Periodic Reporting for period 1 - LandsOfMeaning (Lands of Meaning. A Geographical Information System Study of Space and Social Praxis in Ancient Attika, Greece, from the Mycenaean Age to the birth of Democracy (1200-480 BC))
Reporting period: 2017-11-01 to 2019-10-31
LandsOfMeaning consists, therefore, of an integrated platform of digital technologies and up to date archaeological and sociological instruments that constitute such an Archaeological Information system. Using (a) CAD software for the vectorisation of all known material correlations from published or otherwise known data, (b) a relational database for the attributes of the later, we then import the two datasets within a (c) geodatabase in GIS. All archaeological features, translated in Topographical Units, the targeted analytical unit to interpret through stratigraphic assessment, are represented in 1:1 scale, which is a huge step away from the current praxis of ‘dots’ on the map that we see in many current similar projects (see the attached figure). The relational database put in place permits the inset of all possible data related to a single TU, mainly in one to all relationship. The objective was from the beginning, in order to rend the idea, a ‘google-maps’ of ancient Attica but with the distinctive differentiation that, in our case, the diachronic and synchronic aspect make the outcome much more sophisticated. In fact, with the insertion of dates and phases, all possible spatial inquiries are possible within GIS, along with the production of the relative maps, plans and histograms. Moreover, with the term spatial we intend the epistemological category of space as intended in social theories, following the innovative spatial turn paradigm as formulated in firm ground by Henri Lefebvre and, later, by important epigones like David Hurvey.
The project is socially important for three main reasons. In the first place, it enhances the potential for innovative approaches by the academic community, not necessarily just in the field of classics (admittedly a rather conservative discipline, late to engage with new technologies). Secondly, through dissemination of its results and an open access policy on the use of its logic, methodologies and raw data, it is highly attractive for policy makers and state/cultural institutions and related personnel. Its adoption by the later, even in part, will enhance the quality of management of the cultural heritage in multifold means and services. Last but not least, it comes as an important answer to the need of knowledge through a friendly and easy way to approach by the general public, especially in the field of cultural identities, while arises general awareness on the importance of cultural, historical memory, sense and respect of places and communities."