AAA Annual Meeting Program

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Paper Information:
This paper may be of particular interest to:  Practicing and Applied Anthropologists   
Type: Paper
Paper Title: TRACING NETWORKS: TRACKING OBJECTS, MODELLING MOVEMENTS
Author: KATHARINA REBAY-SALISBURY (University of Leicester)   
Date/Time: Thu., 1:45 PM
Co-Author(s): KATHARINA REBAY-SALISBURY (University of Leicester) 
Abstract: The Tracing Networks programme investigates the nature of contacts across and beyond the Mediterranean region c.1500-c.200 BCE. Focussing on networks of crafts-people and craft traditions, we ask how knowledge moves and technologies are transmitted over wide areas and cultural boundaries. Seven closely linked archaeological projects, integrated with two computer science projects, form this five-year programme based at the University of Leicester, UK, funded by The Leverhulme Trust. Material culture is our primary evidence for cultural contact and knowledge exchange. Creatively deploying a wide range of scientific analytical techniques such as petrographic thin sectioning of pottery or XRF analysis helps us to track the movements and life cycles of objects in addressing complex theoretical questions about the human contexts of their production, uses, exchange and movement. The constant dialogue between theory and science is enabled through a new approach to data management and analysis. Overwhelmingly large, heterogeneous, unreliable and patchy datasets (intrinsic to archaeology) have hindered their full utilisation for interpretation. Our approach utilizes semantic web technology to provide a logical infrastructure supporting classification and analysis of data, which is represented in a uniform way through mapping diverse datasets to an ontology based on CIDOC-CRM. Data and relationships among them are described as instances and property links in the ontology and linked with spatial data in geographical information systems. This may lead to the discovery of unforeseen relationships in the data and stimulate new research questions, addressing large scale issues on the transmission of knowledge and aiding holistic social interpretations.

Program Number: 2-0800
Session Title: MOTION CHECK: ARCHAEOLOGICAL INSIGHTS ON THE CIRCULATION OF SUBJECTS AND OBJECTS
Session Sponsor: Archaeology Division
Session Date/Time: Thu., 1:45 PM-5:30 PM
Organizer(s): DAVID PETERSON, ALAN GREENE (University of Chicago) 
Chair(s): SARAH GRAFF (University of Chicago)  
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