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Peter Jensen

Ph.d., AC-TAP, Ph.d.

Peter Jensen
Se relationer på Aarhus Universitet


My project with the Centre for Digital Heritage is for a joint Ph.D. degree between Aarhus University and the University of York titled: 
An Archaeological Data Model for Complex Spatial Data.

The premise of my project is the identification of a significant lack of integration when it comes to data used for archaeological excavation documentation. This calls for a data model, which more coherently integrates all the types of digital data an archaeological excavation may produce.
My main concern is the fact that 3D documentation techniques are increasingly accepted and applied, despite limitations to the technical frameworks we normally use such as GIS or CAD, which were never originally intended to include or visualise 3D data. The new data types generated do not integrate easily with our traditional documentation workflow. Granted, we have a GPS for drawing digitally, and an increasing amount of ‘digital-born’ data, but rectified documentation photos, photogrammetry, Structure From Motion and laser scanning challenge how we manage, integrate, store and analyse spatial data.
Of particular interest is the potential of Structure from Motion and similar techniques for archaeological field recording as they may constitute a new methodological framework, bridging the gap between different field archaeological traditions; A middle ground of documentation principles, where single context planning and strict stratigraphical approaches meet the arbitrary, pragmatic geometric sectioning of features.
In addition to the philosophical implications of a new paradigm of 3D photo-realistic documentation, this “new-objectivity” has arguably profound methodological impact on several aspects of field recording. It offers a new conceptual interface or structure of visual representation, which forces us to construe how an object in a 3D representation relates to a feature in the reality of the past.
The new tools and methods affect the interpretation flow and how we perceive and identify the relation between objects, and redefine the interdisciplinary preconditions of archaeology such as collaboration with geologists.
My main argument is, that the lack of spatial data-integration is not only related to limitations in our tools and the legacy of historical excavation traditions, but also related to the continuous method development, which is particularly closely linked to the technological advances, and how these are adopted and adapted to archaeological practise.
As part of my project, I am developing an online platform, www.archaeo.dk, which seeks to integrate spatial and textual data in a common database model and web browser client interface and used to test technologies and data models. It is, in part, built on my experiences from archaeological documentation at Danish research excavations at Jelling and Alken Enge.
The data model is based on a relational DBMS, but models a more object oriented design. Furthermore, the archaeo.dk project includes mapping strategies for CIDOC-CRM as well as mapping to online thesauri, which could potentially serve as a platform for not only securing legacy data, but also the successful mapping of these and other datasets to CIDOC-CRM and ARIADNE.
The data model is event-based, meaning that no data or record is ever deleted. Everything is tagged with timestamps for creation and deletion, as well as who was responsible any action, which ensures meta-data and para-data related to how data evolves and derives.
My project includes and combines knowledge of standardisation and centralisation of data from Archaeology Data Service at University of York with Danish practices for archaeological documentation, recording and archiving.

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