As part of the long-term excavation of the Horrea Agrippiana, a major ancient commercial site at the center of Rome, I seek funds to help train me, two colleagues and two undergraduate students in the application of GIS and spatial data collection and analysis programs in tandem with survey equipment (Total stations) for the interpretation of precise geospatial data in relation to our project. Although archaeology is a non-repeatable process that destroys data by way of excavation, we seek to apply and coordinate the use of new digital methods of photogrammetry and geospatial data collection in order to make the process reconstructable, such that the we can recreate our excavation and present it through virtual and augmented reality to the public.
Several archaeological projects in the ancient Mediterranean have succeeded in creating a data set with these tools, but the focus on manual excavation leads many to collect data without using it properly or being able to coordinate its use quickly for public dissemination. We seek to change this. For our project, each layer of earth excavated, each context, feature and find will be recorded and tagged to its find spot using GIS data on site. We will then interpret this material and publish it using ArchGIS, QGIS or another appropriate software. Each photographed layer and each 3D reconstruction will be incorporated and linked to our excavation data using a linked open data system, created with Codifi, Inc. and we will incorporate this into survey and GIS platforms so that these reconstructions are able to be viewed in GIS-enabled global mapping platforms, like Google Earth. We will geotag individual eco and arti-facts using the Total station, and, by linking GIS data with object records in our project database, and we intend to use this excavation as a test-case for the 3-D modeling of all individually recovered materials. Funds from the Resilient Digital Humanities jump-start grant would go to pay for virtual training from major cultural heritage centers in Rome (TerreLogiche/UnaQuantum) and the US (Codifi and Cultural Heritage Imaging) that specialize in the instruction of the integration of these technologies. Training will be for me and my collaborators, Marzia di Mento and Dora Cirone, and two students who are part of our on-site field school.
Together, we will all learn these tools and will then apply them in the field as we lead the geospatial team of the excavation on site over the summer of 2018. With this funding we seek to learn these tools at an advanced level and teach a generation of students how to apply these digital methods to archaeology in the context of ongoing excavation and for widespread dissemination, for the public to experience.
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