A new stage in data-driven methods and computer-based tools applied to archaeology: the ArchAIDE project – ARCHaelogical Automatic Interpretation and Documentation of cEramics – funded by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the European Union. ArchAIDE will start on June 2016 and will end on May 2019.

The objectives are to support the classification and interpretation work of archaeologists with innovative computer-based tools, able to provide the user with features for the semi-automatic description and matching of potsherds over the huge existing ceramic catalogues.

Pottery classification is of fundamental importance for the comprehension and dating of the archaeological contexts, and for understanding production, trade flows and social interactions, but it requires complex skills and it is a very time consuming activity, both for researchers and professionals. This tool would revolutionise archaeologists habits, behaviours and expectations, would meet real user needs and generate economic benefits, reducing time and costs, would create societal benefits from cultural heritage, improving access, re-use and exploitation of the digital cultural heritage in a sustainable way.

We will work on the development of:

  • an as-automatic-as-possible procedure to transform the paper catalogues in a digital description, to be used as a data pool for search and retrieval process;
  • a tool (mainly designed for mobile devices) that will support archaeologists in recognising and classifying potsherds during excavation and post-excavation analysis, through an easy-to-use interface and efficient algorithms for characterization, search and retrieval of the visual/geometrical correspondences;
  • an automatic procedure to derive a complete potsherd’s identity card by transforming the data collected into a formatted electronic document, printable or visual;
  • a web-based real-time data visualization to improve access to archaeological heritage and generate new understanding;
  • an open archive to allow the archival and re-use of archaeological data, transforming them into common heritage and permitting economic sustainability.

ArchAIDE project is coordinated by LabMAPPA of the University of Pisa, and participated by Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (Italy), Tel Aviv University (Israel), University of York (United Kingdom), Universitat de Barcelona (Spain), Universität zu Köln (Germany), Baraka Arquelogos s.l. (Spain), Elements Centro de gestio i difusio de Patrimoni Cultural (Spain), Inera srl (Italy).

Here you see the forthcoming kick-off Meeting!