A Knowledge-driven System in Archaeology

Epistematica has developed a prototype system for cataloging of archaeological and epigraphical finds that uses the Semantic Web Technologies. It was the Knowledge Base of the Dhi Qar University and Heritage Project.

Unlike traditional systems, this cataloguing application makes possible to classify the archaeological and epigraphic finds according to the rigour of formal logic. In this way it is possible to use automated reasoning methods in order to infer hidden or implicit knowledge.

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The system is based on OWL language for instancing data and metadata. The knowledge about the finds is described using Description Logics.

Thanks to this approach, Archaeological finds are catalogued according to a model that satisfies the requirements of different disciplines (history of art, epigraphy, anthropology…).

The data structure reflects, and automatically shows, the different ways in which the different scientists look at and analyze an archaeological find.


The data model matches the requirements of different disciplines so that every scientist can enter the form from her/his point of view with all data s/he can read on the find – with no need to respect a mediated form.

This approach allows the design of a search system where any user can exploit the knowledge of all kinds of archaeologists and thus potentially can discover items whose existence s/he was not even aware of. As sample of a Simplified Querying Method is showed in ESA Project OTEG for the GMES Space Component Data Access.

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