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The unit 'Learning and Cultural Heritage' is also responsible for the TeLearn website


The TNT project has worked towards building the largest collection of Neanderthal findings in Europe - in an online database. Virtual representations created with state-of-the-art technology make the fragile and dispersed fossils and artefacts continuously accessible for scientists and other interested public, independent on their location.

Project website

Project type: STREP (Specific Targeted Research Project)
Start date: 1 March 2004
Duration: 24 months
Funding: € 2 650 000
Number of partners: 8 (see list below)
Project co-ordinator: ART+COM, Germany
Contact: (email removed)

Project results

The main results of the TNT project are: NESPOS - the Neanderthal Studies Professional Online Service, the VISICORE Suite (tools for 3D visualisation and annotation) and the National Geographic ArchChannel, a dissemination Web portal.

NESPOS: Establishing the leading scientific network on Neanderthal research

NESPOS , the Neanderthal Studies Professional Online Service, is the first fully interactive inventory and catalogue of the Neanderthal heritage (fossil specimens and techno-cultural setting).

This service enhances the current knowledge on human peopling and bio-cultural evolution across Europe, facilitates joint international remote research on virtual primary sources and supports the preservation of the unique originals for future generations by making them available in digital form.

At the end of the TNT project in February 2006 NESPOS contained a variety of 3D scans of Neanderthal fossils, artefacts and subsidiary scientific data covering a major part of the most important Neanderthal excavation sites and objects from anthropological collections of cooperating museums. Additionally, the repository offers multi-scale scientific and documentary information (including thematic bibliographies) on the archaeological sites and their geo-chronological context and links to the main European-wide inventories.

A professional Wiki-based collaboration platform enables paleoanthropologists and archaeologists to exchange their Neanderthal research results and share ideas.

Since 1 March 2006 the Neanderthal Studies Professional Online Service is run by the NESPOS Society, an international non-profit organisation which will guarantee its further development and the sustainability of the most significant outcome of the TNT project.

The VISICORE Suite - Virtual archaeology at work

The TNT 3D visualisation and analytic applications are combined in the Visual Simulation and Collaborative Rendering Engine. The VISICORE Suite provides a tool collection that covers the whole scientific workflow from the topographics of an excavation campaign to the exploration and documentation of single findings and artefacts. Its two main components are:

  • ArteCore, the Artefact Exploration and Collaboration Rendering Engine, a complete virtual archaeology toolset with 2D and 3D visualisation routines, allowing for the examination of virtual high-resolution representations without touching and damaging the originals.
  • GeoCore, the Geofact Mapping and Rendering Engine, a map-based geo information system for presenting, exploring, and editing of archaeological excavation data in real- time 3D perspective. GeoCore is pioneering the digital excavation campaign.
ArchChannel: sharing the world's archaeological knowledge

The ArchChannel , hosted by TNT project partner National Geographic, is a cross-media Web portal into the cultural heritage of mankind. It adapts knowledge from historical and pre-historical science and archaeological findings to an interested layman public. It also provides information on how to actively use the relevant museums and archaeological sites, and therefore has the potential to stimulate cultural tourism.

A comparably rich and in-depth Web portal has not been realised before - neither on the particular Neanderthal issue nor on a broader archaeological scope. The spectrum of subjects relevant to archaeology and anthropology reach from the first Europeans (Homo heidelbergensis, Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, Homo sapiens sapiens) to the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, the Roman and Celt civilisations, the Goths and many other peoples and cultures, right through to recent archaeological times, spanning a period of over 500 000 years of cultural and sociological history in Europe.