I’m happy to join with a fantastic team, led by Tom Eliot, Sebstian Heath, and John Muccigrosso on an NEH-funded “institute” called LAWDI (Linked Ancient World Data Institute). I promise it will have plenty of the enthusiasm and fervor implied by its acronym. To help spread the word, I’m reusing some of Tom Eliot’s text that he circulated on the Antiquist email list:

The Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University will host the Linked Ancient World Data Institute (LAWDI) from May 31st to June 2nd, 2012 in New York City. Applications are due 17 February 2012.

LAWDI, funded by the Office of Digital Humanities of the National Endowment for Humanities, will bring together an international faculty of practitioners working in the field of Linked Data with twenty attendees who are implementing or planning the creation of digital resources.

More information, including a list of faculty and application instructions, are available at the LAWDI page on the Digital
Classicist wiki:

Yesterday was Archaeology Day organized by the AIA. (BTW. In case you didn’t notice, despite some prophetic warnings, the world apparently did not end to ruin Archaeology Day).

It’s also Archaeology Month here in California. “Archaeology Months” are sponsored by various state historical societies and various state and federal government agencies. They help spotlight local archaeology and archaeologists, and offer a focus for organizing, reaching out to a larger community and highlighting accomplishments and challenges. The Society for California Archaeology runs an annual great poster competition that helps encapsulate some of the activities of an Archaeology Month.

Which brings us to the last alignment of the calendar that I’ll note. Next week is Open Access Week! Which brings us to a fortuitous alignment in the calendar, especially with respect to the themes long explored by this blog, namely, archaeology and open access.

I see open access (and open data) as an important aspect of making archaeology broadly relevant and a more integral part of scientific, policy, and cultural debates. Open access is a necessary precondition to making archaeology part of larger conversations. It’s also an important issue when so many of our colleagues work outside of university settings and have to live, work, and make their research contributions without access to JSTOR or subscriptions to other publishers. While there’s been lots of discussion about how “grey literature” (that is, research content that’s hard to discover and sees very limited circulation) is bad for the discipline, few in archaeology have noted that many mainstream archaeological journals are “grey literature” to people outside the academy.

Of course, most people, including most archaeologists, are outside of the academy. If we want our publicly supported (through direct funding and grants, or through regulatory mandates) research to have any positive impact to our peers inside and outside of our discipline, we need to consider access issues. At the same time, we need to consider access issues when thinking about how archaeology relates to many different communities in the larger public. From the outset, it’s clear open access is not sufficient in itself to make archaeology intelligible to the public.  It often takes lots of work to help guide non-archaeologists through often very technical archaeological findings.  But at the very least, open access to archaeological literature can make it easier for outside communities to learn, even through simple Google searches, that archaeology has something (though probably very technical) to say on many different issues and many different places.

So, I’m glad these chance calendar alignments help put some focus on these issues.

BTW: In keeping with these themes, the e-journal Internet Archaeology (an essential resource for some of the best in digital archaeology) is going fully open access this week! So fire up Zotero and go get some great papers while you can!

Thursday April 15 is apparently THE DAY for DDIG members at the 75th annual SAA meeting in St. Louis. The Digital Data Interest Group meeting will take place on Thursday at 5pm. This meeting is open to all SAA conference attendees, regardless of DDIG membership (which is free, by the way!). Come share news about your digital project, discuss best practices for data dissemination, and meet others in the DDIG community. We hope to see you there!

In addition to the DDIG meeting, a number of technology-related sessions are offered throughout the day. Please mark these on your calendar!

Sessions of interest to DDIGers, Thursday April 15:

(12) 8-10:30am: Fourm: Establishig tDAR: The Digital Archaeological Record

(24) 10:45am-12:45pm: Electronic Symposium: Practical Methods of Data Production, Dissemination and Preservation

(76) 3-4pm: Key Issues in Digital Curation

(MEETING) 5-6pm: Digital Data Interest Group Meeting

(93) 6:15-9pm: Forum: Digging Up the Future of Publishig: The Archaeology of the Americas Digital Monograph Initiative

Other presentations of interest:

In addition to the above, there are many individual papers and posters that address the use of technologies and digital data in archaeological investigations. However, please review the full program to find others, as this list is not exhaustive.

(21) Thurs, 8:45am: Heather Smith, Thomas DeWitt and Ted Goebel—Digital Shape Analysis of Clovis Projectile Points

(26e, Poster) Thurs, 9am: Patrick Livingood—Digital Image Analysis of Shell Temper from the Moon Site (3Po488), Arkansas

(147) Fri, 1:30: Neil Hauser, Wayne Wilson and Robert Wunderlich—Web-Based Lithic Source Database

(160) Fri, 2:30: Ronald Blom, Douglas Comer, Scott Hensley and Andrew Yatsko—Remote Sensing Data and Archaeolog: Ingredients for Success

(160) Fri, 2:45: James Tilton, Douglas Comer, Kevin May and Winston Hurst—Towards Automated Detection of Archaeological Sites utilizing Remotely Sensed Imagery

(163f, Poster) Fri, 3pm: Ruth Trocolli and Shagun Raina—GIS and Archaeological Data Management in the Nation’s Capitol

(164f, Poster) Fri, 3pm: Michael Heilen and Jeffrey Altschul—Analyzing Archaeological Data Quality: Recent Results from Military Installations in the United States

(183a, Poster) Sat 9am: David Massey, Ayse Gürsan-Salzmann and Anne Bomalaski—Managing the Legacy Data from the University of Pennsylvania’s Survey and Excavation at Tepe Hissar in North Eastern Iran (1931-2, 1976) through GIS

(189) Sat, 10am: Fabrizio Galeazzi and Paola Di Giuseppantonio Di Franco—The Western Han Dynasty Museum: from the 3D data collection to the 3D spatial analysis

(222) Sat, 2:30: Benjamin Carter—Wonking the Data: Broad Scale Patterns Derived from 50,000 Data Points on Tiny Shell Beads from Ecuador

(216) Sat, 3:15: Sarah Whitcher Kansa and Eric Kansa—Of Glass Houses and Ground Stone: Open Data and Ground Stone Analyses

(249) Sun, 9:45: Rory Becker—Lasers on the Landscape: Using LiDAR Data in Cultural Resource Management

(252) Sun, 8am: Kevin Pape—The Millennium Pipeline Project – A Model for Interdisciplinary Partnerships and Integrated Archaeological Data Management

I’d like to draw attention to an Educause Live! double presentation which can be heard with slides onlineThrowing Open the Doors: Strategies and Implications for Open Access (Oct. 13).

“In the past decade, the proliferation of Web 2.0 tools for sharing and creating knowledge, coupled with the creation of open-access journals, databases, and archives across the web, has begun to redefine the concept of ‘openness’ in higher education. Advocates of the open-access campaign argue that free, virtual access to scholarly works and research advance scientific discovery and lead to faster knowledge dissemination and richer research collaborations, throwing open the doors that once restricted knowledge sharing and exploration. Critics of the movement have doubted its economic sustainability and raised concerns about its impact on peer review. Regardless, open access requires a new examination of campus copyright and publishing policy. … we discuss the strategies and definitions behind open access and its implications for campus IT, librarians, administrators, and policy offices.”

This web seminar includes interesting feedback and discussion. I found the interface to be quite practical and was happy to see the presentations playing smoothly, even when hopping around using the slide-change markers.


The Library of Congress recently organized the Designing Storage Architectures for Preservation Collections Meeting (September 22-23, 2009, Washington, DC). The presentations and more are now available online. “The purpose of the meeting was to bring together technical industry experts, IT professionals, digital collections and strategic planning staff, government specialists with an interest in preservation and recognized authorities and practitioners of Digital Preservation to identify common areas of interest to inform decision-making in the future.” This is part of the ongoing Digital Preservation program of the Library of Congress.

A series of lectures at Georgia Tech are now viewable online. They are interesting for all scholars of the digital inclination. For instance, Cliff Lynch, Executive Director of the Coalition for Networked Information, spoke on A Changing Society, Changing Scholarly Practices, and the New Landscape of Scholarly Communication. Other topics are The Current State of Journal Publishing & Open Access Journals 2.0, Repository Programs: What Can They Do for Faculty, Cyber Infrastructure: Removing Barriers in Research and Scholarly Communications.

Also, a new report is now available as a pdf download: Working Together or Apart: Promoting the Next Generation of Digital Scholarship. Report of a Workshop Cosponsored by the Council on Library and Information Resources and The National Endowment for the Humanities, March, 2009. 78 pp. “As part of its ongoing programs in digital scholarship and the cyberinfrastructure to support teaching, learning and research, … CLIR in cooperation with the … NEH held a symposium on September 15, 2008 in which a group of some 30 leading scholars was invited to
• articulate the research challenges that will use the new media to advance the analysis and interpretations of text, images and other sources of interest to the humanities and social sciences
• and in so doing, pose interesting problems for ongoing computational research.”

DDIG Meeting, Friday April 24:

A final reminder— Please mark your calendars for the Digital Data Interest Group meeting, taking place next Friday, April 24th, from 6:30 – 7:30pm (Atlanta Marriott, Room L504/505). Non-DDIG members are also welcome to attend.

Web Tools Survey and Free Drinks:

Fill out a short survey about web tools and receive a free drink at the DDIG meeting! There are still a few drink coupons left, so hurry on over! The survey will close on Tuesday, April 21st. You can access it by clicking here or following this link:

Even if you’re not attending the upcoming SAA meeting, your thoughts and insights are valuable to us and we encourage you to take the survey anyway. An overview of the survey results will be posted on this blog in May.

SAA 2009 DDIG-Related Events:

Below I have identified (in order of occurrence) some of the workshops, sessions, individual papers and posters related to DDIG subject areas (please note- I have tried to be inclusive, but be sure to peruse the entire program for other presentations of interest):

  • [1A] WORKSHOP: New Developments in the Preservation of Digital Data for Archaeology (Wed. April 22, 1 – 4:30 pm; Room: L404)
  • [2B] WORKSHOP: Using High Precision Laser Scanning to Create Digital 3D Versions of Archaeological Materials for Analysis and Public Interpretation (Thurs. April 23, 8:30 am – 12:00pm; Room: L404)
  • [37] PAPER: Keith Kintigh and Jeffrey Altschul—Sustaining the Digital Archaeological Record (Thurs. April 23, 2pm; Room M202)
  • [40] GENERAL SESSION: Tracing Trails and Modeling Movement: Understanding Past Cultural Landscapes and Social Networks Through Least-Cost Analysis (Thurs. April 23, 1 – 3:45 pm; Room: M302)
  • [43] PAPER: Ivan Davis, Andy Bean and John Hall—The Statistical Research, Inc., Database (SRID): Flexible Integration of Large Diverse Datasets (Thurs., April 23, 1pm; Room M304)
  • [53] POSTER: Tamara Whitley and Elyssa Gutbrod—A GIS Analysis of Spatial Data From the Carrizo Plain National Monument (Thurs., April 23, 4 – 6pm; Room: Marquis Lobby)
  • [88] POSTER: David Anderson, D. Shane Miller, Derek T. Anderson, Stephen J. Yerka and Ashley Smallwood—Paleoindians in North America: Evidence from PIDBA (Paleoindian Paleoindian Database of the Americas) (Fri., April 24, 9 – 11am; Room: Marquis Lobby)
  • [88] POSTER: R. Kyle Bocinsky—Understanding and modeling turkey domestication in the American Southwest: A preliminary simulation module for Repast (Fri. April 24, 9 – 11am; Room: Marquis Lobby)
  • [88] POSTER: Amy Wood and Christopher McDaid—17th Century Predicitve Modeling in the Chesapeake (Fri. April 24, 9 – 11am; Room: Marquis Lobby)
  • [99] POSTER: Susan Gillespie, Joshua Toney and Michael Volk—Mapping La Venta Complex A: Archival archaeology in the Digital age (Fri. April 24, 12 – 2pm; Room: Marquis Lobby)
  • [130] POSTER: Lucy Burgchardt, William T. Whitehead, Jonathan Palacek and Emily Stovel—A Database of South American Ceramics: Phase 2 (Fri., April 24, 3 – 5pm; Room: Marquis Lobby)
  • [134] GENERAL SESSION: Digital Data (Sat. April 25, 8 – 9:30am; Room: International A)
  • [147] POSTER: Britton Shepardson and Tim Jeffryes—Making GIS Data Accessible and Public: Data Community (Sat. April 25, 9 – 11am; Room: Marquis Lobby)
  • [157] PAPER: John Chamblee and Mark Williams—Almost There! CRM Data and Macroregional Analysis in Georgia (Sat., April 25, 11:15am; Room: M302)
  • [167] PAPER: Carlos Zeballos Velarde—Landscape 3d Modeling And Animation For Public Outreach And Education (Sat. April 25, 3:45pm; Room: M202)
  • [174] POSTER: Thomas Penders, Lori Collins and Travis Doering—High Definition Digital Documentation of the Beehive Blockhouses, Launch Complex 31/32, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Brevard County, Florida (Sat. April 25, 2 – 4pm; Room: Marquis Lobby)
  • [174] POSTER: Mark Woodson and Angela Keller—Virtual Data: Making Web-based Data Sharing Work for Archaeology (Sat. April 25, 2 – 4pm; Room: Marquis Lobby)
  • [180] PAPER: Philip Mink—Investigating Grand Canyon Cultural Landscapes AD 400 – AD 1250: Recent Geophysical and Geospatial Mapping and Modeling (Sat. April 25, 3:30pm; Room M103)
  • [180] PAPER: Glendee Ane Osborne—Using Spatial Data Modeler for Predictive Modeling: Application on the Shivwits Plateau, NW AZ (Sat. April 25, 4:00pm; Room M103)

I got this in my inbox and thought DDIG readers might be interested (in case you didn’t know about it already):

2PM-4:30PM Pacific Standard Time (10PM-12:30AM GMT or Universal Time)
December 10, 2008
Location: Okapi Island
(You must have the free Second Life browser)

Join us for Burning Çatalhöyük, a project developed by OKAPI, the Berkeley Archaeologists at Çatalhöyük, and the UC Berkeley DeCal program. Çatalhöyük on OKAPI Island, in development since 2006, is an exploration of the past and present of a 9,000 year old site located in present-day Turkey. In this demonstration we intend to burn the existing models down in order to better understand the use of fire in Neolithic settlements. In consultation with fire experts Karl Harrison and Ruth Tringham, and architecture expert Burcu Tung, a team of undergraduate apprentices have replicated the burning sequence of Building 77, a structure excavated in the summer of 2008. OKAPI island also hosts reproductions of modern developments present at the site, including a water tower, Sadrettin’s café, the Chicken Shed and the nightly bonfire.

Remixing Activities:

Guided Tour of OKAPI Island by Ruth Tringham, (Professor of Anthropology, UC Berkeley, and Principal Investigator of Berkeley Archaeologists at Çatalhöyük) and the Remixing Çatalhöyük team.
Niema Razavian will introduce the work that the Fall 2008 Decal class has done on the island, and how this fits in with a broader UC Berkeley education.
Roland Saekow will demonstrate his teleportation system, to guide new visitors around the island.
Kira O’Connor will show the site datum she has constructed, and talk about how datums are used at archaeological sites in general.
Clark-Rossi Flores-Beyer will demonstrate the skeleton model he has managed to manipulate into a crouch position, in accordance with how people were buried at Çatalhöyük. He will briefly discuss burial practices in the settlement.
Garrett Wagner and Raechal Perez will discuss their own reproductions of the interiors at Çatalhöyük, and how they decided to configure the space on their own.
Colleen Morgan (UC Berkeley PhD Candidate, excavator at Çatalhöyük) will wrap-up the program with a discussion of why virtual reconstructions of archaeological sites are important, and what Second Life can do to increase our understanding of the past.

Second-Life recreation of Çatalhöyük

Second-Life recreation of Çatalhöyük

    What is Second Life?

Second Life is a 3-D virtual world created entirely by its residents. Okapi Island is owned and build by the OKAPI team (that’s us below!) and the Berkeley Archaeologists at Çatalhöyük.

Getting Started
To visit Okapi Island, you will need to create a user account and download the client software–both free.

To create an account, visit, click on Join (in the upper right corner) and follow the instructions. Note: You do not need a premium account to use Second Life or visit Okapi Island.

Next, download and install the Second Life client for your computer:

Launch the Second Life client and enter your password. You will likely begin in Orientation Island. To visit Okapi Island, click Map, enter “Okapi” in search field and click Search. Alternatively, you can click on the following slurl (second life url) in your browser, and you will be transported there:


I recently returned from Athens Greece and a facinating meeting hosted by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture. The meeting (“Digital Heritage in the New Knowledge Environment: Shared Spaces & Open Paths to Cultural Content“) explored how the Greek cultural heritage sector is embracing and is challenged by the explosion of digital technologies and content that is currently reshaping the globe.

The meeting highlighted important tensions in the adoption of digital dissemination frameworks. For many of us who have been working with digital technologies for the past several years, the tensions are familiar, and at the risk of putting them into a characture form, I can summarize them below:



Nearly free access to the full richness of the documented record of Greece’s cultural heritage Resistance to abandoning traditional models of “cost recovery” (subscription charges). Continued attempts to charge for content, even though the justifications for such charges seem poorly articulated.
The possibility to use digital dissemination technologies to enhance the comprehensiveness, scope, and transparency in cultural heritage documentation and research. The social realities of micro-politics, personal rivalries, and established norms of professional practice which inhibit transparency and create incentives for data-hording. As in many other parts of the world (US archaeology included!) paper publication is still has more prestige than digital dissemination. A fetish for paper seems to be a common affliction in the humanities and social sciences.
The capability of digital content to be easily and endlessly duplicated, adapted, and incorporated into new scholarly, educational, or artistic works. Long standing national copyright claims over Greek cultural patrimony. It seems that the Greek state has legislated ownership over it’s past. Releasing the documentary record of Greece’s past into a digital commons may pose some legal challenges. (See these discussions: one and two of intellectual property claims over national heritage)


The whole “copyrighting the past” argument is interesting. Though I have no formal legal training, I’ve picked up some expectations from living within the Anglo-American legal tradition. At least traditionally, we’ve got a very economic / practical view of copyright, and typically regard copyright as a convenient legal fiction to incentivize creative production. “Copyrighting” a work that is 2500 years-old obviously flies in the face of this tradition. However, parts of Continental Europe have different legal traditions. Copyright over the works of Classical Antiquity seem to be somehow in line with “moral rights” types of perspectives, where the goal of copyright is not only to protect commercial incentives, but it is also to protect, in perpetuity, the dignity and honor of the creator of works. That seemed to be some of the argument given in comments made at this conference.

Given Greece’s recent history of resistence to Ottoman imperialism, exploitation by Western powers, and transition out of “developing world” to “developed” status, attempts to guard national honor and dignity of a past that is so important to Greece’s national identity makes some sense. However, this perspective doesn’t seem to work so well in the new digital environment, where everything is global, remixable, and seemingly uncontrollable. Legislative mandates to protect “dignity” seem difficult if not impossible to enforce.

Oddly enough, the current situation may have the perverse effect of making it difficult for members of the public to use Greek cultural heritage for mainstream academic or instructional purposes. People who would be more likely to use Greek antiquity in obnoxious ways are probably precisely those people who would tend to ignore legislative restrictions.

It’ll be fascinating to watch how Greece will adapt its cultural heritage policies in this new world. 

Other conference participants have blogged about the meeting. Check out Leif Isaksen’s post,  and Stefano Costa’s post.

[UPDATED]: Mary Saunders also posted about her experiences at the conference, and she has some additional useful links to related content. 

I’ll update with even more links of blog reactions as I find them.


Final Note:

I want to thank the Hellenic Ministry of Culture for their invitation for me to attend this meeting. I deeply appeciated the opportunity to participate in this discussion.

The annual Society for American Archaeology (SAA) conference in Vancouver is fast approaching and I wanted to send an announcement about forums and sessions that will be of interest to our members. Please remember that the DIGITAL DATA INTEREST GROUP MEETING will be held on Thurs March 27 6:00 – 7:00pm  in the Hyatt Cypress Room.

Below are other digital data related events at the SAA meeting. Please be sure to look at the posters because fantastic work will be presented there as well, with the added benefit of greater interactivity and discussion with individual researchers. If I’ve missed one, please let me know and I will circulate:


Thurs March 27, 1:00pm  SYMPOSIUM: International Curation Standards: What’s Working, What’s Not

Thurs March 27, 1:00pm  SYMPOSIUM: Geophyiscal Archaeology at World Heritage Sites

Thurs March 27, 3:00pm  FORUM: Digital Antiquity: Planning an Information Infrastructure for Archaeology

Thurs March 27, 3:15pm  SYMPOSIUM: Advances in Methodology: Survey Techniques, Computer Use and Interpretation
Fri March 28, 12:45pm  SYMPOSIUM: Web 2.0 and Beyond: New Tools for Collaboration and Communication

Sat March 29, 8:00am  FORUM: Modeling Paleoindian Sites and Assemblages: PIDBA
(Paleoindian Database of the Americas) and Other Approaches

Sat March 29, 10:15am  FORUM: Converging Communities in Digital Heritage

Sun March 30, 8:00am  SYMPOSIUM: Southwest Heritage: Strategies for Managing and Preserving Cultural Resources

Sun March 30, 10:45am  GENERAL SESSION: Computer Modeling and Simulation

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