Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Toward an online archaeological community

Expand Messages
  • Yigal Levin
    Since I actually participated in the meeting reported below, and I do think that MedArchNet is a really cool project, I m sure that it will be of interest to
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 13 9:50 PM
      Since I actually participated in the meeting reported below, and I do think
      that MedArchNet is a really cool project, I'm sure that it will be of
      interest to others as well.

      Yigal

      >From <http://www.calit2.net/newsroom/article.php?id=1435>:
      ===============================================

      First International MedArchNet
      Workshop Paves the Way for Online Archaeological Community
      by Tiffany Fox, (858) 246-0353
      <tfox@...>

      San Diego, CA, Dec. 10, 2008 — Together with their counterparts
      abroad, archaeologists and computer scientists at the University of
      California, San Diego are one step closer to creating a seamless,
      highly detailed online network that links temporally diverse
      archaeological sites around the Mediterranean region.

      Representatives from 14 international universities and several
      non-governmental agencies held a recent workshop at the UC San Diego
      division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and
      Information Technology (Calit2) to discuss the future of the
      Mediterranean Archaeology Network (MedArchNet). When complete,
      MedArchNet will serve as the most up-to-date source of data for
      Mediterranean archaeological sites dating from remote prehistory to
      the early 20th century.

      The workshop brought together key researchers who control the
      archaeology settlement pattern datasets for Israel, Palestine, Jordan
      and Egypt's Sinai Peninsula — the areas (along with Southern Lebanon
      and Syria) that comprise MedArchNet's first node, the Digital
      Archaeological Atlas of the Holy Land (DAAHL). Funding for the
      workshop was provided by the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN),
      Equinox Publishing Ltd (London), the Cotsen Intitute of Archaeology
      at UCLA and the UCSD Judaic Studies Program.

      Professor Tom Levy, associate director of Calit2's Center of
      Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture and Archaeology
      (CISA3) and co-principal investigator on the project, says the most
      exciting aspect of MedArchNet is the prospect of creating "portal
      science" for the archaeology community working in the southern Levant.

      "For us, this refers to establishing an online community of
      archaeological researchers who can share large datasets by being
      members of the cyberinfrastructure," he remarks. "For researchers
      working in the Mediterranean lands which have seen so much turmoil
      throughout history, 'portal science' allows us to transcend borders,
      work closely together, and examine large datasets such as ancient
      settlement information (including the whole range of artifact
      assemblages from pottery to coins) that would be impossible using
      traditional methods. What was most valuable about the workshop was
      that for the first time we were able to bring an international group
      of some of the best archaeologists working in Israel, Jordan and
      Palestine in one room — and for two solid days — who have all
      expressed willingness to in-put and share data in DAAHL."

      Collaborating with Levy as PIs on the project are Arizona State
      University Affiliated Professor Steven Savage, who is director of the
      Geo-Archaeological Information Applications (GAIA) Lab, and Chaitan
      Baru, division director of science research and development for UCSD's
      San Diego Supercomputer Center. Savage says the team plans to fashion
      DAAHL (which already contains 40,000 archaeological sites) as a
      "database without borders" that could eventually be expanded to
      include archaeological sites in Egypt and beyond.

      "DAAHL will function as an entrepot into the larger datasets available
      to researchers," he elaborates, "but in a way that will facilitate
      cross-border research and cooperation. Since the current
      international borders in the Middle East were drawn in the 1920s
      following the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, it follows that the
      archaeological periods in the DAAHL are best studied from a regional
      perspective that is not restricted to resources located in only one
      modern nation state. The DAAHL is designed to do just that."

      Once DAAHL and MedArchNet are fully established, they will represent
      robust tools for "mining" stories and narratives of archaeological
      research in the Mediterranean lands. Data (including high-resolution
      3-D and multispectral images of artifacts) will be stored in a secure
      central facility, accessed and displayed over the Internet by way of a
      Google Maps/Google Earth interface, and visualized via emerging
      technologies such as museum-quality HIPerSpace tiled display walls.
      MedArchNet will also provide both OpenContent data and drill-down
      capabilities to access archived digital photographs and other digital
      collections that might require more limited access.
      Representatives from 14 international universities and several
      non-governmental agencies held a recent workshop at UCSD's Calit2 to
      discuss the future of MedArchNet.

      Professor Aren Maeir of the Institute of Archaeology at Israel's
      Bar-Ilan University says that as the project progresses, he will "try
      to gently cajole, push and even drag more Israeli archaeologists to
      join the program."

      "MedArchNet is an excellent combination of cutting edge — or even
      'bleeding edge' — technology and archaeology, in which true
      inter-regional cooperation can be manifested," he enthuses. "It will
      make archaeological knowledge, on may levels, accessable and
      understandable in a truly digital medium, and will provide an
      excellent resource for teaching."

      In addition to school teachers, the network will be made available to
      everyone from travel agents to public policy makers and
      state-of-the-art researchers, and could eventually serve as a model
      for similar cyberinfrastructures in other cultural areas of interest,
      such as anthropology.

      "In terms of world cultural heritage, I think the MedArchNet
      cyberinfrastructure will provide an important model for other regions
      in the world," Levy says. "Once we have it up and running, scholars,
      researchers, government administrators and the public will see how
      powerful a tool it is not only for archaeological research, but for
      all realms of material culture from all periods of time and all places
      where people are interested in world cultural heritage. For example,
      we are very interested in partnering with the National Folklore
      Support Centre for India in Chennai. They have thousands of interviews
      and videos dealing with traditional culture in India. The same
      cyberinfrastructure that we are building for MedArchNet could be
      adapted to the needs of our colleagues in India."

      In the meantime, MedArchNet will be of tremendous benefit to
      archaeologists in the Middle East, especially now that the project has
      secured crucial funding from WUN and the American Schools of Oriental
      Research (ASOR), the umbrella organization for North American
      archaeologists working in the Middle East.

      Explains Levy: "Now that ASOR has sponsored MedArchNet/DAAHL, we are
      working closely with Oystein LaBianca, the new chair of ASOR's
      Committee on Archaeological Policy (CAP), to invite the directors of
      the more than 60 North American archaeological research projects to
      join, participate and contribute data. This is especially important
      because ASOR CAP affiliated projects undergo a peer-review process to
      insure that their research designs, data collection methods, and
      publication plans are of the highest academic standard. By bringing
      ASOR affiliated projects to MedArchNet/DAAHL, we will have an
      unusually robust database for archaeology in the eastern
      Mediterranean.

      While Levy acknowledges that "the only way to maintain excellence in
      the research is to have experts involved," he also notes that
      facilitating such a large collaboration poses inherent challenges.
      Several of those challenges were discussed during the workshop, with
      some participants expressing concern about the sheer number of
      archaeological sites involved, and others pointing out that not all
      archaeological sites are currently marked on Google Earth. Still
      others called into question the possibility of establishing effective
      editorial quality control, while some warned that the "the politics of
      map-making" and the difficulty of interpreting data on different
      scales would complicate the effort. Also posing some controversy was a
      discussion about the establishment of a common working language — not
      an easy feat among researchers who span a multitude of nationalities.

      "MedArchNet will work like a kind of 'switchboard' for directing
      people to different kinds of archaeological data and projects
      throughout a given region," Levy points out. "Because so many scholars
      and institutions have spent their life-times and tremendous resources
      on carrying out archaeological research in a given area, one of the
      biggest challenges is to develop protocols and assurances to maintain
      the 'brand' those individuals and institutions in relation to their
      research and output. Insuring 'brand recognition' and copyright for
      all those contributing to MedArchNet/DAAHL is an issue we are working
      on now."

      The next step for Levy and his team will be to collect small
      DAAHL-related datasets from the scholars who attended the workshop,
      which include representatives from the University of Bergen, Israel's
      Tel Aviv and Bar-Ilan Universities, the University of Sheffield and
      Jordan's Friends of Archaeology organization. The workshop
      participants will also be asked to contribute a short research paper
      about their work in relation to MedArchNet for publication in a book
      to be published by Equinox.

      "This will add a great deal to our existing database and demonstrate
      how approximately 30 researchers can work together," Levy says. "The
      book will serve as another 'gateway' to MedArchNet. At the same time,
      we are applying for funds from the National Science Foundation, the
      National Endowment for the Humanities and other sources to build this
      cyberinfrastructure project. I'm pleased to say that the Institute
      for Aegean Prehistory (INSTAP) has already pledged a significant sum
      to help us build the first digital atlas node outside of the southern
      Levant — one for the Aegean region. So we will be extremely busy over
      the next year."

      Aside from the immediate benefits to the archaeological community,
      Savage says he expects that MedArchNet will also promote peace and
      understanding in the region.

      "As the project expands beyond the initial Holy land Node, we envision
      these benefits spreading around the Mediterranean, which is still the
      scene of ethnic and religious conflict," he remarks. "Because of its
      emphasis on building archaeological datasets without borders,
      MedArchNet and DAAHL will serve as a beacon to scholarly cooperation
      and contact. By doing so, we can contribute greatly to the stability
      of the region, and hence, to the world at large."
    • Mike Brass
      ... It simply has to in order to market itself as the electronic archaeological hub for Mediterranean scholars. The composition of the workshop itself reveals
      Message 2 of 3 , Dec 14 4:01 AM
        > "As the project expands beyond the initial Holy land Node, we envision
        > these benefits spreading around the Mediterranean,

        It simply has to in order to market itself as the electronic
        archaeological hub for Mediterranean scholars.

        The composition of the workshop itself reveals a divide between scholars
        working in the Eastern Mediterranean and those working elsewhere.
      • Yigal Levin
        The first stage of the project is the indeed the Digital Archaeological Atlas of the Holy Land (DAAHL), with other areas to follow. The area of
        Message 3 of 3 , Dec 14 2:07 PM
          The first stage of the project is the indeed the Digital Archaeological
          Atlas of the Holy Land (DAAHL), with other areas to follow. The area of
          Israel/Palestine, Jordan and Sinai was chosen because of the relative
          accessabilty of the data, and because the oganizer, Tom Levy of UCSD, has
          been working in Jordan for years.

          Yigal, ''


          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Mike Brass" <michael.brass@...>
          To: <archaeology2@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Sunday, December 14, 2008 2:01 PM
          Subject: Re: [Archaeology] Toward an online archaeological community


          >
          >> "As the project expands beyond the initial Holy land Node, we envision
          >> these benefits spreading around the Mediterranean,
          >
          > It simply has to in order to market itself as the electronic
          > archaeological hub for Mediterranean scholars.
          >
          > The composition of the workshop itself reveals a divide between scholars
          > working in the Eastern Mediterranean and those working elsewhere.
          >
          > ------------------------------------
          >
          > You can change your message settings at:
          > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/archaeology2/join if you no longer wish to
          > receive e-mails from this groups.yahoo.com/group/archaeology2/join if you
          > no longer wish to receive e-mails from this groupYahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          >


          --------------------------------------------------------------------------------



          No virus found in this incoming message.
          Checked by AVG - http://www.avg.com
          Version: 8.0.176 / Virus Database: 270.9.17/1847 - Release Date: 13/12/2008
          16:56
        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.