Workshops and Round Tables


The following workshops and round tables have been accepted for presentation at CAA2009.


Archaeological site prospection using Google Earth

Organizer: Scott L. Madry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, United States of America

This workshop will be a hands-on introduction to using Google Earth for archaeological site prospection and recording. The presenter has several years experience in using Google Earth for site prospection in France, the Isle of Man, and Peru. Methods and techniques for systematic site prospection will be covered, along with physical processes leading to site visibility. Techniques of recording, documenting, and sharing located features will also be covered. After this workshop participants should be able to conduct independent site surveys using Google Earth.

The session will run 135 minutes and has no required prerequisites other than minimal computer ability or minimal experience using Google Earth. The maximum number of participants will be the number of computers available. One computer per participant, loaded with Google Earth and with internet access is required, along with a projection system for the instructor's computer.

This workshop will be similar to one presented at the Berlin CAA.

Topics: GIS, Google Earth and archaeology

Keywords: Google Earth, site prospection, aerial image analysis

ArchCamp 7

Organizers: Gareth C Beale and Leif Isaksen, University of Southampton, United Kingdom

ArchCamp is a regular meeting of minds and idea swapping session held by the Antiquist Cultural Heritage and IT online community. ArchCamp is intended as an open forum within which to demonstrate and to discuss ongoing, interesting and innovative projects and ideas. The session will take a round table format with all attendees welcome to comment and interact on an equal footing.

In order to keep things interesting we ask that participants bring a topic or topics with them that they would be interested in presenting. These will be listed during a round of introductions after which we will agree upon a loose thematic agenda according to the interests of those present.

Generally speaking, presentations will last 5-10 minutes followed by a further 10-20 minutes of interactive demonstration of the relevant tools and technologies. Time will be set aside at the end to pass on and discuss any web discoveries or matters of common interest that participants may have stumbled upon prior to our session.

ArchCamp has been successfully held in conjunction with four previous CAA conferences (Southampton and Berlin 2007, York and Budapest 2008) and will also be held at CAA UK 2009 in Liverpool. The session lasts generally lasts for around 3 hours and is traditionally followed by drinks, food and sparkling conversation at a local watering hole.

For details of past ArchCamps, see:

Topics: Other

Keywords: Open Discussion

Capturing and publishing information with the Heurist e-Research framework

Organizers: Ian Johnson and Cathy Campbell, University of Sydney, Australia

In this 2 hour workshop we will move from the creation of a database and related bibliographic information in a flexible Web 2.0 environment to its interactive publication on the web using interactive maps, timelines and linked records of related information (presented as pop-ups on the map or as formatted lists coordinated with the map).

We will illustrate this process with a small sample of heritage site locations and the publications and web sites related to them, but you are welcome to bring some additional site and bibliographic data for inclusion (or indeed other types of archaeological or historic information which you would like to be able to record, relate, share and publish).

The software used – Heurist ( – is freely available and was developed as generic eResearch infrastructure for use in archaeology, history and related fields where geography, time and rich descriptive and classificatory information are common. Heurist is designed to be a single, integrated solution to most of the data management, bibliographic and web publication needs of an individual or workgroup (whether co-located or virtual).

Heurist has a very wide range of functions – of which we will barely scratch the surface – from simple day-to-day activities such as Internet book-marking, social discovery and sharing of information within workgroups (including bibliographic data, rich textual description, notes and annotations with embedded multimedia) through web publication of research databases (such as project inventories, people, events, date determinations or samples), to a programming API which can be used to develop advanced applications (including complex networks of related records, granular annotation within documents and synchronization with repositories).

We will start by book-marking some relevant web sites (including importing some browser bookmarks), import some bibliographic data from Zotero and EndNote, some photographs from disk and some geographic data from Google KML files, and also enter a few records by hand. Then we will build relationships between records, linking sites to photographs and the bibliographic references which describe them, and tag and save subsets of these sites (by period, by tagging) for eventual publication. Finally we will publish an interactive map and timeline of sites and a formatted list of sites, embedded in a web page.

You will not learn everything there is to know about Heurist in this short introduction, but we will introduce you to many of the essential elements and give you a taste of the ways it is being used in a wide variety of applications. You will leave with the skills to start book-marking web sites and using Heurist day-to-day as well as creating databases, bibliographies and data feeds into web pages (including web sites in an institutional CMS).

The workshop is suitable across a wide range of skill levels – beginners will gain confidence in being able to collect data, including geographic data, and publish live data to the web; advanced users will grasp the potential for an integrated approach to web-based data management, sharing and repurposing.

Maximum audience: 40

Topics: databases, data management systems and other field applications, Other

Keywords: social applications, online databases, web mapping, eResearch infrastructure, web publishing

CIDOC Archaeological Sites Working Group meeting

Organizer: Stephen Stead, Paveprime LTD, United Kingdom

The CIDOC Archaeological Sites Working Group has a number of exciting projects on the go. In this meeting we will report on progress and discuss issues that have been raised since the last meeting in Athens during September 2008. It is hoped that substantial progress can be made on a number of editing and compilation tasks during this session. Details of the agenda and all working documents are hosted on the CIDOC Forum at . All interested parties are invited to join the forum and review the projects, documents and discussion and make their own contributions. Registration is free, easy to complete and allows access to the Working Groups own sub-forum.

The current projects are:-

Thesaurus of Period Names

The proposal is to develop a data model for storing the data necessary to provide inter-operability between regional and/or institutional cultural period thesauri. This would include the acquisition of sufficient test data to verify the data model is adequate and consider delivery mechanisms and data acquisition tools for the expansion and propagation of the resulting data set.

Standards in Use

This is intended to gather a list of different standards in use in archaeology.

This will aid with digital preservation and help the targetting of scarce resources on the appropriate development areas.

Mutliple levels of standards have been identified

1] Technical standards (ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country codes, ISO 3166-1 alpha-3)

2] File Formats (pdf, doc, docx)

3] Content Standards (CIDOC Core Data Standard)

4] Meta data and high level standards (Dublin Core, CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model)

Standard for the deposition of Archaeological archives

The purpose of this is to produce an international standard that individual countries and regions can use as a touchstone when defining their own deposition standards. This is particularly to support countries when issuing excavation licences which need to enforce the deposition of excavated materials and excavation records.

Revision of Core Data Standard


Multilingual Thesauri of Archaeological site types

Development of this thesaurus using an online collaborative KOS system.

Meta-list of lists of thesauri

This is intended to provide a single point of discovery for terminology control. There is no intension to maintain a list of terminology control resources but provide pointers to lists that are maintained by other organizations

Archaeological Implementations of the CIDOC CRM

Compile a list of archaeological CRM exemplars

So come and take part in the development of these resources. All help is welcome as are new projects that you think should be taken under the CIDOC wing.

Topics: CIDOC and other digital standards, databases, Other

Keywords: CIDOC, CIDOC CRM, Thesauri, Archive, Digital Preservation

The CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model - New Standard for Knowledge Sharing

Organizer: Stephen Stead, Paveprime LTD, United Kingdom

This tutorial will introduce the audience to the CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model, a core ontology and ISO standard (ISO 21127) for the semantic integration of cultural information with library, archive and other information. The CIDOC CRM concentrates on the definition of relationships, rather than classes, in order to capture the underlying semantics of multiple data and metadata structures. This leads to a compact model of 82 classes and 132 relationships, that is easy to comprehend and suitable to serve as a basis for mediation of cultural and other information and thereby provide the semantic 'glue' needed to transform today’s disparate, localized information sources into a coherent and valuable global resource. It comprises the concepts characteristic of most museum, archive and library documentation.

The tutorial aims at rendering the necessary knowledge to understand the potential of applying the CRM - where it can be useful and what the major technical issues of its application are. It will present information integration by employing a core ontology of relationships, in contrast to the prescription of a common data format, as an approach applicable to other domains. Participants with some background in information modeling should be able to use the CIDOC CRM in their applications after this course and some further reading.

Topics: CIDOC and other digital standards

Keywords: CIDOC CRM, ISO21127, Data standards, Ontology

High Definition 3D-Surface Scanning in Arts and Cultural Heritage

Organizers: Bernd Breuckmann, Breuckmann GmbH, Germany and William Mongon, Accurex Measurement Inc., United States of America

Prior to the invention of photography, there was only limited possibility to capture the real world in an objective way, main reason being that all kind of literature and arts, especially paintings and sculptures, contain an intrinsic subjective component. Although photography, and later on digital image processing, have provided complete new possibilities for archiving and documentation tasks, any 2D-technique is inherently characterized by strong limitations to reproduce the 3-dimensional world. However, within the last 5 years, advanced 3-dimensional surface scanners have been developed, now opening the 3rd dimension to digital image processing techniques.

The workshop will concentrate on topometrical high definition 3D-surface scanners, optimized for the requirements of arts and cultural heritage, allowing the 3-dimensional digitization of art objects and paintings at the highest level of resolution and accuracy.

Focus of attention will be given on the following applications:

  • Digitization of archaeological findings with highest definition
  • Documentation and archiving of archaeological treasures
  • Generating a digital fingerprint of paintings, incl. texture and 3D-information
  • 3D-data capturing for the manufacturing of certified high accurate copies

Covering these subjects, the workshop is equally addressed to archaeologists, anthropologists, paleontologists as well as photographers, computer scientists, restaurateurs, conservators.

The workshop will consist of three parts:

  • Part 1 will give an overview about the state of the art of high definition 3D-surface scanners
  • In Part 2, two typical system configurations of high definition 3D-scanners are demonstrated.
  • In Part 3, the audience can actively participate in the workshop.

Participants without previous knowledge in the field of 3D-scanning will be given the opportunity to gain their first experience in scanning archaeological objects. Attendees already familiar or experienced with 3D-scanning can broaden their knowledge in this field by getting in touch with the latest developments.

Participants for the Part 3 should at least have some basic experience using a PC under the Windows operating system.

For the presentation in Part 1 of the workshop, no limitation for the number of participants is required. The number of participants for Part 2 should not exceed 40, and for Part 3 it should be limited to 20.

The first two parts of the workshop will take 30 min. each, followed by a break of 15 min. For the third interactive part we suggest a length of 60 min. In total, the workshop will thus cover 135 minutes, including the break.

The respective speeches for the workshop will be given by

  • Dr. Bernd Breuckmann, CEO of Breuckmann GmbH, Germany
  • Mr. William Mongon, CEO of Accurex Measurement, Inc., New Jersey, USA

Topics: 3D data capture and modeling

Keywords: 3D data capturing, white light scanning, digital fingerprint of paintings, certified copies of archaeological treasures

New Dimensions in Profile Modeling: Rapid Digitization of Archaeological Objects

Organizer: Douglas W. Gann, Center for Desert Archaeology, United States of America

Profile modeling allows for the rapid, accurate, and low-cost digitization of three dimensional objects or artifacts without the use of expensive and cumbersome LIDAR scanning. Within the profile modeling process, digital representations of three dimensional artifacts are created through the use of calibrated digital photography. Photo-realistic texture maps are then automatically generated, along with associated U V mapping data. The resulting three dimensional models generated by this process have tremendous utility in research and interpretive contexts, with the most obvious applications being in virtual museum and virtual reality display systems.

A NEH funded prototype of this technology, currently being used for the digitization of large collection of southwestern ceramics, is available on-line at A pdf version of this prototype is available at

This workshop will critically examine the benefits and drawbacks of profile modeling by demonstrating the profile modeling process on a variety of real or replica artifact types. Different profile modeling systems will be compared for the discussion of suitable applications in archaeological research.

Workshop participants will be given a DVD Rom with raw data sets and trial versions of all of the software necessary to create a detailed three dimensional artifact model of their own choice. Workshop participants will need to either bring a suitable MS Windows based laptop, or be provided with a similar workstation for participating in the creation of three dimensional artifact models. Should time and the setting allow an extended demonstration, workshop participants should be able to generate their own data set for an artifact model of their choice.

This demonstration will utilize end user instruction with the programs 3d Solid Object Modeler Professional Version 2, Strata Photo 3d and Strata Live 3d. Additional demonstrations will employ the use of Virtual Reality Markup Language (VRML) display software, 3d Studio Max and Adobe Acrobat to highlight additional refinements and applications of the end result of profile modeling projects.

Upon completion of this 2 hour workshop, participants should be able to begin using profile modeling for the rapid digitization of the morphology and texture of three dimensional artifacts. Workshop participants will also be provided with a basic working knowledge of the techniques used to share these models over the internet through HTML using Javascript, Flash, or Shockwave as well as PDF and VRML display systems.

Topics: 3D data capture and modeling, photogrammetry and imaging, virtual museums, virtual reality

Keywords: 3d, Digitizing, Modeling, Virtual, Museum

Practical resources and integrated services for preserving Cultural Heritage

Organizers: Stephen Stead, Paveprime LTD, United Kingdom; Michael Ashley, Cultural Heritage Imaging; Mark Mudge, Cultural Heritage Imaging; Cinzia Perlingieri, University “l’Orientale” of Naples, University of California, Berkeley; and Carla Schroer, Cultural Heritage Imaging

Themes addressed:

  • Data acquisition and recording techniques for Cultural Heritage
  • Documentation and Spatial Information Management
  • Standards and documentation for Cultural Heritage
  • Internet-based Cultural Heritage applications
  • e-Libraries and e-Learning in Cultural Heritage
  • Reports, activities and Integration of related disciplines and techniques

Purpose and benefits of this workshop: This workshop will take a holistic approach to comprehensive workflows that integrate best practices in the creation, management and preservation of digital resources for CH. We will explore the diverse standards for documenting cultural heritage sites, which can ensure 1) reliability of the resources; 2) open access to high quality resources; 3) long-term preservation; and 4) sharing and interoperability. Our aims for this workshop are three-fold, as is its structure:

Hour 1) Discuss and debate decision-making principles for digital informatics in cultural heritage documentation and preservation. What standards of practice mind both sides of the cultural/digital gap? Where are the decision-points in preservation workflows, and what are the alternatives? What technological solutions are of lowest risk and highest impact for heritage documentation? We will point to real-world standards in practice that are effective and will seek from the workshop participants other examples and resources in this critical domain.

Hour 2) Defining the digital universe of technological tools and practices already in use in heritage. While best practices and standards are useful when followed, the majority of legacy information for cultural heritage is squirreled away in hard drives, outdated software applications and outmoded methodologies. We raise this issue for discussion and offer an action plan for collecting a comprehensive list of risk areas and solutions for the digital deluge that is already upon us. We will outline mitigation, migration, archiving and repository strategies, and push for contributions from all participants.

Hour 3) Empirical provenance and 'process history'. Documenting the decision-steps in archaeological fieldwork and digital informatics - from photography, lab work, scanning, modeling, etc - are essential to building context, evaluating reliability and accuracy, as well as providing transparency and scientific replicability. Documenting documentation is rarely done to a sufficient level, for it is time consuming and the perceived, present value is minimal. The CIDOC-CRM, an ISO standard, now includes options for 'empirical provenance,' where the entire process history of any event can be recorded and evaluated. We will demonstrate the phenomenal value of this approach to field and lab recording, and offer up solutions that make this documentation painless and immediately valuable.

Outcomes: Participants will come away with strategies for coping with their own digital deluges, as well as key opportunities to contribute to a growing network of digital heritage informatics professionals who are dedicated to the long term sustainability of our cultural past and digital future. We will work to integrate the outcomes from this workshop into existing working groups as well as form a new working community to carry on these particular subject areas.

Who should attend: Anyone interested in digital documentation and preservation strategies for cultural heritage are encouraged to attend.

Topics: CIDOC and other digital standards, databases, data management systems and other field applications, Other

Keywords: Cooperation, Integration, Standards, Requirements, Digital

Round Tables

Excavation to publication: developing and applying integrated digital technologies

Organizers: Michael John Rains, York Archaeological Trust, United Kingdom; Michael Fulford, University of Reading, United Kingdom; Claire Warwick, University College London, United Kingdom; Steve Stead, Pave Prime, United Kingdom; Carla Schroer, Cultural Heritage Imaging, USA; Eric Kansa, University of California, Berkeley, USA; Sarah Whitcher Kansa, Alexandria Archive Institute, USA; Julian Richards, Archaeology Data Service, United Kingdom; and Benjamin Ducke, Oxford Archaeology, United Kingdom

The UK JISC funded VERA (Virtual Environments for Research in Archaeology) project is a collaboration between the University of Reading (Department of Archaeology and School of Systems Engineering), University College London and York Archaeological Trust. Over the last two years, the project has looked at various aspects of the acquisition, management and dissemination of the digital record of the large research excavation at Silchester Roman Town, Hampshire, England. The project is centered on the IADB (Integrated Archaeological Database), which has been used as the excavation recording system at Silchester since the start of the archaeological project 12 years ago. A key aim of the VERA project has been to improve the accessibility of the digital records to co-workers, particularly those such as artefact specialists who are not generally physically present on the excavation. In practical terms this has involved a number of themes:

  • Trials of digital recording devices including hand held Internet tablets, digital pens and digital clipboards to speed up the availability of the digital records.
  • Extensive user needs analysis, linked to these trials, to ensure that the solutions created fit problems exposed.
  • New visualization techniques, both 2D through enhancements to the traditional stratigraphic matrix diagram, and 3D mechanisms.
  • Improvements to IADB functionality and the user interface.
  • Standardization of the IADB within a portal framework to improve security, accessibility and sustainability.
  • Direct web report and database publication within the IADB framework.

During the course of the VERA project a number of important issues have arisen, including:

  • The fragility of on-site infrastructure,
  • The robustness and usability of digital recording devices,
  • The central role of the Context Recording Sheet in excavation recording,
  • Managing the introduction of new technologies and techniques into long running fieldwork projects with well established management and recording systems,
  • The importance of training,
  • The need for well established management and data validation procedures,
  • The importance of extensive and detailed user needs analysis,
  • The role of appropriate and useful visualization techniques, and whether legacy data can have a role in 3D visualizations.
  • The appropriate open source model for applications such as the IADB and the data they contain.

In two ninety minute sessions, these issues will be covered in a number of papers to be submitted by members of the VERA team. Proposed topics include:

  • Managing Change: introducing innovation into well established systems.
  • User Needs Analysis: what do users really need and want?
  • Innovation in Visualization: using data in innovative ways, which fulfils researcher needs.
  • Evaluating Innovation: does it work? Is it worth it?

Papers are also invited from other CAA members who would like to address any of these issues, particularly from their own practical experience. The VERA project session will be chaired by Steve Stead.

It is proposed that the formal paper session should be followed by a round table discussion which would focus on the implications of the VERA project for the wider archaeological community. The round table will be chaired and moderated by Steve Stead and the panel will include both VERA and non-VERA participants.

Topics: databases, 3D data capture and modeling, data management systems and other field applications, open source software in archaeology

Keywords: VERA, IADB, User Needs, 3D

From Access to Collaboration and Synthesis: How do we get there?

Organizers: Fraser D. Neiman, Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Monticello, United States of America; Worthy Martin, University of Virginia; Steven Plog, University of Virginia; Jillian Galle, Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Monticello, United States of America; Julian Richards, Archaeological Data Service; Willeke Wendrich, University of Southern California, and Watkinson Charles, The American School of Classical Studies at Athens

Increasingly, archaeologists have found that their quests to understand the past and to evaluate that understanding objectively require comparative analysis of multiple sites and assemblages, scattered across temporal scales ranging from decades to millennia and at spatial scales ranging from single sites to entire continents. The emergence of web-enabled database technologies has solved the base-level problem of access to data. However, the simple feasibility of web access is not enough to advance historical understanding.

This roundtable session is devoted to a wide-ranging consideration of the serious additional obstacles that remain, the assessment of recent strategies designed to overcome some of them, and a consideration of novel strategies that might successfully address others. Among the outstanding issues we consider are the difficult problems of coalescing existing datasets into large-scale databases to facilitate comparative and synthetic analysis.

Although some commonalities exist in the intellectual organization of the content of digital resources, the categories, allowable value ranges and modes of expression of that content vary widely: some incidentally, many substantially. These varieties occur across the full range of conceptualization: data storage forms, indexing mechanisms, collection management techniques, finding-aid forms, base archaeological classification measurement protocols, and levels of data aggregation. To what extent might these problems be solved by the post-hoc use of ontologies in integrating existing datasets? Can large-scale collaborative projects that seek to collect and integrate data related to a particular region or problem, on scales that have been previously unimaginable in the discipline, encourage sharing of measurement protocols and the data that result from their application, along with comparative and synthetic analysis? In the wake of two decades of post modernism and the correlated disengagement of much of our discipline with comparative research and the computing and quantitative skills required to execute it on large amounts of data, how can we ensure that curious archaeologists everywhere can receive the technical training required to take advantage of the new analytical opportunities? How can we foster the wider understanding of the critical roles that digital data sharing and preservation play in professional ethics?

In considering these and other questions, we emphasize not only the technical issues, but the social and cultural ones as well. Panelist contributions will feature case studies designed to illustrate concretely the issues involved and to catalyze discussion with the audience.

Topics: databases, data management systems and other field applications

Keywords: data sharing, collaboration, synthesis