Hands-On Archaeological Conceptual Modelling at CAA 2013

Hands-on conceptual modelling workshop at CAA 2013

The Hands-On Archaeological Conceptual Modelling (HACMod) workshop recently took place at CAA 2013 in Perth, Australia.

The workshop was run by Cesar Gonzalez-Perez of Incipit CSIC, an Ariadne partner, and co-designed with Charlotte Hug of Université de Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.  This was the third consecutive year that HACMod has run at CAA, after Beijing and Southampton.

The workshop aimed to introduce archaeologists and related professionals to the discipline of conceptual modelling, which is often seen as pertaining to the engineering world. The need to do this stems from the fact that research and practice in archaeology often generates, and needs to manage, a large amount of information, which exhibits complex relationships and categorisation phenomena. The quality of the conceptual models that we use when gathering, organising, processing and reporting this information determines, to a large extent, the quality of our work. Creating explicit, high-quality conceptual models is a crucial task in any information-intensive endeavour, and especially in those where the complexity of the information means that intuition alone is not sufficient. HACMod uses ConML (www.conml.org), a conceptual modelling language specifically created with the humanities and social sciences in mind, as a tool to express knowledge about the relevant archaeological reality, including its vague, subjective and temporal aspects.

Tthe CAA conference is the perfect forum for HACMod. The Computer Applications & Quantitative Methods in Archaeology conference has been running for forty-two years in a row, which constitutes an astounding feat. More amazingly, CAA keeps bringing together archaeologists, computer scientists, geographers, mathematicians, software engineers and other researchers, professionals and students into a shared community of practice where truly trans-disciplinary communication and collaboration regularly happens. In addition to HACMod, CAA is home to workshops, demos, roundtables and academic sessions on topics such as geographical information systems, 3D recording, predictive modelling, virtual reality, databases, spatial patterns, digital libraries or computational methods.

I encourage you to attend a CAA conference in the future, or become a CAA member. Please visit CAA’s web site on www.caa-international.org for further information. Also, you can find information about conceptual modelling and its applications to archaeology on the ConML web site at www.conml.org. If you are interested in the technical details, please see the following publications:

  • Gonzalez-Perez, Cesar; Parcero-Oubiña, César. 2011. A Conceptual Model for Cultural Heritage Definition and Motivation. In “Revive the Past: Proceeding of the 39th Conference on Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology”, M. Zhou, I. Romanowska, Z. Wu, P. Xu, P. Verhagen (eds.), Amsterdam University Press. http://dare.uva.nl/aup/nl/record/412958
  • Gonzalez-Perez, Cesar. 2012. A Conceptual Modelling Language for the Humanities and Social Sciences. In “Sixth International Conference on Research Challenges in Information Science”, C. Rolland, J. Castro, O. Pastor (eds.), IEEE. http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/RCIS.2012.6240430
  • Gonzalez-Perez, Cesar; Martín-Rodilla, Patricia; Parcero-Oubiña, César; Fábrega-Álvarez, Pastor; Güimil-Fariña, Alejandro. 2012. Extending an Abstract Reference Model for Transdisciplinary Work in Cultural Heritage. In “Metadata and Semantics Research”, J. M. Dodero, M. Palomo-Duarte, P. Karampiperis (eds.), CCIS 343, Springer. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-35233-1_20
  • Gonzalez-Perez, Cesar. 2013. Modelling Temporality and Subjectivity in ConML. In “Seventh International Conference on Research Challenges in Information Science”, S. Nurcan, R. Wieringa, O. Pastor (eds.), IEEE.
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