TETRARCHs at CAA Auckland

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TETRARCHs will be represented at the Computer Applications in Archaeology International Conference 8-12 April, 2024. Organised by The University of Auckland Waipapa Taumata Rau and the Australasian chapter of Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology, there are a wide range of excellent sessions, including S22: The Ethics of Open Data organised by Leigh Anne Lieberman (Open Context / Princeton University), Melissa Cradic, (Open Context) and Sarah W. Kansa, (Open Context). TETRARCHs will have two papers in this session.

TETRARCHs partner Holly Wright (University of York) will be presenting:

Reimagining Archaeological Data Management Workflows through the Lens of Reuse (14:20-14:40 on 9 April)


The Archaeology Data Service (ADS) is a CoreTrustSeal accredited archive for digital archaeological data, and a world leader in the
development of best practice and standards development in this domain, but the advent of the FAIR Principles and their application by the ADS has led to changes in the way we think about how we manage our own data workflows. In particular, the idea that all four principles require equal engagement. While the ADS has worked
hard to ensure the data we hold is Findable, Accessible and Interoperable, FAIR has shown us we need to better understand both how our data is Reused, and how to better engage with broader
user communities to ensure we can respond to their needs.
The ADS is working to meet this challenge in a range of ways, but particularly through participation as partners in Transforming Data
Reuse in Archaeology (TETRARCHs). This three year project, funded under the CHANSE ERANET Co-fund programme (which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, under Grant Agreement no 101004509), is experimenting with new approaches to collecting archaeological
data and using that data for storytelling in ways that are meaningful for diverse audiences. This experimentation is also looking at new
approaches to how to better communicate the value of cultural heritage to people who may not see its value, and better support data creators in communicating the value of their work more
directly, as a counterbalance to the ways this information is often misused both socially and politically. To do so, TETRARCHs is creating new workflows for collecting and managing archaeology and
heritage data. This includes examining how archaeological processes in the field, the lab and the archive can be changed to support storytelling with the data, and these workflows are being
developed in partnership with an interdisciplinary team of archaeological specialists, data scientists and museum practitioners, alongside three key audiences: domain experts, creative practitioners, and memory institutions. TETRARCHs is experimenting with archaeological data collection at three different scales as well:
landscapes, single sites, and individual objects, using four increasingly common technologies for data capture: airborne LiDAR, 3D scanning,
digital field drawing and photography. Once the workflows are complete, TETRARCHs will test them by supporting people who work in creative fields to develop new stories and other imaginative works using archaeological data. These new workflows have implications for how this data is managed by archives such as ADS. What changes would be necessary for our workflows to accommodate a much broader understanding of reuse, as defined and developed by the TETRARCHs Project? Do these workflows conflict with the way we must work in order to preserve our accreditation? What aspects could be easily incorporated into our workflows, and what aspects would require longer-term changes to our way of working? How do we balance the time and effort necessary to make these changes with the demands of a busy archive? How does engaging with a project like TETRARCHs help the ADS meet its mission? How replicable and useful are these changes across the archaeological data management domain? This paper will explore these questions and present the results of the ADS partnership in TETRARCHs thus far. It also represents an opportunity for CAA members to give feedback on the progress and direction of this work, as TETRARCHs moves towards its final year.

Please join us if you are in Auckland!


      TETRARCHs video introduction & CHANSE Kick-off conference  in Tallinn, Estonia, 1-2 June 2023

      Several members of the TETRARCHs team (Sara Perry, Holly Wright, Nicolò Dell’Unto, James Tayor, Indrė Jovaišaitė-Blaževičienė, and Anna Simandiraki-Grimshaw) participated in the CHANSE Kick-off conference in Tallinn, Estonia, on 1-2 June 2023.

      TETRARCHs Project Leader, Dr. Sara Perry, presenting at the conference on the inspiration and goals of the project. Photo by Anna Simandiraki-Grimshaw.

      Project Leader Perry presented the premise and goals of the project to the rest of the conference participants, as well as engaged with informal discussions and feedback.

      Below you will find a short video with Sara’s presentation, encapsulating the principles of the project, its importance for multiple stakeholders, and its potential impact on people’s lives.

      You can find a transcript of this video at the end of the post.

      The conference was also an opportunity for TETRARCHs to meet and discuss in person not only the project’s progress, but also wider issues: AI, stakeholders, as well as digital transformation in archaeology within the wider context of digital developments in Europe and beyond. The TETRARCHs team members were able to meet and liaise with other participants in both formal (lectures and discussions) and informal (networking) ways, in order to understand their different perspectives and research challenges.

      Team members at the conference: (from R to L) Indrė Jovaišaitė-Blaževičienė, Sara Perry, Holly Wright, Nicolò Dell’Unto, James Tayor, Anna Simandiraki-Grimshaw. Photo by Blen Taye.

      Video transcript

      Hello all. My name is Sara Perry. I am project leader on ‘Transforming Data Reuse in Archaeology’, or TETRARCHs for short, and I am going to take you through a brief introduction to the TETRARCHs project using a set of slides that we deployed at a conference a couple of days ago in Tallinn, Estonia, the Kick-Off Conference of Collaboration of Humanities and Social Sciences in Europe, or CHANSE, which is the scheme through which TETRARCHs and 25 other European projects focused on digital transformations, are being funded.

      So, I wanted to start by having us do a little bit of an imaginative activity and maybe you wanna close your eyes, or maybe you just wanna conjure up your thinking and I would be grateful if you can spend a moment reflecting on what comes to your mind when I refer to archaeology, what comes into your head when I use the term ‘archaeology’.

      • What does archaeology evoke for you?
      • What does the practise of archaeology make you feel?
      • What thoughts, what kind of imaginings does archaeology conjure up for you?
      • What does archaeology mean to you?

      Now some of you may hear the word ‘archaeology’ and absolutely nothing comes to your mind. Maybe archaeology is meaningless to you.
      Others might be thinking: “Ohh, I’m reminded of a movie or video game that I or a family member, friend has played. Or, I’m thinking about a book that has an archaeological theme.” Or maybe you’re reminded of the experiences that you’ve had in a museum or a historic site that you’ve visited. Or you’re thinking about an artefact that you’ve heard of. Or perhaps you’re thinking about stories on the news or social media about new finds that have emerged through archaeological excavations. Perhaps you’re actually thinking about stories of the destruction or appropriation of your own or others’ cultural heritage. Whatever you do or do not think about archaeology, it is around us all the time. Wherever we go, we are literally standing atop, or sat atop it right now. It will have been removed from or destroyed to make way for the place where you are sat or standing at right now. You yourselves or the belongings that you have on you right now might become future archaeological finds. Archaeology is the material remains of our lives and it is incredibly powerful in the sense that the narratives it can tell us about humans and materials and relationships to the environment can make us completely rethink what it means to be human and how we live our lives now and in the future.

      The problem is that most archaeological data is not actually accessible and what is accessible has usually been stripped of most of its humanity and complexity, and therefore its capacity to express critical narratives about different ways of life, because of how we have acquired and structured archaeological data. The fallout here is that archaeology thus tends to be conceived of simplistically. It is regularly reduced to stereotypes, and it is therefore easily deployed in propaganda in conspiracy theories and in oppressive manoeuvres to control and subjugate and polarise people and planet.

      So this is what TETRARCHs or ‘Transforming Data Reuse in Archaeology’ is all about. It’s about rethinking how we acquire and structure archaeological data in order for it to be the basis of evidence and narratives and experiences that can create a more just, equitable, and complex, but still hopeful present and future for European citizens. We are a team of nearly 20 researchers and professionals from cultural institutions, charities, business and university, working across six countries. We are variously experienced at deploying digital data acquisition technologies, for example, LIDAR or 3D capture or geospatial modelling, and other digital illustrative and photographic tools and software. We are experienced in developing and critiquing vocabulary and ontologies and schema for structuring data, as well as in building and housing data in local and international data repositories. We are also highly experienced in working across communities, especially communities that have been historically disadvantaged or undermined by people in power, including by archaeologists themselves. We’re experienced in working across these communities to understand and facilitate different, more productive and beneficial relationships between them and the institutions and individuals that control or shape connections to their own cultural heritage.

      In the end, on TETRARCHs we are working to reach and impact three main audiences.

      • For heritage professionals, including archaeologists, we are seeking to develop new methods for gathering and structuring, or not structuring as the case may be, archaeological data in ways that are more just and equitable, and therefore that are conducive to generating more just and equitable narratives about the past.
      • For cultural institutions, we are creating reference materials to support them in integrating these data and narratives into their everyday practices, ensuring that archaeology is actually used as it should be: to think more critically, complexly, and in evolving ways about the world around us.
      • And for creative and media practitioners and local citizens, we are developing a platform and providing incentives for all of these individuals to use this platform in order to search for and create more meaningful narratives from archaeological data.

      I hope I’ve managed to pique your interest about TETRARCHs and please do get in touch, as there’s so much more to say and we’d love to hear from you. Reach out on hello[at] or through our website

      Thank you.


      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