8. The ArchAIDE Archive

While the mobile and desktop apps were designed to be part of a proof of concept, the ArchAIDE project was committed to creating sustainable outputs where the project held copyright (ArchAIDE consortium 2019). This included making the interoperable, multilingual vocabularies available (Figure 20).

Figure 20
Figure 20: Screenshot of the ArchAIDE archive:

The archive also includes the 2D and 3D models created by CNR-ISTI from the archive Roman Amphorae: a digital resource (University of Southampton 2014), which were used to train the ArchAIDE deep learning algorithm for shape-based image recognition. This aspect of the archive represents a particularly good exemplar of best-practice reuse. Roman Amphorae: a digital resource was first deposited with the ADS in 2005, receiving a small update in 2014. As this archive is a comparative collection, allowing users to identify amphorae types, rather than the output of a particular archaeological project, it is widely used around the world as a resource. In fact, of the over 1000 'data rich' archives held by ADS, it is the single most popular resource, consistently receiving an average of 30,000 page-views every month. As such, the archive has become an authoritative resource, showing the potential of digital comparative collections when made freely and openly available.

When David Williams and Simon Keay of the University of Southampton first deposited the archive with the ADS in 2005, creating automated 2D and 3D models that could be used to create 'virtual sherds' to train the deep learning algorithm could not have been a use envisioned for the resource. As 2D and 3D models were created for every amphorae type and variant from Roman Amphorae, it was possible to link the two archives, amplifying the usefulness of both. With the kind permission of Williams and Keay, when a user now accesses the Roman Amphorae archive, and chooses an amphorae type to explore, in addition to the characteristics, pictures, drawings and petrology etc., there is now a link to 3D models, with the ArchAIDE logo to indicate it is a linked resource (Figure 21).

Figure 21
Figure 21: Screenshot of the archive Roman Amphorae: a digital resource, showing the ArchAIDE logo and a new link to 3D models on the right side of the menu bar for each type:

Clicking through to the model for the desired type takes users directly to the page for that type in the ArchAIDE archive, which includes 2D vector drawings in SVG format for download, and 3D models for interactive use within the 3D viewer (created using 3DHOP). The models can be manipulated and measured in a variety of ways (Figure 22). The 3D models are in OBJ format, and can also be downloaded for use with 3D software and for 3D printing (Figure 23).

Figure 22: Carrot Amphora DR103 in the 3D viewer.

Finally, the ArchAIDE archive contains the video corpus created to both document and promote the project. Several of the videos from the archive are embedded within this article, which focused on the project generally, but there are many more in the archive that include individual interviews with partners, and self-shot partner profiles that were later professionally edited by the University of Pisa. The archive also includes the 30-minute ArcAIDE Documentary, created with footage shot over the course of the project. The ArchAIDE video archive not only represents a unique record of the project, but also an unusual record of the experience of implementing a European Commission-funded project with partners working across several countries.

Figure 23
Figure 23: 3D printed Roman amphorae from the ArchAIDE archive at the final project review in Brussels, 2019


Internet Archaeology is an open access journal based in the Department of Archaeology, University of York. Except where otherwise noted, content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY) Unported licence, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided that attribution to the author(s), the title of the work, the Internet Archaeology journal and the relevant URL/DOI are given.

Terms and Conditions | Legal Statements | Privacy Policy | Cookies Policy | Citing Internet Archaeology

Internet Archaeology content is preserved for the long term with the Archaeology Data Service. Help sustain and support open access publication by donating to our Open Access Archaeology Fund.