci.

Rayne, L., Bradbury, J., Mattingly, D., Philip, G., Bewley, R. and Wilson, A. (2017). From Above and on the Ground: Geospatial Methods for Recording Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa. Geosciences 7: 100

S25.  Paleoenvironments in spatial archaeological modelling applications (Standard)


Christian Willmes, Institute of Geography, University of Cologne
Volker Hochschild, Department of Geography, University of Tübingen
Michael Märker, Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra e dell’Ambiente, Università di Pavia
Espen Uleberg, Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo
Mieko Matsumoto, Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo
Felix Henselowsky, Institute of Geography, University of Heidelberg

Many archaeological modelling applications incorporate explicit paleoenvironmental data and models. These data are crucial for the development of spatially and thus (paleo)environmentally explicit models and simulations in archaeology, such as Distribution Models or Agent Based Models.

Maybe paleoclimate models like the paleo models for Pre-Industrial, Mid-Holocene, LGM, and LIG time slices are the most commonly used explicit models of paleoenvironments in the archaeological and prehistorical modelling and simulation domain to model long term paleoclimate change? Currently, there seems to be a massive over-representation of these “well known” time slices in archaeological and prehistorical modelling applications and studies. How to fill the gaps in between theses time slices, is one important question we want to address in this session.

There are many forms and possibilities for the integration of explicit paleoenvironmental information into modelling applications in an archaeological context. Also contextualization and visualisation through maps of combined archaeological and paleoenvironmental data can contribute to new understanding of the past.

Examples of further paleoenvironmental data used in archaeology are paleocoastlines modelled according to sea level oscillations, glaciation extents at different spatio-temporal contexts, paleoenvironmental data derived from sedimentological and palynological investigations, paleo-DEM modelling, and models of paleoriver systems and paleolakes. Many more examples of this kind already exist and are possible to create.

In this session we want to present and discuss case studies that deal with the modelling of explicit paleoenvironmental data for integration into archaeological modelling and simulation applications. We encourage examples of archaeological modelling and simulation application that integrate explicit paleoenvironmental models, presentations of paleoenvironmental datasets and models, spatio-temporal data management solutions, or conceptual approaches and ideas for modelling of environmental change in long term archaeological simulations. We want to invite contributions from all relevant sub-disciplines, which study computer based human/environment interaction. We are looking forward to discussions and to breaking up disciplinary boundaries in a strongly interdisciplinary topic, and also to improve future modelling applications, visualizations and possibilities for collaboration in the direction of consistent paleoenvironmental and archaeological modelling.

S26.  iN Deep: Cultural Presence in Immersive Educational Experiences (Other)


Elaine A. Sullivan, University of California Santa Cruz
Sara Perry, University of York
Paola Derudas, Lunds Universitet

Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (XR) technologies are increasingly incorporated into university classrooms and public education in the GLAM sector (galleries, libraries, archives, and museums). The potential to use these technologies to engage students and the public with archaeological knowledge (such as site reconstructions, artefacts, or re-imagining the activities of past peoples) is exciting, but these forms of representation, including the use of individual headsets, tablets, and personal mobile phones, come with particular challenges. In his book Critical Gaming (2015), Eric Champion argued that virtual realities should express ‘cultural presence,’ the meaning and significance of a time, place, or object to people of the past. Hyper-reality, photogrammetry, and ever-increasing levels of ‘accuracy’ in 3D models do not inherently convey aspects of cultural significance and meaning, and many VR/AR/XR experiences fall dramatically short of the goal of expressing the importance of past places and things to their original communities. Emphasis on technological and (especially) hardware innovation often deflects attention from critically engaging with questions of meaning-making.

This panel asks those creating or intensely using Archaeology VR/AR/XR to focus NOT on software, hardware, or the latest technical innovations, but on how we as archaeologists can better design, create, or curate experiences that inspire and educate students and the public on the cultural importance of archaeological spaces, objects or themes. What are successful techniques to aid a visitor to better understand the original context of an object now placed in a (often far off) museum or gallery? How can university instructors incorporate the (problematically individual) headset or mobile experiences into pedagogy to provide meaningful and active student learning? How can complex data be usefully layered or curated so that multiple types of museum visitors or classes could find it informative and emotionally resonant? How can we turn these increasingly popular technologies into serious spaces of cultural learning and curiosity, moving beyond the initial ‘wow’ factor?


Instead of traditional 20 minute talks, we request that participants present 8-10 minutes in depth on one VR/AR/XR experience they have designed and/or utilized in a university or GLAM setting (not a general review of multiple types of work). We ask participants to present and explain aspects of design and interaction and their intent in that experience; or, if the content was not designed by the presenter, how content was incorporated, curated, or enhanced for the classroom or GLAM experience. Specifically, we ask presenters to think thoughtfully and critically about how we might collectively learn to use these technologies in more informed ways, including: What types of interactions with students or the public have shown promise, and how might we build on those successes? What practices have not worked, and how might we learn from our failures? What particular aspects of archaeological and cultural heritage knowledge are best emphasized in the VR/AR/XR experience? What is key to re-using content created by others, including content created by non-archaeologists?

The session will be divided into four sections:

  • 1st group of presentations, ~five presenters (10 minutes per presentation)
  • a ~30 minute ‘hands-on’ period** where participants and the audience will be able to engage/interact directly with the presented content from both presentation groups
  • 2nd group of presentations, ~five presenters (10 minutes per presentation)
  • concluded by a ~30-minute Q&A session for the full group of presenters and audience

We hope this format will allow the audience to engage directly with the content before opening up the session for questions and comments. The goal is to turn this session into a workshop that helps all present work more critically with VR/AR/XR content and improve how we communicate scholarly information at the university and GLAM setting.

**We therefore ask participants to commit to bringing their discussed content uploaded or downloadable in some format that can be shared directly with others: including (but not limited to) VR headsets, Google cardboard, AR apps pre-installed on tablets or smart phones, etc.


Champion, E. (2015). Critical Gaming: Interactive History and Virtual Heritage. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.

S27.  CAA Scripting Languages Hackathon II – Unconference! (Other)


Clemens Schmid, Institute of Archaeological Sciences, University of Bern
Martin Hinz, Institute of Archaeological Sciences, University of Bern

Scientific scripting languages are a very powerful tool for scientists to translate research questions and quantitative analysis into a machine-readable, executable and thus reproducible form. In order to promote and support their dissemination to the archaeological community, we have de facto established the Special Interest Group for Scientific Scripting Languages in Archaeology at CAA2019 in Krakow. To celebrate the de jure affiliation of this SIG to the CAA organization in 2020, this session will provide an open hackerspace for users of scripting languages.

The general session layout will follow the style of an Unconference. We will not define a session topic nor require standardised presentations. Instead all participants will collectively identify one or multiple worthwhile ToDos for the time together. That might be a missing research software package for a scripting language like R or Python, a useful webapp, that would immediately simplify the lives of archaeologists, or a Best Practice Guide for a typical task in archaeological data analysis.

After this phase of topic identification, we form groups in which the identified tasks are discussed and worked on. It is unlikely that it will be possible to complete the project during this session, but the work can continue afterwards, as all results in data, code and text will be openly accessible online.

We invite users of all kinds of scripting languages (R, Python, Javascript, Bash, SQL, …) in archaeology to join us on this endeavour. The participants will have the chance to pitch interesting project ideas, work together, learn from each other and form lasting connections beyond the typical barriers of academic hierarchies. Ideally we will also start to close one or multiple gaps in the archaeological research software landscape during this session.

We highly value an open and welcoming environment for this event and explicitly adopt the Code of Conduct established by the rOpenSci community for their Unconference meetings:

This session is organized by the SIG SSLA ( and the working group ISAAK (

S28.  The archaeological perspective on the use of satellite data (Standard)


Deodato Tapete, Italian Space Agency (ASI)
Francesca Cigna, Italian Space Agency (ASI)
Arianna Traviglia, Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) – Centre for Cultural Heritage Technology

It is undisputable that satellite data are valuable to support different types of archaeological activities such as prospection, surveying, regional mapping, condition and damage assessment. The ever-growing scientific literature provides evidence of numerous cases of successful implementation (Agapiou & Lysandrou, 2015). Online visualisation platforms such as Google Earth and Bing Maps have massively contributed to make satellite images a resource for archaeologists (Luo et al., 2018), and cloud computing facilities such as Google Earth Engine are increasingly exploited by archaeologists to analyse multi-temporal datasets (Agapiou, 2017; Orengo & Petrie, 2017).

However, the use of satellite data is not yet an established practice across the whole international community of archaeologists. Image processing expertise is mostly clustered around multi-disciplinary teams (Tapete, 2018; 2019), and some teams of field archaeologists still do not utilise satellite images in daily practice, and show limited enthusiasm in these technologies for everyday use (Ruciński et al., 2015; Rączkowski & Mickiewicz, 2019) privileging ad hoc aerial imagery.

The evidence gathered from the literature suggests that archaeologists have so far mostly exploited optical satellite images collected at high to very high spatial resolution (from 5 to less than 1 m). Less frequent is, instead, the use of other data types, such as Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and multispectral imagery at lower resolution (> 5 m), e.g. Sentinel-2. Some recent studies attempted to demonstrate the value of these data (e.g., Tapete & Cigna, 2018). However, users have paid little attention to these space-borne sensors (as highlighted, e.g., in Opitz & Hermann, 2018), despite the costless accessibility, global spatial coverage, high temporal revisit and ease of data handling. Training and multi-disciplinary collaboration were proved to be effective gap-bridging actions to promote the use of new, or long-existing but yet-to-exploit, space technologies by non-experts and beginners (Tapete & Cigna, 2016). Training is also the best way to build capacity and disseminate standard methodologies (e.g., Rayne et al., 2017). This also aligns with the efforts currently made by space agencies (e.g., the European Space Agency – ESA) to make users more acquainted with satellite data. Nevertheless, in the end it is up to the users to perceive such particular technology as useful to their scopes, and make it work in the daily practice.

To capture these divergent trends across the community, we propose to hold this standard session to understand the directions in which the use of satellite data in computer applications for archaeology is heading, based on the direct feedback from archaeologists.

The overall aim is to bring together archaeologists who already work with satellite data and scholars who can demonstrate the spectrum of archaeological challenges and unsolved problems to which satellite data can try to provide a solution.

We will select a range of papers including, but not limited to, the following topics and open questions:

  • Which archaeological domains already benefit from the use of satellite data?
  • Which barriers currently prevent further exploitation or make some types of data more used than others (e.g., optical vs. SAR)?
  • Which requirements and expectations archaeologists have and would like to see addressed by current and future satellite data, so they can use these images as a resource for their daily practice?
  • How pure observations from satellite images can be fed into archaeological interpretation and understanding of anthropogenic processes (e.g., settlement patterns or damage mapping into causal relationships between social and political organisation and environmental conditions)?
  • What are the lessons learnt and best practices in the use of large amounts of satellite images for archaeological and cultural heritage recording and creation of databases?
  • Which role automation can play to solve technical challenges in big data handling?

And we will welcome examples of capacity building initiatives contributing to make satellite data and standard processing routines more accessible to users.

In addition to the open call, we will solicit the submission of papers from scholars who can provide the evidence base to hold this discussion.

We expect that this session will attract a diverse audience, not limited to scholars and researchers who are highly skilled in processing satellite data, but also encompassing archaeologists, heritage practitioners and younger generations. The latter may not be already familiar or aware of these technologies, but could help to target the areas where satellite data can be better used and disseminated, and offer real use-cases with clear archaeological research questions to address. The interaction with this cross-section of the community will allow us to collect user needs and feedback in the context of the current scenario of satellite missions (e.g., EC Copernicus programme) and future developments.


Agapiou, A. & Lysandrou, V. (2015) Remote sensing archaeology: tracking and mapping evolution in European scientific literature from 1999 to 2015. J. Archaeol. Sci. Rep., 4, 192-200.

Agapiou, A. (2017) Remote sensing heritage in a petabyte-scale: satellite data and heritage Earth Engine© applications. International Journal of Digital Earth 10, 85–102.

Luo, L., Wang, X., Guo, H., Lasaponara, R., Shi, P., Bachagha, N., Li, L., Yao, Y., Masini, N., Chen, F., Ji, W., Cao, H., Li, C., Hu, N. (2018) Google Earth as a Powerful Tool for Archaeological and Cultural Heritage Applications: A Review. Remote Sens., 10, 1558.

Opitz, R. & Herrmann, J. (2018) Recent trends and long-standing problems in archaeological remote sensing. Journal of Computer Applications in Archaeology, 1(1): 19-41.

Orengo, H.A. & Petrie, C.A. (2017) Large-Scale, Multi-Temporal Remote Sensing of Palaeo-River Networks: A Case Study from Northwest India and its Implications for the Indus Civilisation. Remote Sens., 9, 735.

Rączkowski, W. & Ruciński, D. (2019) Cooling down enthusiasm: potential vs. practice in application of EO techniques in archaeological research and heritage management – have lessons been learned? ESA Living Planet Symposium, Milan, 17 May 2019.

Rayne, L., Bradbury, J., Mattingly, D., Philip, G., Bewley, R., Wilson, A. (2017) From Above and on the Ground: Geospatial Methods for Recording Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa. Geosciences, 7, 100.

Ruciński D., Rączkowski W., Niedzielko J. (2015)A Polish perspective on optical satellite data and methods for archaeological sites prospection. Proc. SPIE 9535, Third International Conference on Remote Sensing and Geoinformation of the Environment (RSCy2015), id. 95350U.

Tapete, D. (2018) Remote Sensing and Geosciences for Archaeology. Geosciences, 8, 41.

Tapete, D. (2019) Earth Observation, Remote Sensing, and Geoscientific Ground Investigations for Archaeological and Heritage Research. Geosciences, 9, 161.

Tapete, D. & Cigna, F. (2017) Trends and perspectives of space-borne SAR remote sensing for archaeological landscape and cultural heritage applications. J. Archaeol. Sci. Rep. 14, 716–726.

Tapete, D. & Cigna, F. (2018) Appraisal of Opportunities and Perspectives for the Systematic Condition Assessment of Heritage Sites with Copernicus Sentinel-2 High-Resolution Multispectral Imagery. Remote Sens., 10, 561.

S31.  Modelling socio-ecological dynamics of past societies: recent advancements and new perspectives (Standard)


Marta Krzyzanska, University of Cambridge
Francesco Carrer, Newcastle University

This session aims to explore the diversity of computational methods used to model the relationship between environmental factors, subsistence systems and the socio-economic organisation of past societies. Ranging from studies focused on the impact of landscape characteristics and resources availability on mobile and semi-mobile societies, to those concerned with the resilience of agricultural strategies and the rise and collapse of complex socio-political systems in the context of changing environmental conditions: human-environmental interactions and the responses and adaptations to environmental change have been major themes in archaeology across different time periods and geographic locations. Computational modelling and statistical analysis have been commonly applied in these contexts and provide major contributions to their research. For example, agent-based modelling helps to explore the dynamics of human socioecological systems while models correlating paleoenvironmental and archaeological data provide insight into the relationship between cultural and environmental change and populations dynamics. The increasing availability and improved spatial and temporal resolution of paleoenvironmental reconstructions also enables a more widespread use of models derived from ecology, such as ecological niche models, which stimulates further methodological developments.

We are looking to bring together papers that showcase the advances in the modelling of dynamics between human societies and the environment either through specific archaeological case studies or broader methodological reflection. This may include papers that integrate archaeological and paleoenvironmental records to reveal the patterns of correlation between the two or model the availability of resources in the landscape, or papers that explicitly model the dynamics of human socioecological systems and the effects of environmental change on the organisational structure of past societies and their subsistence strategies. We also invite studies concerned with the methodological developments, either through the critical reflection on, and the improvement of existing methods of analysis, or via new modelling approaches and the novel applications of computational methods used in the context of human-environmental interactions. We also welcome papers concerned with the quality of available environmental and archaeological data, which explore its impact on performance and the results of existing models, for example through the sensitivity analysis or by explicitly modelling uncertainty in the data.

S32.  Archaeological network research 1: spatial and temporal networks (Standard)


Philip Verhagen, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Department of Humanities
Tom Brughmans, University of Barcelona
Aline Deicke, Digital Academy, Academy of Sciences and Literature | Mainz
Natasa Djurdjevac Conrad, Zuse Institute Berlin
Grégoire van Havre, Universidade Federal do Piauí
Philip Riris, University College London

Explicitly including spatial or temporal information in network research is something that has come naturally to archaeologists. Our discipline has a long tradition of spatial analysis and of exploring long-term change in datasets and past phenomena. These are two areas where archaeologists did not look towards mathematicians, physicists and sociologists for inspiration, but rather developed original network methods based on a purely archaeological tradition. As such, they are some of the most promising research topics through which archaeologists can make unique contributions to network science.

But recognition of these contributions has still to materialise due to a number of challenges. How can we ensure these archaeology-inspired approaches become known, explored and applied in other disciplines? How precisely do these spatial and temporal archaeological approaches differ from existing network methods? What existing spatial and temporal approaches in archaeology show equal potential for inspiring new network research?

The spatial phenomena archaeologists address in their network research are rather narrow and can be grouped into three broad categories: movement-, visibility-, and interaction-related phenomena. The aim of network techniques in space syntax focus on exploring movement through urban space, whereas least-cost path networks tend to be used on landscape scales. Neither of these approaches have equivalents in network science (Verhagen et al. 2019). Archaeology has a strong tradition in visibility studies and is also pioneering its more diverse use in network research (Brughmans and Brandes 2017). Most visibility network analyses tend to explore theorised visual signalling networks or visual control over cultural and natural features. Most network methods used for exploring interaction potential between past communities or other cultural features belong to either absolute or relative distance approaches: such as maximum distance network, K-nearest neighbours (sometimes referred to as proximal point analysis (PPA)), beta-skeletons, relative neighbourhood network or Gabriel graph. These, however, are derived from computational geometry and have a long tradition in network research and computer science. Moreover, this is a not a field in which archaeologists seem to push the boundaries of network science (with perhaps a few exceptions; Knappett et al. 2008).

There are a few commonalities between the archaeological applications of these movement, visibility and interaction networks. They tend to be network data representations of traditional archaeological research approaches (e.g. viewsheds, least-cost paths, urban settlement structure, community interaction), and they tend to be applied on spatially large scales with the exception of space syntax (inter-island connectivity, landscape archaeology, regional visual signalling systems). How can we diversify spatial archaeological network research? How can we go beyond making network copies of what archaeologists have done before and rather draw on the unique feature of network data (the ability to formally represent dependencies) to develop even more original spatial network techniques? This seems to us like an eminently possible task for archaeologists.

Despite being at the core of archaeological research, the use of temporal (or longitudinal) network data is common but incredibly narrow in archaeological network research. By far the most common application is to consider dating evidence for nodes or edges and to chop up the resulting networks into predefined categories that could have a typological, culture historical or chronological logic (e.g. artefact type A; Roman Republican; 400-300 BC). This process results in subnetworks sometimes referred to as snapshots, the structure of which are explored in chronological order like a filmstrip. A significantly less common approach is to represent processes of network structural change as dynamic network models (e.g. Bentley et al. 2005), or to represent dynamic processes taking place on top of network structures (e.g. Graham 2006).

This research focus of temporal archaeological network research is not at all representative of the diverse and critical ways archaeologists study temporal change. How can the archaeological research tradition inspire new temporal network approaches? How can the use of dynamic network models become more commonly applied? What temporal approaches from network science have archaeologists neglected to adopt? How can, for example, studies modelling the evolution of networks suggest explanations for the levels of complexity observed in past networks?

This session welcomes papers on archaeological network research including but not exclusive to these challenges. We also invite you to present your work on the topics of missing data, cross-disciplinary collaboration and teaching networks in the linked session ‘Archaeological network research 2’.


Bentley, R., Lake, M., & Shennan, S. (2005). Specialisation and wealth inequality in a model of a clustered economic network. Journal of Archaeological Science, 32(9), 1346–1356.

Brughmans, T., & Brandes, U. (2017). Visibility network patterns and methods for studying visual relational phenomena in archaeology. Frontiers in Digital Humanities: Digital Archaeology, 4(17).

Graham, S. (2006). Networks, Agent-Based Models and the Antonine Itineraries: Implications for Roman Archaeology. Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology, 19(1), 45–64.

Knappett, C., Evans, T., & Rivers, R. (2008). Modelling maritime interaction in the Aegean Bronze Age. Antiquity, 82(318), 1009–1024. Retrieved from

Verhagen, P., Nuninger, L. & Groenhuijzen, M. R. (2019). Modelling of pathways and movement networks in archaeology: an overview of current approaches. In: Verhagen, P., J. Joyce & M.R. Groenhuijzen (eds.) Finding the Limits of the Limes: Modelling Demography, Economy and Transport on the Edge of the Roman Empire. Cham: Springer, p. 217-249.

S33.  Archaeological network research 2: missing data, cross-disciplinary collaboration and teaching networks (Standard)


Grégoire van Havre, Universidade Federal do Piauí – Department of Archaeology
Tom Brughmans, University of Barcelona
Aline Deicke, Digital Academy, Academy of Sciences and Literature | Mainz
Natasa Djurdjevac Conrad, Zuse Institute Berlin
Grégoire van Havre, Universidade Federal do Piauí
Philip Riris, University College London
Philip Verhagen, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Department of Humanities

New challenges emerge as network research becomes ever more common in archaeology: can we develop new network methods for dealing with missing archaeological data, how can cross-disciplinary collaborations be leveraged to make original contributions to both archaeology and network science, and how do we teach archaeological network research in the classroom?

Although a range of techniques exist in both archaeology and network science for dealing with missing data and data uncertainty, the fragmentation of the material record presents a challenge – made more explicit through the use of formal methods – that is hard to tackle. Much of the task of identifying network science equivalents of archaeological missing data techniques remains to be done, and there is a real need for identifying how archaeological approaches could lead to the development of new network mathematical and statistical techniques. But by far most pressing is the need to formally express data uncertainty and absence in our archaeological network research.

Like many other aspects of archaeological network research, this challenge should be faced through cross-disciplinary collaboration with mathematicians, statisticians and physicists. Archaeological network research has a great track record of such collaborations, but not all of them have been successful and not all archaeologists find it equally easy to identify collaborators in other disciplines. How can we facilitate the communication between scholars with different disciplinary backgrounds? How can we foster archaeological network research that holds potential contributions to archaeology as well as other disciplines? What events and resources should be developed to provide a platform for cross-disciplinary contact and collaboration?

Now that archaeological network research is slowly becoming recognised as an archaeological subdiscipline in its own right, the topic increasingly finds itself in the curriculum of postgraduate modules and summer schools. But this rapid growth is almost exclusively marked by research and has neglected the development of teaching resources and approaches. What resources are necessary? What lines of argumentation and case studies are particularly powerful for convincing students of the need to see network research as part of our discipline? Which foundations (e.g. data literacy, statistics, and more) have to be laid to facilitate the widespread adoption of formal methods in general into our research processes?

This session welcomes papers on archaeological network research including but not exclusive to these new challenges.  We also invite you to present your work on the topics of spatial and temporal networks in the linked session ‘Archaeological network research 1’.

S34.  More seats at the table: Digital inclusion, Citizen Science, and enhanced realities (Standard)


Wendy A Morrison, Chilterns Conservation Board
Edward Peveler, Chilterns Conservation Board

There is a long tradition of involving the amateur enthusiast in archaeology (Chapman 1989), and this enthusiasm has not waned in the digital age. Technology has for some time now allowed online and virtual participation in the process of archaeological enquiry, and yet each year new and innovative ways of applying these techniques are developed and built upon. This session calls for papers that explore the use of web-based and hand-held applications for engaging non-specialists in archaeological prospection and interpretation.

We take this to mean any aspect of public engagement, but most specifically archaeological approaches to Citizen Science such as have been emerging over the last decade (Duckers 2013; Smith 2014; Lock and Ralston 2019; Lambers et al. 2019)

A citizen science approach allows a route to unprecedented engagement with the public. Not only are many types of digital data relatively restricted to expert users, but geographic information systems (GIS) are also generally restricted to professional users, by both licence fees and knowledge barriers to their use. We would like to hear from projects that use open source GIS to engage with audiences, many of whom will never have heard of LiDAR or GIS. We would also welcome submissions that address communities that traditionally are seen as not having been interested in archaeology or who have barriers to involvement in Citizen Science, such as including the differently abled who may not be able to get out to visit sites, the economically disadvantaged who may not have the resources to go to places of archaeological or historical interest, and young people, who statistically are more difficult to engage in cultural heritage activities past the age of 13 (Lipscomb 2003).

We are looking to bring together researchers who are working with, but not limited to, bespoke web-GIS and heritage asset management systems.  Following on from the arguments of Duckers (2013), archaeologists can now put the task of interpreting the landscape into the hands of the public, understanding that ‘experts’ do not know the landscape as well as those who live in it, work in it, and in many cases have spent decades exploring it. This approach has the benefit of assisting to interpret and map archaeology over wide survey areas. In addition to Duckers, Curley et al. (2018)andLambers et al. (2019)  have reported on the ‘efficiency’ of different techniques for analysts, both expert and non-expert, and presentations that compare these outputs would be welcome.


Bekele, M.K., Pierdicca, R., Frontoni, E., Malinverni, E.S. and Gain, J., 2018. A survey of augmented, virtual, and mixed reality for cultural heritage. Journal on Computing and Cultural Heritage (JOCCH), 11(2), p.7.

Berlino, A., Caroprese, L., La Marca, A., Vocaturo, E. and Zumpano, E., 2019. Augmented Reality for the Enhancement of Archaeological Heritage: a Calabrian Experience.

Chapman, W., 1989. Toward an institutional history of archaeology: British archaeologists and allied interests in the 1860s. Tracing Archaeology’s Past: The Historiography of Archaeology. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale, pp.151-162.

Curley, D., Flynn, J., & Barton, K. 2018. Bouncing Beams Reveal Hidden Archaeology. Archaeology Ireland, 32(2), 24-29.

Duckers, G. L. 2013. Bridging the ‘geospatial divide’ in archaeology: community-based interpretation of LIDAR data. Internet Archaeology, 35.

Eve, S., 2012. Augmenting phenomenology: using augmented reality to aid archaeological phenomenology in the landscape. Journal of archaeological method and theory, 19(4), pp.582-600.

Lambers, K., Verschoof-van der Vaart, W. B., & Bourgeois, Q. P. (2019). Integrating Remote Sensing, Machine Learning, and Citizen Science in Dutch Archaeological Prospection. Remote Sensing, 11(7), 794.

Lipscomb, G. 2003. “I Guess It Was Pretty Fun”: Using WebQuests in the Middle School Classroom, The Clearing House, 76:3, 152-155.

Lock, G. and Ralston, I., 2019. Hillforts: Britain, Ireland and the Nearer Continent: Papers from the Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland Conference, June 2017. Archaeopress.

Mohammed-Amin, R.K., Levy, R.M. and Boyd, J.E., 2012, November. Mobile augmented reality for interpretation of archaeological sites. In Proceedings of the second international ACM workshop on Personalized access to cultural heritage (pp. 11-14). ACM.

Smith, M.L., 2014. Citizen science in archaeology. American Antiquity, 79(4), pp.749-762.

S35.  Advances in Digital and Computational Archaeology in Taiwan and Neighbouring Regions (Standard)


Mu-Chun Wu, Department of Anthropology, National Taiwan University

In recent years, the application of digital and computational methods in archaeology in and about Taiwan has been experiencing an impressive expansion. As the potential origin of the Austronesians spreading across the Pacific Ocean, and a marine transit point from continental Asia into Japan, Taiwan’s archaeology is at the heart of understanding maritime trade, cultural diffusion and prototypes. Recent developments in digital archaeology and cultural heritage, as well as advances in spatial analysis and network sciences in Taiwan have all proven fruitful. With the prospect of building bridges in order to facilitate dialogue with colleagues focusing research in and around Taiwan, this session aims to present the advances in digital and computational archaeology in Taiwan and its neighbouring regions.

This session is open to studies dealing with all periods of archaeological interest that relates to Taiwan and its neighbouring regions, as well as theoretical and methodological contributions towards digital heritage, GIS, network science, and ABM in this region. The intention is also to stimulate debate and co-operation between digital and computational archaeologists in Taiwan and surrounding areas and to establish a network of good practice and research interests focused on technology and the opportunities it offers. The presentation of in progress projects, experimental proposals, and theoretical explanations are also welcome.

S36.  Recent progress in online visualisation of geodata in archaeology (Standard)


Mieko Matsumoto, Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo
Espen Uleberg, Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo
Christian Willmes, Institute of Geography, University of Cologne
Volker Hochschild, Department of Geography, University of Tübingen
Michael Märker, Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra e dell’Ambiente, Università di Pavia

Visualisation of archaeological data is a powerful tool for the analysis, sharing and publication of new research results. This session brings together scholars and students interested in new ways to visualise and contextualise archaeological data in conjunction with geographic data. The aim of this session is to present and discuss new tools and methods for web-based data integration and to promote innovative means of web-based data presentation.

Databases with georeferenced information and freely accessible geographic data have developed greatly in the last decade, especially with the growing use of 3D-data in GIS-applications.

Digital field documentation is becoming a primary tool for field archaeologists, and projects are able to present fresh data online even during the excavation. These data are used to address topics from large-scale find distributions, to micro-scale inter-site relations, to detailed intra-site analysis.

Contemporary digital field documentation provides ever larger and more complex datasets, which can be readily accessed and analysed. A complete dataset of detailed documentation of structures and contexts, images, artefact catalogues, and results of sample analyses provides linkable data that will offer us a much wider and deeper understanding of a site or an area with past human activities. Adherence to authority lists and sharing data widen the range of possibilities. Demands for data management plans, together with the fact that the FAIR data principles (that data should be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) are widely accepted, pushing the boundaries of current systems for web-based visualisations and opening up new possibilities and solutions.

Creating and providing context for archaeological databases – for example by relating paleoenvironmental information or innovative methods of spatial analysis – further increases the diversity of applications for these databases, and the demand for different means of visualisation. Interdisciplinary studies on visualisation based on different sources of paleoenvironmental data and spatial analyses undertaken at varied spatial and temporal scales are important for archaeologists, offering  new research perspectives and means of interrogating past human activities.

In this session we welcome:

  • presentations on re-using or re-contextualising existing archaeological datasets
  • presentations on tools and interfaces like web-based portal services and GIS-systems that allow the visualisation of these data in innovative ways
  • status reports on progressing/ongoing works, research projects, and case studies on diverse datasets or configuration of datasets being combined and explored through innovative means

We particularly encourage presentations on new ways of combining data from several open sources and presenting them in innovative ways.

This session is an extension of our CAA-sessions of the past 10 years on web-GIS and database solutions for archaeology. Visualisations have developed from presentations of closed datasets and single databases to the present merging of datasets from several different sources. Web-based visualisations have moved on from being a one-way communication to tools of interpretation and re-interpretation. Visualisations can now make it possible for users to interact with the data through filtering, adding or removing different types of contextualised datasets. The presentations at this session at CAA2020 should highlight the latest developments in this field.

S37. Modelling chaos and disentanglement: formal approaches to the study of failures and disruptions in archaeology  (Standard)


Fan Zhang, Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, the University of Toronto
Ezra Zubrow, State University of New York at Buffalo

Entanglement begets disentanglement. System building has intrigued and inspired computational archaeologists in a similar way to how it has intrigued and inspired engineers and computer scientists. In the past few years, new methods of system building, invigorated by development in complexity science, agent-based modelling, equation-based modelling, network science and computer simulations, have inspired new developments in archaeological methods and theory. As evidenced by many sessions and presentations at CAA2018 in Tübingen and CAA2019 in Krakow, network analysis – a method linking data science approach to the theoretical conception of entanglement in archaeology (Hodder & Mol 2016) – has been applied to many regions, periods and aspects of archaeological research by researchers from different backgrounds. This session, however, will take a counterintuitive approach by focusing on system failures, chaos and disentanglement on various scales. The session will explore many topics and questions including but not limited to: (1) How to define and quantify network failures, chaos and disentanglement in archaeology? (2) What are network unreliabilities and what are their consequences? (2) The heterogeneity of networks, its problems and its promises; (3) Modelling disentanglement in archaeology; (4) Are failures accidents or are they necessities? (5) How to retrodict failures from archaeological records? (6) Realms of failures in archaeological research from ecological failures, political failures to cognitive failures; (7) Exploring failures, disentanglement and chaos in experimental archaeology; (8) Experimental design of failures, disentanglement and chaos in archaeological computer simulations.

Two developments precede this session. In the realm of computational archaeology, Paula Gheorghiade and Tom Brughmans’s Krakow proposition of using formulated theories rather than datasets as the starting point of archaeological network research (CAA2019 standard session 26: “Archaeological network research: formal network representation of archaeological theories network research”) naturally leads to a closer association of computational archaeology and experimental archaeology whereas “experiments” are done on computational and digital platforms. In the realm of computer engineering, meanwhile, the rise of the so-called “chaos engineering”, first proposed by engineers working for Netflix, has led to the view that disentanglement and chaos in a system are not mere failures to protect systems from but also opportunities leading to new insights into a given system; in turn, it is warranted to experimentally create failures and disentanglement in a system (Basiri, et. al 2016). The new emphasis on chaos and disentanglement, as a result, allows computational archaeology to form a stronger bond with experimental archaeology and make greater contributions to archaeological theory.


Basiri, A., Behnam, N., de Rooij, R., Hochstein, L., Kosewski, L., Reynolds, J., & Rosenthal, C. (2016). Chaos Engineering. IEEE Software, 33(3), 35–41

Hodder, I., & Mol, A. (2016). Network Analysis and Entanglement. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, 23(4), 1066–1094.

S38.  Digital fieldwork: technologies, methods and good practices (Standard)


Łukasz Miszk, Jagiellonian Unversity in Kraków
Wojciech Ostrowski, Warsaw University of Technology

The present digital revolution and its applications in archaeology have fundamentally changed the ways in which we conduct archaeological work. We encounter these changes in many aspects of practice (Tspidis et al. 2011; Forte et al. 2012; Berggren et al. 2015. Katsianis et al. 2015):

  • Technological aspect: using constantly upgraded hardware and software,
  • Spatial aspect: broad implementation of a wide range of geodetic tools, e.g. GNSS technology, enabling the global georeferencing of various spatial data, has already become almost as popular as the use of local site coordinates,
  • Methodological aspect: the use of diverse recognized methods of archaeological science has a huge impact on the field work, including processes of data acquisition and further data processing (sampling, documenting),
  • The ‘big data’ aspect: concerns archaeological data management in the context of its rapid growth, as well as diversification of data formats and electronic data carriers,
  • Logistic aspect:  connected i.a. with the necessity to possess the appropriate human resources (qualified professionals) and fitting digital solutions (information-storage capacity), as well as funding applications and planning project finances. 

Among the achievements of contemporary technology, modern digital methods of 3D stratigraphic documentation, enabling the registering of excavation as it progresses, through the implementation of 3D reality modelling solutions, e.g. photogrammetry, laser scanning (Forte et al. 2012; Dell’Unto 2014; Berggren et al. 2015; Opitz 2015), seem to have the biggest impact on how we conduct the whole process of archaeological work across all aspects noted above. These methods influence the equipment used during the fieldwork, dictate the necessary software, and lead to constructing custom-tailored archaeological databases for the projects. Documenting the excavation by means of photogrammetry or with the application of GIS databases is slowly becoming a standard. That is why 3D documentation experiences have repeatedly been presented and discussed during CAA meetings. However, the majority of papers given so far on the topic have focused only on the technical aspects of this change in practice. We emphasize that the presented modern technology solutions are mainly focused on the possibilities of photogrammetry itself, and many times these seem non-complementary to the whole archaeological research process, which should be digitally enabled, as well as, including basic documentation procedures.

Therefore, for this session, we invite papers focusing on further steps of modern digital fieldwork rather than on simple data acquisition or processing. The presented papers should respond to the following questions: How does data acquisition influence fieldwork? How are 3D stratigraphic data stored and combined with other data (concerning architecture, movable finds, archaeometric analyses etc.)? How are 3D and all other data visualized, analysed and shared? What are the results of these analyses? How are these results disseminated between the research team members? The proposed session would welcome:

  • Papers presenting complete photogrammetric (or other reality modelling technology) solutions which have already been practically tested during archaeological fieldwork; examples of methods application on a big scale, i.e. on vast excavation areas, for teams composed of many people etc., would be especially interesting and most welcome.
  • Papers presenting holistic solutions of acquiring archaeological data and data management afterwards (such as examples of various custom-tailored databases, as well as technological solutions applied within them), and also ways of data post-processing and analysing.
  • Papers concerning various practical aspects of human resources challenges encountered within archaeological team work, such as human work organisation during the whole project, securing of appropriately qualified staff, as well as, enabling smooth cooperation and data exchange within the team. Presentations of specific projects with their goals, challenges and solutions applied would be most welcome.


Barcelo J.A., De Castro O., Travet D. and Vicente O. 2003. A 3D Model of an Archaeological Excavation. In M. Doerr and A. Sarris (ed.), The Digital Heritage of Archaeology. Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology. Conference on Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology, Greece: Archive of Monuments and Publications, Hellenic Ministry of Culture

Berggren Å., Dell’Unto N., Forte M., Haddow, S. Hodder I., Issavi, J., Lercari N., Mazzuccato C., Mickel A. and Taylor, J. 2015. Revisiting reflexive archaeology at Çatalhöyük: Integrating digital and 3D technologies at the trowel’s edge. Antiquity, 89/344, 433-448.

Dell’Unto N. 2014. The Use of 3D Models for Intra-Site Investigation in Archaeology. In S. Campana, F. Remondino, 3D Recording and Modelling in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage, BAR IS, 151-158.

Forte M., Dell’Unto N., Issavi J., Onsurez L., Lercari N. 2012. 3D Archaeology at Çatalhöyük. Journal International Journal of Heritage in the Digital Era, 1.

Katsianis M., Tsipidis S. and Kalisperakis I. 2015. Enhancing Excavation Archives Using 3D Spatial Technologies. In C. Papadopoulos, E. Paliou, A. Chrysanthi, E. Kotoula and A. Sarris (eds) 2015, Archaeological Research in the Digital Age. Proceedings of the 1st Conference on Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology Greek Chapter (CAA-GR), 46-54.

Opitz R. 2015. Three Dimensional Field Recording in Archaeology: An Example from Gabii, In: B. R. Olsen and W. R. Caraher (eds), Visions of Substance: 3D Imaging in Mediterranean Archaeology, 73-87.

Tspidis S., Koussoulakou A. and Kotsakis K., 2011. Geovisualization and Archaeology: supporting excavation site research. In A. Ruas (ed.) Advances in Cartography and GIScience. Volume 2: Selection from ICC 2011, 85 – 107.

S39.  Innovative Applications for Effective Development-Led Archaeology (Other)


Charles Le Quesne, ERM
Michael Tomiak, ERM
Leo Thomas, ERM

This session addresses the opportunities that computer and digital applications and technology provide to heritage managers in the commercial sector; particularly through remote sensing, predictive modelling and geospatial data management. In the UK a considerable amount of archaeology and related research is funded through the requirement to meet formal planning requirements (for example through Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA)).

This session features presentations of tools, methods and approaches that can make assessments more efficient, effective and robust in regards to development-led archaeology and discuss the theory and concepts behind them as well as the application’s level of success and commercial utility.

  1. Case studies; examples of techniques applied to the field of Archaeology and Heritage Management that have demonstrably resulted in or contributed to efficient and effective assessments, and therefore ‘bang-for-your-buck’ investment.
  2. WIP examples (and lessons in learning), not necessarily yet applied to commercial projects.
  3. Pipeline approaches for use in the commercial arena that require further research, consideration or translation to suit commercial application.


This session follows a hybrid format, based on a ‘lightning talk’ format whilst including a roundtable review at the end addressing higher level questions around the key themes of innovative methods in development-led heritage management.

The lightning talks will be organised into the three categories outlined above (from existing practices through to innovative new ideas).

Timings of individual presentations may vary based on content and theme. Presenters needing more time to present their case studies in order to justify conference attendance should highlight this to the session organisers.

Importance and potential contributions of research in the field

The session aims to provide insights into niche innovative approaches and academically inclined methods, and their application in more commercially driven/client facing environment.

The session also aims to provide visibility of techniques which possess the potential for global scalability and utility to help enhance development led research.

Audience for your proposed session

This session will be of interest to:

  • Those actively working on geospatial tools will be able to demonstrate their work and how it can aid assessment.
  • Those from the commercial sector will find this proposed session useful to assess and potentially apply some of the approaches presented.
  • Those with limited knowledge on the digital approaches currently being undertaken to support planning assessments/EIA’s ahead of intrusive field surveys.
  • It will also be beneficial for those looking to build robust and deepened understanding of sites, for which limited known baselines or heritage resources are available.

Desired outcomes of the session

  • Greater visibility for niche applications to support development-led archaeology, both locally and globally.
  • Provides opportunities for commercial sector to harness research-led innovative techniques at the forefront of the field.
  • Providing more familiarity with digital approaches that could become commonplace in EIAs and stakeholder guidance.
  • Establish a commercial sector presence at the CAA.
  • Help foster communication channels and partnerships between researchers and commercial opportunities.

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