The 2016 Summer School

WP8 – Legacy data and dataset design

Digital curation of archaeological knowledge

New approaches to digital research, information management and communication in archaeology

An ARIADNE summer school, 12 – 17 June 2016, Athens, Greece

Organized by the Digital Curation Unit, IMIS – Athena Research Centre
Co-organized with the Faculty of Information (iSchool), University of Toronto
and the Department of Informatics, Athens University of Economics and Business


Two centuries of archaeological research and an even longer time of engagement with visible archaeological sites, monuments and museum collections have resulted in the accumulation of a vast volume of data and resources documenting the global archaeological record.  Archaeologists, stewards of archaeological resources, museum and cultural heritage professionals increasingly face the challenge of having to build on valuable pre-existing archaeological knowledge, often derived from long-finished excavation projects, from the records of contract and urban archaeology, or from the evidence in ethnographic testimony, past scholarship, textual sources and visual representations of the past. Such knowledge may be based on resources which are partially documented, uncurated or generally lacking adequate documentation about their content and context, it sometimes has to be sought outside the realm of organized archaeological archives, or it may be manifested in resources such as nomenclatures, established typologies and classifications, chronological systems, and gazeteers. Ensuring its usefulness and future availability for future archaeological research, public communication and reuse in a variety of contexts necessitates the adoption of new digital methods of data modeling, knowledge representation, categorization and classification, integration, analysis, visualization and publication. It calls for multidisciplinary collaboration which, apart from researchers, may also involve professional archaeologists, museum professionals, information scientists, archivists, data curators, and computer scientists.

To meet this challenge, and following the success of the 2015 ARIADNE summer school on Emerging digital approaches to archaeological research, the Digital Curation Unit-IMIS, Athena Research Centre (DCU) organizes a summer school focusing on the Digital curation of archaeological knowledge, as an ARIADNE Transnational Access (TNA) activity. The summer school, which will take place in Athens, Greece, between 12 and 17 June 2016, is co-organized with the Faculty of Information (iSchool), University of Toronto and the Department of Informatics, Athens University of Economics and Business. It leverages the work of the ARIADNE project to unlock future possibilities towards the effective discovery, integration, enrichment and reuse of pre-existing data and resources useful for archaeological research, management and interpretation, afforded by digital tools and services such as the ARIADNE registry of archaeological datasets, controlled vocabularies and metadata schemas, and by methodological knowledge on digital curation, semantic modeling and enrichment of archaeological data. The summer school will draw primarily from the direct research experience and interests of participants on issues as diverse as the data modeling and reuse of pre-existing archaeological and historical evidence, its integration with scholarly and local knowledge, its applicability for the construction of reliable digital models and scientific data, the impact of open and community archaeology practices, as well as of global, networked and cloud information infrastructures, on the formation of the digital archaeological record.


The main objective of the summer school is to enable researchers and professionals in the knowledge domains of archaeology, information and archival science, museums and cultural heritage management to engage with current approaches to the digital curation of archaeological knowledge, ranging from methods to represent, contextualize and curate archaeological resources and data to new approaches to archaeological interpretation and dissemination, mediated by digital infrastructures.  It will provide ca. 25 postgraduate, postdoctoral and experienced researchers engaged with digitally-enabled work with a moderated format to share, discuss and elaborate innovative research practices and methods related to representing, curating and reusing diverse pre-existing data and knowledge for the benefit of archaeological research, management and communication.


The summer school will focus on the elaboration of current and emerging issues, approaches and expertise on the digital curation of archaeological knowledge, in the context of digital  archaeological archives, research repositories and pervasive scholarly infrastructures. It will be based on bringing together the experience and expertise on participants with an archaeological research, information management and/or communication project, based on pre-existing archaeological resources or knowledge. It will combine formal lectures with the elaboration of individual case studies based on participant projects, as well as structured discussion and breakout group activities.

The 2016 Athens summer school consists of two modules: a workshop on Digital approaches to archaeological knowledge curation (from Sunday, 12 to Thursday, 16 June) and and expert forum on The future of archaeological knowledge curation 2021-2026 (from Thursday, 16 to Friday, 17 June).The first session is composed by two tracks: half-day modules on selected topics, in tandem with the elaboration and mentoring of individual projects of each participant in afternoon practicum sessions. The second module is an expert forum on The future of  archaeological knowledge curation (2021-2026). Presenters and discussants will include members of the ARIADNE Special Interest Group on archaeological digital research practices and methods, collectively possessing significant expertise on digital archaeology, as well as a number of additional participants experienced with the digital curation of pre-existing archaeological resources and knowledge. Attendees will be invited to take part in a report summarizing individual contributions, lessons learned from the summer school,and a futures view on digital archaeological curation.

Further information on these modules is available in the programme page. Applicants are required to indicate, in their application form, if they wish to attend the first module, the second module, or both. Places are limited, so early application is advised.


Participants will be expected to have some experience and expertise in some aspect of digitally-enabled archaeological work, and to be currently engaged with a project of archaeological research, management and/or communication which involves the representation, management and analysis of a body of pre-existing archaeological resources or knowledge. Applicants affiliated with an academic or archaeological institution in the European Union may be eligible for an ARIADNE TNA grant, under the terms outlined in the 2016 TNA call page of the ARIADNE website.