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The Aggregation of ROAD Data in the ARIADNE Pipeline: pitfalls and successes

Andrew W. Kandel, Miriam N. Haidle, Volker Hochschild, Christian Sommer and Zara Kanaeva

Cite this as: Kandel, A.W., Haidle, M.N., Hochschild, V., Sommer, C. and Kanaeva, Z. 2023 The Aggregation of ROAD Data in the ARIADNE Pipeline: pitfalls and successes, Internet Archaeology 64.


In this article we describe an online database about human evolution, called the ROCEEH Out of Africa Database (ROAD), and discuss our experience in aggregating Palaeolithic data from ROAD in the ARIADNE data processing pipeline. As of April 2023, ROAD contains more than 2400 localities in Africa and Eurasia dating between three million and 20,000 years ago. The database is transdisciplinary by nature and includes cultural artefacts, human and animal fossils, and plant remains. These finds are stored in a relational database, which is part of a structured, web-based, geographic information system. The process of preparing ROAD data for integration with ARIADNE taught us lessons about our own dataset, which we share here.

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  • Keywords: Human evolution, Palaeolithic archaeology, palaeoanthropology, FAIR principles, ROAD database, ARIADNE database
  • Accepted: 26 July 2023. Published: 31 October 2023
  • Funding: This article was funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 ARIADNEplus grant agreement n. 823914.
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Corresponding author: Andrew W. KandelORCID logo
ROCEEH, University of Tübingen, Germany

Miriam N. HaidleORCID logo
ROCEEH, Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung, Frankfurt am Main

Volker Hochschild
ROCEEH / Institute of Geography, University of Tübingen

Christian SommerORCID logo
ROCEEH / Institute of Geography, University of Tübingen

Zara KanaevaORCID logo
ROCEEH, University of Tübingen, Germany

Full text

Figure 1: Browser view of ROAD's entry page showing the results of a simple query for localities with both human fossils and stone artefacts. By entering the name or clicking on a site, a user can download a ROAD Summary Data Sheet as a PDF. (Query executed on 11 April 2023 without login)

Figure 2: Using the vocabulary matching tool in ARIADNE to match vocabulary in ROAD

Figure 3: Mapping the chrono-cultural entities in ROAD to PeriodO, and the result in ARIADNE

Figure 4: Screenshot taken from the ARIADNEplus website showing the results of a search for the Upper Palaeolithic site of Aghitu-3 Cave in Armenia. By clicking on 'Landing page' URL, a user can download a ROAD Summary Data Sheet (Bolus et al. 2020). This PDF summarises the results of Aghitu-3 Cave and is generated directly from ROAD without the need to log in

Bolus, M., Bruch, A.A., Haidle, M.N., Hertler, C., Heß, J., Kanaeva, Z., Kandel, A.W., Malina, C. and Sommer, C. 2020 'Explore the history of humanity with the new ROAD summary data sheet/Durch die Menschheitsgeschichte mit dem neuen ROAD Summary Data Sheet', Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft für Urgeschichte 29, 145-47.

Haidle, M.N., Bolus, M., Bruch, A.A., Hertler, C., Hochschild, V., Kanaeva, Z., Sommer, C. and Kandel, A.W. 2020 'Human origins – digital future, an international conference about the future of archaeological and paleoanthropological databases', Evolutionary Anthropology 29, 289-92.

Kandel, A.W., Haidle, M.H. and Sommer, C. (eds) 2022 Human Origins – Digital Future: An International Conference about the Future of Archaeological and Paleoanthropological Databases, Heidelberg: Propylaeum.

Kandel, A.W., Sommer, S., Kanaeva, Z., Bolus, M., Bruch, A.A., Groth, C., Haidle, M.N., Hertler, C., Heß, J., Malina M., Märker, M., Hochschild, V., Mosbrugger, V., Schrenk, F. and Conard, N.J. 2023 'The ROCEEH Out of Africa Database (ROAD): A large-scale research database serves as an indispensable tool for human evolutionary studies', PLoS ONE 18(8): e0289513.

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