Combining analytical and digital data in archaeology: towards a multidisciplinary ontological solution. The Salamis terracottas case-study

Valentina Vassallo, Sorin Hermon, Giusi Sorrentino, Uros Damnjanovic


Multidisciplinary research produces heterogeneous data types, such as graphs, spectra, numbers and so on. Usually, what is presented to the research community is the interpretation of that scientific data. In a perspective of data transparency documentation, the auspicable solution would be to put at disposal all data and paradata that brought to that specific interpretation.
How to make available and traceable these different kind of information? How to combine scientific, technological and archaeological data?
This paper focuses on the ongoing multidisciplinary research, carried out within the frame of the EU funded projects ARIADNE and GRAVITATE, based on the integration of such data (e.g. archaeological, digital, chemical) and on the trace of the reasoning in scientific data documentation, analysis and interpretation. The organization of the information according to a rich and cross-domain metadata and to a standard conceptual reference model (CIDOC-CRMsci) will help towards the establishment of a multi-disciplinary research infrastructure.
The research is applied within the terracotta figurines from Salamis-Toumba (Cyprus) project. The archaeological site was excavated in the 19th century and the artefacts are currently stored in different museums. In the past the collection has been studied and the terracottas have been partially published along with their traditional stylistic description. Recently, within the GRAVITATE project, a further study of the collection has been undertaken. The project wants to identify and virtually reconstruct and re-unify parts of shattered or broken cultural objectsw ith a multidisciplinary approach and integration of different digital analyses (e.g. 2D and 3D digital data acquisition, non-invasive and non-destructive chemical/physical analysis, 3D geometrical analysis).