The TETRARCHs project is represented at CAA 2023 with a session on data reuse

TETRARCHs Project Leader Sara Perry (MOLA) and Co-Investigator Holly Wright (Archaeology Data Service (ADS), University of York) are co-hosting a session on Thursday 6 April entitled “How do we ensure archaeological data are usable and Reusable, and for whom? Putting the R in FAIR for archaeology’s data” (session no. 29) at the 2023 Conference of Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA) in Amsterdam.

We are proud to be able to host a line-up of 18 different talks, with contributions from countries around Europe, the Americas and the UK, and representation from a variety of institutions – academic, professional, charitable, governmental.

A full, updated list of the papers, their authors, and timings for the presentations is available here.

If you are in Amsterdam for the conference, you can find Holly, Sara and our fantastic group of presenters in Room E106 at the RAI Convention Centre.

Thursday, 06/04/2023, 08.30-17.50 CEST

E106, RAI Amsterdam Conference Centre

Session Abstract

The last decade has seen extensive efforts to make digital assets more accessible and dynamic through experimentation with interoperability in cultural heritage aggregation infrastructures (e.g., the Europeana or ARIADNE portals). Such infrastructures allow static resources to be updated and cross-searched, but to do so, the metadata for these assets must be mapped in a centralised and controlled way. This can take the shape of mapping to a controlled vocabulary, thesaurus or ontology, which invariably reflects the types of terminology and relationships defined by those who are charged with curating the data (domain specialists), not those who might use the data in new and innovative ways.

Digital data curation for cultural heritage has therefore reached a critical impasse. A central tension exists between the need to preserve cultural resources, and the dynamic potential for their use and reuse in democratic, just and compelling ways. At the same time, the introduction of the tetrarchy of FAIR Guiding Principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) for scientific data management and stewardship (Wilkinson et al. 2016) has set an important challenge: that each of the four principles is of equivalent importance and must therefore be engaged with equally.

Within archaeology, much work has been done over the last 20 years to make data Findable, Accessible and Interoperable, but very little is understood about whether data are Reusable–and by whom (Wright and Richards 2018). The impact of this gap in knowledge is profound, as cultural heritage data are increasingly drawn into divisive debates, dangerous speech, cross-border misinformation-sharing and xenophobia, therein compromising human solidarity and social cohesion (e.g., Bonacchi and Krzyzanska 2021). Newly-funded through the Transformations: Social and cultural dynamics in the digital age programme of the Collaboration of Humanities and Social Sciences in Europe (CHANSE) Consortium, Transforming Data Re-use in Archaeology (TETRARCHs) argues that the future of digital curation depends upon reconciling this divide between collection and reuse. It aims to demonstrate that data optimised for ethical and emotive storytelling will provide the bridge between those who find or preserve heritage assets, and the diverse cross-European audiences for whom they might generate meaning.

TETRARCHs builds upon international initiatives which seek to improve the accessibility of digital cultural heritage data via interfacing with those data: browsing them, searching them, and retrieving them in more ‘generous’ ways (e.g., Whitelaw 2015). However, even as such experimentation grows, the assets themselves continue to be bound by relatively narrow classifications imposed by experts. Herein structure and reliability are maintained, but relevance and accessibility to the wider world remain limited (Manzo et al. 2015). The stories that can be told through the data are often narrow and pre-determined, with the vast majority devoid of affect, sensuality and agency (Krmpotich and Somerville 2016). The urgency of the predicament is heightened by growing interdisciplinary acknowledgement that this rift is directly linked to systemic bias, social inequity and racial injustice in data repositories (Sanderson and Clemens 2020). Efforts to rectify these biases include archival redescription (Pringle 2020), revised ethical metadata standards (Farnel 2018), felt-experience conceptual model extensions (Canning 2018), and alternative ‘fluid ontologies’ (Srinivasan 2018). The imperative for change to data infrastructures is overt. Yet recognition that such change must begin from the moment the data are conceived (as opposed to the moment they are deposited into a repository) has been slow in coming.

Furthering our argument is the rapid pace of innovation with data acquisition technologies (Morgan et al. 2021), whose workflows still fail to capture important descriptive detail, emotion, human values and multiple viewpoints. Even as community-driven practices grow in popularity, fundamental redesign of our workflows and data to embed communities and justice at their core is still lacking (Dolcetti et al. 2021). Design Justice frameworks enabling such value-led, co-created redesign of digital structures are blossoming (Costanza-Chock 2020), but their systematic use in fields like archaeology is effectively nonexistent.

Through an interdisciplinary team of archaeological specialists, data scientists, and museum practitioners, collaborating with three key user groups – domain experts, creative practitioners, and memory institutions – TETRARCHs will offer those who gather, curate and apply cultural heritage data with critically-aware workflows to prepare their data for enhanced re-use at every point in the data lifecycle (e.g., capture, mapping, lab-based analysis), then scenario-test such re-use through the dissemination of new narrative outputs authored by cross-European creative practitioners. The project embraces three scales of data collection in archaeology – landscape, site and artefact – exploring them via four increasingly ubiquitous technologies for data capture: airborne LiDAR, 3D scanning, digital field drawing and photography.

Alongside novel workflows for field, post-excavation and archival practice, TETRARCHs will produce a controlled vocabulary for cultural heritage storytelling, assessments of data reuse effectiveness following ISO Standard 25022: Measurement of Quality in Use, and best practice recommendations for trusted digital repositories to optimise archaeological data for re-use. This session invites papers on the use and reuse of archaeological data, including case studies, examples of challenges and good practices, provocations and blue-sky thinking for the future of data re/use. Contributors may wish to engage with the themes of TETRARCHs or stretch beyond them. By hosting this session early in the life of TETRARCHs, we hope to foster discussion and collaboration with others who have comparable interests, and ensure that our outcomes are shaped in concert with such intersecting work, and are meaningful to the CAA community at large.


Session papers (from the the CAA 2023 book of abstracts, found here)

08:30 – 08:50

“Is this your first visit to Avebury?” – Creating, Using, and Reusing Archaeological Data in the Avebury Papers
Fran Allfrey (University of York); Ben Chan (University of Bournemouth); Ros Cleal (National Trust); Mark Gillings (University of Bournemouth); Colleen Morgan (GB)

08:50 – 09:10

Digital Marginalia in Archaeological Archives Sveta Matskevich (IAA)

09:10 – 09:30

How Can Imagination Lead Us from Description to Interpretation in Archaeological Practice?
Tessa Poller (University of Glasgow)

09:30 – 09:50

The Dynamic Collections – a 3D Web Platform of Archaeological Artefacts designed for Data Reuse and Deep Interaction.
Marco Callieri (ISTI-CNR); Åsa Berggren (Lund University); Nicolò Dell’Unto (Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Lund University);
Paola Derudas (Lund University); Domenica Dininno (Lund University); Fredrik Ekengren (Lund University); Giuseppe Naponiello (Lund Unicersity)

09:50 – 10:10


10:10 – 10:30

Managing Archaeological Knowledge: A Researcher’s Perspective
Meliha Handzic (International Burch University)

11:00 – 11:20

From thesaurus to semantic network: make (re)usable the ANRJCJC Itineris data
Thomas Huet (University of Oxford, School of Archaeology); Cicolani Veronica (CNRS); Guillaume Reich (Frantiq); Sebastien Durost (Bibracte)

11:20 – 11:40

True integration: moving from just finding archives to interpreting archaeological documentation utilising CRMarchaeo
Jane Jansen (Statens Historiska Museer Arkeologerna); Stephen Stead (GB)

11:40 – 12:00

The reusability of geospatial data in archaeology using web applications: PEPAdb.
Galo Romero-García (Universidad de Sevilla); Daniel Sánchez Gómez (University of Seville); José Ángel Garrido-Cordero (Universidad de Sevilla); Carlos P. Odriozola (Universidad de Sevilla)

12:00 – 12:20

Reuse of photogrammetric data seen from different perspectives: creators, repository providers and users
Andreas Noback (Technical University of Darmstadt); Claudia A. Maechler (Technical University of Darmstadt)

12:20 – 12:40


12:40 – 13:00

The Penfield African American Cemetery Project: Geophysics and Digital Archives for the Public
Robert Theberge (Georgia State University); Jeffrey B Glover (Georgia State University); Spencer Roberts (Emory University)

14:00 – 14:20

Data from the past? The challenge of reusing the Finnish Heritage Agency’s archaeological data
Johanna Roiha (University of Helsinki)

14:20 – 14:40

High Speed 2 vs Unpath’d Waters: Which will need the most corrections?
Evelyn A Curl (Archaeology Data Service); Teagan K Zoldoske (Archaeology Data Service); Jamie G Geddes (Archaeology Data Service)

14:40 – 15:00

How FAIR is bioarchaeological data: with a particular emphasis on making archaeological science data reusable
Alphaeus G W Lien-Talks (University of York, Historic England, Archaeology Data Service)

15:00 – 15:20


15:20 – 15:40

Urban Deep Mapping: The Potential for Meaning Making and Social Benefit in Urban Archive Reuse
Claire Boardman (University of York)

15:40 – 16:00

Semantic Computing Solutions for Opening Archaeological Citizen Science Data
Eljas Oksanen (University of Helsinki); Frida Ehrnsten; Heikki Rantala (Aalto University); Eero Hyvonen (Aalto University and University of Helsinki)

16:30 – 16:50

The understanding of re-use and barriers to re-use of archaeological data. The quality in use methodological approach
Rimvydas Laužikas (Vilnius University Faculty of Communication); Kristy-Lee Seaton (University of York); Holly Wright (University of York); Keith May (Historic England); Peter McKeague (Historic Environment Scotland); Vera Moitinho de Almeida (University of Porto)

16:50 – 17:10

Reuse and the Archaeology Data Service
Holly Wright (University of York)

17:10 – 17:30

Friction, Stiction, and Maybe Some Fiction: Travels and Travails in Digital Data
Jeremy Huggett (University of Glasgow)

17:30 – 17:50