Launch of FP7 infrastructure project - Ariadne

ARIADNE Advanced Research Infrastructure for Archaeological Dataset Networking in Europe

The European Commission defines research infrastructures as a vital asset underpinning Europeana research, the advancement of knowledge and technological know how.  They make a major contribution to the objectives of the EU 2020 strategy and vision for the European Research Area, enabling research and scientific communities to work together supporting collaboration in ways which embrace the new possibilities that modern technology has to offer.

ARIADNE, launched in Rome on 7 February 2013 at the National Library, has as its objective creating a research infrastructure connecting European digital archaeological data archives and allowing researchers to access to data centres, tools and guidance. ARIADNE aims to stimulate new research in the field of archaeology by opening up access to data scattered amongst diverse collections, datasets, fieldwork reports and publications.  Until now, anyone wanting to research information on, for example, the archaeology of the Roman provinces, had to search separate archives in the corresponding modern-day countries. Now, through the integration foreseen by ARIADNE, a new single virtual archive will be created which will unify the existing online resources. Management of the archives will be kept separate and under the direct control of the competent authorities.

At a scientific level, the digital library newly created by ARIADNE will join and collaborate with other initiatives such as Europeana and the European digital library, making the huge quantity of documentation produced by archaeological research in the various countries more widely available.

Through ARIADNE, archaeology will also enter the realm of e-science, the virtual science based on the integrated analysis of the data obtained experimentally, both on site and digitally. To achieve this result, the project foresees activities including the creation of a network of researchers and the training and research in new technological tools.

The ARIADNE project, funded under the European Commissions 7th Framework Programme, will run for four years with funding of approximately 8 million Euros. It is coordinated by PIN (Italy) and the deputy coordinator is the Archaeology Data Service at University of York (UK).

There are 24 project partners from 16 countries. Organizations involved include Academies of Science, an Institute of Archaeology, national cultural heritage research centres and other cultural, academic and research institutions. The project will also collaborate with the European Association of Archaeologists, the association representing this community at the European level.

The project website will be the main access point for information about the project, its research and development programme and events, and for downloading its products in digital format.


The ARIADNE network developed out of the vital need to develop infrastructures for the management and integration of archaeological data at a European level:

Research infrastructures

The overall objective of the ‘Research infrastructures’ part of the FP7 Capacities programme is to optimise the use and development of the best research infrastructures existing in Europe. Furthermore, it aims to help to create new research infrastructures of pan-European interest in all fields of science and technology. The European scientific community needs these to remain at the forefront of the advancement of research, and they will help industry to strengthen its base of knowledge and technological know how.

Knowledge generation and, by implication, innovation, directly depend on the quality and availability of research infrastructures, which include facilities such as observatories, data banks, radiation sources and communication networks. 

Framework 7 programme

'Framework programmes' (FPs) have been the main financial tools through which the European Union supports research and development activities covering almost all scientific disciplines. FPs are proposed by the European Commission and adopted by Council and the European Parliament following a co-decision procedure, and have been implemented since 1984.  The FP7 programme ran from 1 January 2007 and will end in 2013. It is designed to build on the achievements of its predecessor towards the creation of the European Research Area, and carry it further towards the development of the knowledge economy and society in Europe.

European Research Area

In 2000, the EU decided to create the European Research Area (ERA) that became one of the central pillars of the EU 'Lisbon Strategy' for growth and jobs. Developing World-class research infrastructures is one of the key initiatives and an essential element to the reinforcement of the European Research Area. The main challenges that need to be addressed are: (i) to overcome fragmentation and prioritise effectively at EU level; (ii) to improve efficiency of management, services and access; (iii) to cope with the increasing cost and complexity; (iv) to further develop and better exploit the potential of e-infrastructures.

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