The ARIADNEplus Kick-off Meeting began on Monday 11 February afternoon with a welcome from the Project Director, Prof. Franco Niccolucci to around eighty attendees (from forty–one partners) in a hall that was buzzing with anticipation. Many of the attendees had participated in the previous infrastructure project and were happy to be able to continue and expand the scope of their work as well as welcome new partners, both from further afield in Europe and from Japan, the US, Argentina and Israel. Over the next three days, the sessions presented the objectives of ARIADNEplus project along with current developments such as EOSC and the SEADDA COST action which will also feature in the new archaeological infrastructure. In order to understand how the archaeological landscape has moved on and also to gather the requirements of the new stakeholders (who have new types of data), a survey will be conducted of the archaeological community to determine any new requirements and to identify topics of interest or concern that are relevant to ARIADNE plus (e.g. impact of GDPR).
The main activities in the project are being guided by an innovation strategy which includes thirteen special task forces based on specific archaeological specialisations which range from remote sensing to heritage science application to archaeology, from field surveys to environmental archaeology. Cross-cutting themes which form part of the ARIADNEplus Agenda are Linked Data, working with industry (commercial services) and working with e-infrastructure.
ARIADNEplus also aims to expand in terms of languages and will explore and implement a cross-lingual translation service with the Portal which is based upon the concept of a backbone thesaurus (namely, the Getty AAT) which will act as a hub between any two other thesauri in other languages.
Practical sessions, mainly aimed at newcomers but also as a refresher and update for existing organisations, showed how dataset metadata is mapped for ingestion into the ARIADNE Portal with the latest tools. Other sessions explored the new types of datasets that are to be added. These include Epigraphy with data from Roman inscriptions and Japanese wooden sticks inscribed with inventory symbols, and Analytical datasets containing data from Human Palaeo-biology and Palaeo-environments.
Another very interesting initiative, which has started at the same time and involves the partners from ARIADNEplus, is the COST Action SEADDA (Saving European Archaeology from the Digital Dark Age), which will focus on improving persistent data preservation, dissemination and re-use. The SEADDA network will promote best practices and foster co-operation in order to assure the persistence and access to valuable archaeological data across Europe and internationally. At the conclusion of a packed schedule, around twenty attendees also attended a Foresight Workshop on Thursday evening focussing on archaeology organised by the PARTHENOS Project as part of a study looking across the Humanities. Much lively feedback was provided and the Kick-off meeting closed with a reception and much discussion of all the planning and tasks that everyone would now be focussing on, with a view to reporting their progress at the General Assembly and the next Steering Committee planned for EAA in September.