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Prehistoric Mining Data: How to create Open Data from archaeological research for the ARIADNE community and beyond

Gerald Hiebel, Brigit Danthine, Milena Peralta Friedburg and Manuel Scherer-Windisch

Cite this as: Hiebel, G., Danthine, B., Peralta Friedburg, M. and Scherer-Windisch, M. 2023 Prehistoric Mining Data: How to create Open Data from archaeological research for the ARIADNE community and beyond, Internet Archaeology 64.


Making archaeological data available for the scientific community received a major boost through the ARIADNE Infrastructure projects that began in 2013. The purpose of this article is to present a methodology for converting excavation and field survey documentation from its original source into a format that corresponds to the FAIR principles and commits to the ARIADNE guidelines, with the ultimate goal to make the data publicly available and incorporating them into the ARIADNE portal.

The methodology is illustrated by excavation and field survey reports that have been created according to the requirements of the Austrian Federal Monuments Office and document the archaeological investigations undertaken in the project 'Prehistoric copper production in the eastern and central Alps'. These were further processed in an Open Research Data pilot project, which initiated the development of the methodology. This consists of a pipeline to convert excavation and field survey reports to lasting file formats and extract information on sites, archaeological structures, stratigraphic units and finds from the reports to create CIDOC CRM encoded RDF data. The goal of the pipeline is to lower the entry threshold for creating such data by making data entry easy, using spreadsheets and applying easy to install and open-source (at least freely available) tools. All components of the pipeline are freely available, and detailed documentation with installation instructions and sample data can be downloaded for those who wish to test the methodology and try it out using their own data.

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  • Keywords: FAIR data, ARIADNE, archaeology, semantic web, prehistoric mining
  • 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: Gerald HiebelORCID logo
Universität Innsbruck, Archaeology, Innsbruck, AT

Brigit Danthine ORCID logo
Austrian Archaeological Institute, Vienna, AT

Milena Peralta Friedburg ORCID logo
Universität Innsbruck, Archaeology & Linguistics, Innsbruck, AT

Manuel Scherer-Windisch ORCID logo
Universität Innsbruck, Archaeology, Innsbruck, AT

Full text

Figure 1: The Schwaz-Brixlegg area in western Austria covered by the University of Innsbruck in the multinational DACH project 'Prehistoric copper production in the eastern and central Alps'

Figure 2: Categories and directory structure of the documentation as defined by the Federal Monuments Office. English translations are on the right of the folder illustrations

Figure 3: Conversion of the Federal Monuments Office

Figure 4: Items present in the Federal Monuments Office documentation

Figure 5: CIDOC CRM main classes and classes from Extensions CRMsci and CRMarchaeo used for the modelling

Figure 6: Modelling for entities contained in Federal Monuments Office documentation

Figure 7: Concepts under the DARIAH Back Bone Thesaurus hierarchy with identifiers from Getty AAT and PeriodO

Figure 8: Excel sheets used for data entry

Figure 9: Import of Excel sheets and thesaurus into Postgres database for data transformation with subsequent RDF creation

Figure 10: Federal Monuments Office documentation as fieldwork archive in ARIADNE portal linking to Zenodo and sites within archive linking to the HiMAT knowledge graph

Figure 11: Table of contents for the RDF Creation pipeline

Figure 12: Structuring of the sample data for excavations

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