A Faceted Query Engine Applied to Archaeology

Kenneth A. Ross, Angel Janevski, and Julia Stoyanovich

Department of Computer Science, Columbia University, 1214 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10025, USA.
Kenneth A. Ross Angel Janevski Julia Stoyanovich

Cite this as: K.A. Ross et al. 2007 'A Faceted Query Engine Applied to Archaeology', Internet Archaeology 21.


In this article we present the Faceted Query Engine, a system developed at Columbia University under the aegis of the inter-disciplinary project Computational Tools for Modeling, Visualizing and Analyzing Historic and Archaeological Sites. Our system is based on novel Database Systems research that has been published in Computer Science venues (Ross and Janevski, 2004 and Ross et al., 2005). The goal of this article is to introduce our system to the target user audience - the archaeology community.

We demonstrate the use of the Faceted Query Engine on a previously unpublished dataset: the Thulamela (South Africa) collection. This dataset is comprised of iron-age finds from the Thulamela site at the Kruger National Park. Our project is the first to systematically compile and classify this dataset. We also use a larger dataset, a collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts from the Memphis site (Giddy,1999), to demonstrate some of the features of our system.

Our system and the Thulamela dataset are freely available for download at


Computational Tools for Modeling, Visualizing & Analyzing Historic & Archaeological Sites, Columbia University, viewed 31 Oct 2006,

Giddy, L., 1999 The Survey of Memphis II. Kom Rabi'a: The New Kingdom and Post-New Kingdom Objects, The Egypt Exploration Society, London.

Ross, K.A. and Janevski, A., 2004 'Querying faceted databases', Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Semantic Web and Databases, Toronto, Canada, 199-218.

Ross, K.A., Janevski, A. and Stoyanovich, J., 2005 'A Faceted Query Engine applied to archaeology', Proceedings of the 31st International Conference on Very Large Data Bases, ACM, Trondheim, Norway, 1334-7.

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