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DB-HERITAGE Building Materials Data Aggregation in ARIADNE - challenges and opportunities

Maria J. Correia and António Santos Silva

Cite this as: Correia, M.J. and Santos Silva, A. 2023 DB-HERITAGE Building Materials Data Aggregation in ARIADNE - challenges and opportunities, Internet Archaeology 64.


DB-HERITAGE provides open and free sharing of wide-ranging technical data on hundreds of samples of building materials from diverse periods, extracted from Portuguese built heritage all over the world. It has been developed to improve know-how for historic building materials and as a basis for developing best practices for built heritage conservation. It incorporates both physical and digital repositories for building material samples and related data, providing tools for the systematic recording of data concerning the history, properties, and performance of materials used in Portuguese built heritage.

DB-HERITAGE targets different communities, researchers, and stakeholders involved in the preservation of archaeological and architectural heritage. It provides a systematisation of building assets, within their related environmental, social, and cultural contexts, as well as displaying technical and scientific information on structural elements, built components and their constituent materials. Although the rationale of the wide context sustaining the DB-HERITAGE concept is clear, coordinating communities and reduced time-to-value represent extra requirements for data quality, improved tools, and an efficient management plan.

The participation in ARIADNEplus challenged DB-HERITAGE to get the most out of standardised procedures and the FAIR principles, strengthening its data management plan and practices. Data processing has been improved by deploying a common ontology and further developing standards, shared semantics, and identifiers. Updated protocols for data sharing and detailed information on provenance have also been developed to enhance data reuse.

This article presents an overview of the aggregation process of DB-HERITAGE data into ARIADNEplus. It includes a summary of DB-HERITAGE's strengths and of the challenges faced within the scope of the aggregation process, with examples of some of DB-HERITAGE's major outputs. Additionally, it considers the benefits and opportunities provided by participation in ARIADNEplus.

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  • Keywords: heritage safeguard, heritage assets conservation, building materials, FAIR data
  • Accepted: 26 July 2023. Published: 31 October 2023
  • Funding: This article is based upon work from ARIADNEplus and COST Action SEADDA, supported by COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology).
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Corresponding author: Maria J. CorreiaORCID logo
National Laboratory for Civil Engineering, Lisbon, Portugal

António Santos Silva ORCID logo
National Laboratory for Civil Engineering, Lisbon, Portugal

Full text

Figure 1: DB-HERITAGE project logo and page header image (detailed information available at

Figure 2: Simplified schema of DB-HERITAGE model with illustrating figures from the Roman archaeological site of Tróia

Figure 3: Roman archaeological site of Tróia. Example of first-level data of the collection mapped to AO-Cat and respective dataset accessed in ARIADNEplus portal (

Figure 4: Schematics of the information required for the full description of an asset according to the DB-HERITAGE model

Figure 5: Roman archaeological site of Tróia. Outline of data systematisation illustrated with examples taken from an inspection event (see

Figure 6: Roman archaeological site of Tróia. Example of analytical data of specimens obtained from a sample (TPh 31) of the pavement of a cetarea (salting tank) (see

Correia, M.J., Santos Silva, A., Neto, F. and Martins, M. 2019 'Portuguese cultural heritage data access tools and policies – anticipated impacts of ARIADNEplus' in J. Richards and F. Niccolucci (eds) The ARIADNE Impact, Budapest: Archaeolingua Foundation. 107-112.

Richards, J.D. 2023 'Joined up Thinking: Aggregating archaeological datasets at an international scale', Internet Archaeology 64.

Santos Silva, A., Correia, M.J., Rato, L. and Matos, N. 2017a 'Building materials with historical and heritage interest – a database in progress' in PROHITECH'17. 3rd International Conference on Protection of Historical Constructions, Lisbon, Portugal, 12 – 15 July, 2017, Lisbon.

Santos Silva, A., Menezes, M. and Correia, M.J. 2017b 'The archive of historical materials in the digital era as cultural value' in M. Menezes, D. Costa and J.D. Rodrigues (eds) IMaTTe2017- Intangibility Matters - International conference on the values of tangible heritage, Lisbon, May 29-30, 2017, LNEC: Lisboa. 407-412.

Santos Silva, A., Paiva, M., Ricardo, J., Salta, M., Monteiro, A.M. and Candeias, A.E. 2006 'Characterisation of roman mortars from the archaeological site of Tróia (Portugal)', Materials Science Forum 514-516, 1643-1647.

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