University of Southampton OCS (beta), CAA 2012

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Linking data to explore Landscape and Identity in England
John Pybus, Xin Xiong, Chris Gosden, Zena Kamash, Chris Green, Letty Ten Harkel

Last modified: 2011-12-20



Landscape and Identities: the case of the English Landscape 1500 BC - AD 1086 (EngLaID) is an ERC funded project running for five years at the University of Oxford which began during the second half of 2011. To analyse themes of change and continuity in the English landscape, the project will make use of many sources of data which cover England during the relevant period and have become available in digital form over the last two decades. This includes data collected as part of English Heritage's National Mapping Project (NMP), records registered with the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS), data collected from Historic Environment Records (HERs), as well as a number of datasets archived at the Archaeological Data Service (ADS).


Combining these data from disparate sources presents a considerable challenge. Following a pilot project in 2009 using a small subset of data, we are turning to technology from the Semantic Web. We will be mapping data to RDF and indexing it within a triplestore; as well as providing a basis to query the collected data, this will enable us to keep track of the provenance of all of all of this collected knowledge. To the maximum extent possible, it is our intention to release the resulting dataset as linked data so that others can benefit from, and build on top of, the project's efforts.


In order to structure the data, we intend to map it to the concepts defined by the CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model (CIDOC-CRM). At the time of writing, we are still early in this process, but we believe that it offers potential to provide consistency in our data which will assist in the searching and analysis


There remain many challenges in delivering the technology to support this project including identifying and managing the many sites of artefacts which are represented in more than one of the available datasets; linking the work to use GIS tools to manage and visualise the geographic data with the Semantic Web tools, and representing and managing the differing degrees of precision and certainty which are present across the available data. We intend to present our design for the technology that will support the EngLaId project, and report on progress made and lessons learnt by March 2012.


Landscape, Identity,