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Wednesday, March 30 • 11:45 - 12:10
S21-04 The Matrix: Connecting time and space with archaeological research questions involving spatio─temporal phenomena and the conceptual relationships between them

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The Matrix: Connecting Time and Space with archaeological research questions involving spatio-temporal phenomena and the conceptual relationships between them.

Keith May

The most common type of record in archaeological recording systems is the spatial dimension. When recording new layers, buildings, or any physical objects, we measure height, width, depth and for archaeological features we will describe shape in plan and section as well as attributes like profile, diameter and breaks of slope. 
Recording of temporal information about similar features is far less prevalent, but is still an important (perhaps more crucial) part of the record, particularly for objects where the dates of coins, brooches, or pottery and other ‘finds’ objects (with relative chronologies) are used for temporal reasoning or inferences about deposition dates and sequences across archaeological stratigraphy.
Having divided the archaeology into various units for recording purposes, we use stratigraphy, and associated temporal logical relationships between the physical materials recorded as the 'reasoning glue', in the form of Phases and Periods, to connect all these different spatial and temporal phenomena back together again with various narratives to explain our conclusions.
For 'single context recording' most archaeological temporal reasoning is based on the principles of stratigraphic superposition, the "Above and Below relationship" (Harris). But further principles of temporal reasoning are also available (Allen). The CIDOC CRM uses the Allen operators to describe not just superposition but a set of more complex temporal logical relationships that can pertain between archaeological data.
This paper will give an insight into how conceptual reference modeling can be used to explore these issues and how associated semantic technologies can enable semantically enriched deductions about the spatio-temporal relationships which fundamentally link such archaeological data together.
It will also consider where further work is needed to deal with not just spatial or temporal records but to reason about wholly spatio-temporal phenomena and how this can form the basis for new linkages between archaeological information across space-time.

Allen, James F. Maintaining knowledge about temporal intervals. In: Communications of the ACM. 26 November 1983. ACM Press. pp. 832–843, ISSN 0001-0782

Harris, E. Principles of Archaeological Stratigraphy. (1979). London & New York: Academic Press. ISBN 0-12-326651-3

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Keith May

Heritage Information Strategy Adviser, Historic England

Wednesday March 30, 2016 11:45 - 12:10 CEST
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