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The ArchaeoGRID Infrastructure, a Laboratory of Past


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Title: The ArchaeoGRID Infrastructure, a Laboratory of Past

The ArchaeoGRID Infrastructure, a Laboratory of
  • International Workshop on Cyberinfrastructures
    and Archaeology
  • San Miniato, October 16th-17th, 2008
  • Giuliano Pelfer CSDC, University of Florence

  • Main Activities connected with the Archaeological
  • Central Questions of Modern Archaeology
  • New Tools for New Challenges ArchaeoGRID on
  • The ArchaeoGRID System, a Laboratory of Past
  • ArchaeoGRID Main Objectives
  • Archaeology of the Mediterranean Region
  • The Urbanization Process in the Mediterranean
    Region between 3100 and 2700 years B.P.
  • ArchaeoGRID Applications for Ancient Urbanization
  • Community Models for ArchaeoGRID
  • ArchaeoClimatology, PaleoEnvironment,
    Archaeological Land Evaluation, ArchaeoGIS,
    MultiAgent-Based Systems and Models
  • Conclusions

Main Activities connected with the Archaeological
  • Archaeological Research
  • Production, Sharing and Diffusion of
    Archaeological Information and Knowledge
  • Archaeological Heritage Management
  • From Preservation to Access in a period of
    Crisis of Curation
  • Predictive Modelling for Archaeological Heritage
  • Economical Exploitation of Archaeological
    Information and Knowledge
  • Tourism
  • Education
  • Media
  • Archaeological Heritage Preservation
  • .

Central Questions for Archaeological Research
  • It is a common opinion between scientists that
    during Holocene, the last 10.000 years, social
    and environment systems have been intimately
  • Central questions of Modern Archaeology have to
    do with
  • the factors of global change, with an integration
    (now possible) between archaeology, earth system
    history, environmental and natural history.
  • the origin, growth and collapse processes of past
    societies and the interactions of the
    environmental and human processes that produced
    such human and environmental dynamics.
  • the social, environmental and economical
    processes leading to the emergence of the city
    and of the state
  • The past is the only one laboratory we have to
    test our hypothesis and models on social and
    ecological processes dynamics

From Patterns to Processes
  • Archaeological research, since its beginning, had
    the primary goal to reconstruct the past events
    and processes.
  • Over the past century and a half sophisticated
    methodologies, technologies, and conceptual tools
    for achieving this goal have been developed.
  • But limitations of the archaeological record are
    well known and have been discussed in the
    literature for decades
  • Such limitations pushed archaeologists to develop
    models by an empirical bottom to top approach,
    from reconstruction to modelling.

From Dynamic Models to Patterns
  • An alternative and complementary research
    strategy is to use the long, rich, and diverse
    human past as a laboratory to study social,
    ecological and economical processes.
  • This approach basically consists in developing
    computer simulations of social and ecological
    processes dynamics out of the accumulated
    archaeological and anthropological insights in an
    holistic top to bottom approach, from modelling
    to pattern.
  • The resulting models have to be thereby treated
    as complex hypotheses to be later tested against
    the archaeological record.
  • Rather than being a source of information about
    past lives and societies, the archaeological
    records then become a rigorous test-bed for
    validating dynamic models of social processes,
    offering an opportunity to evaluate such models
    in diverse contexts and study outcomes at
    different temporal and spatial scales.
  • Only the most robust and reliable models will
    give results that consistently pass through the
    sparse and spatially and temporally discontinuous
    points of the archaeological record.
  • An equally important goal is to develop a
    simulation engine that can serve as an open
    framework within which researchers can explore
    alternative models and hypotheses and observe
    their models performance, interactions, and

New Tools for New Challenges ArchaeoGRID on
  • ArchaeoGRID is based on the GRID paradigm which
    allows new ways of sharing resources in a
    multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary
    collaboration between researchers in sciences and
  • ArchaeoGRID combines and enables the advantage of
    multidisciplinary research specialists work
    alone using appropriate techniques and of
    interdisciplinary research specialists
    cooperate and discover new aspects of their data.
  • ArchaeoGRID, using many new and existing data
    sources in a spatially and temporally consistent
    framework, aims to produce an integrated history
    of climate, material and water cycles, ecosystem
    distribution, land use systems, human settlement
    patterns, technological changes, patterns of
    disease, patterns of language and institutions,
    wars and alliances, and other variables on earth
  • ArchaeoGRID, by fostering new international
    groups/applications and by enabling new kind of
    world-class collaborative solutions becomes the
    new medium for the cognitive process in
    Archaeology and for advancing in Archaeological
    Knowledge Unification and Integration through the
    use of advanced grid technological platforms

What ArchaeoGRID on e-Infrastructures does not
  • ArchaeoGRID does neither replace the fieldwork of
    archaeologists nor their work in laboratory, in
    library,... On the contrary, it can greatly
    empower such activities.
  • ArchaeoGRID does neither replace theoretical and
    modelling archaeologists activities, nor their
    heuristic and hermeneutic traditional approaches
    to data analysis
  • ArchaeoGRID does not replace the computer
    applications in archaeology made with desktop and
    local computers
  • ArchaeoGRID does not replace the large
    distributed archaeological repositories and the
    archaeological digital services but ask for easy
    and free accessibility.
  • ArchaeoGRID is not a Visualization Laboratory,
    but Visualization Laboratory will be used for
    data analysis, results visualization and final

ArchaeoGRID Infrastructure
ArchaeoGRID Main Objectives for Archaeological
  • The structure of ArchaeoGRID Laboratory of the
    Past is set up for the following research
    ECONOMICAL LANDSCAPES of crucial historical
    periods and for large geographical regions,
    using archaeological, geological, biological,
    ecological and any other useful and available
  • SIMULATION USING MODELS of social, ecological and
    economical processes dynamics FROM THE THEORY OF
  • VALIDATION of the simulated processes by
    reconstructed landscape in a holistic top to
    bottom approach
  • NARRATION by the realization of a FINAL DIGITAL

Simulation of Processes Dynamics
Archaeology of the Mediterranean Region
  • The Mediterranean is one of the most studied
    regions on Earth. Over some 10.000 years,
    environmental, archaeological, written historical
    and instrumental data testify to the complex
    interactions between the atmosphere, the
    geosphere, the biosphere and a range of
    successive societies.
  • It is therefore an ideal area to do a case study
    based on multi-scalar, and multi-disciplinary
    different kinds of data
  • From the local to the subregional to the
    regional scale
  • Disciplines ranging from atmospheric studies to
    tectonics, geomorphology, biology, economics, and
    various social sciences to history and geography
  • Moreover, the area has been the theater of the
    emergence as well for the collapse of a number of
    social systems of various sizes and forms.

The Mediterranean Region at the end of Urban
Revolution the first Mediterranean
The Mediterranean Basin, between 3100 and 2700
Years B.P., started as a Global Trade and Market
Area. PHOENICIANS for the first, ETRUSCANS,
GREEKS for the last promoted this change. Urban
Centers grew and previous spread Villages
disappeared in few tenths of years.

The Urbanization Process in the Mediterranean
Region between 3100 and 2700 years B.P.
    AREA BETWEEN 3100 and 2700 YEARS B.P. is the
    first relevant test-bed for developing and
    testing ArchaeoGRID Laboratory of the Past.
  • The origin of the cities and of the states is a
    central problem in present archaeological
  • The urbanization process originated along the
    coasts of the Mediterranean sea has been pushed
    by the growth of economical and trading
    activities, by new technologies and by changes on
    environmental conditions.
  • Many social, ecological and economical aspects
    must be analyzed in a regional multidisciplinary
  • A global understanding of the origin of the
    cities requires taking into account the network
    of connections that helped the development of
    such a new form of social organization, that is
    grown into a paradigm of human society

Megalithic Civilization in Europe
  • Megalithic Civilizations in Europe could be also
    used as the second test-bed for ArchaeoGRID
  • Climatic Context of the Megalithic Civilizations
  • Agricolture and Pastoralism
  • Social Organization
  • Collapse of the Megalithic Civilizations
  • ............

Archaeological Applications for Social and
Ecological Ancient Processes
  • Paleoclimate (CCSM, MM5/WRF, Stochastic Weather
  • Paleoenvironment (DEM, Hydrology, Land Cover,
  • Archaeological Land Evaluation (Soils, Crops,
    Technologies, etc.)
  • Navigation (Oceanography, Maritime Routes,
    Harbours, Ship Technology, etc.)
  • Ancient Economies (Agropastoral Production, Craft
    Production, Metallurgy, Trade and Exchange,
    Natural Resources Management, etc.)
  • ArchaeoGIS (ArchaeoGIS Portal, Cartographic Base,
    Historical Maps, Written Sources, etc.)
  • MultiAgent-Based System and MultiAgent-Based
    Models (ArchaeoGIS-MAS Integration, Land Use
    Models, Dynamic Models of Ancient Societies
    Processes etc.)

Community Models for ArchaeoGRID
  • ArchaeoGRID would use, where it will be possible,
    packages and platforms open source and free,
    known as Community Models, developed by large
    collaborations worldwide
  • Examples
  • CCSM3.0 and MM5 packages for Climate Simulation
  • Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo)
    packages for management, storage and analysis of
    geospatial information (GRASS, PostgreSQL, R,
  • Open source free platforms for developing and
    running MultiAgent -Based Models (RePast, Swarm,
  • ..................

  • The term Archaeoclimatology designates an
    approach to the estimation of past climates along
    time according to the suitable spatial scales for
    the use of Archaeologists.
  • Whatever data or model is used must be nearly
    site-specific and of high time-resolution
  • Cultures change on less than the millennial
    scale, and people live in relatively restricted
  • This subspecialty of paleoclimatology brings
    together various sources of estimation of past
    climates, models, and proxy estimates from field
  • Goal to provide the most consistent estimates of
    the past climatic environment at particular
    places and times.

  • Paleoclimate evaluation is relevant for
  • Agricultural and pastoral activities
  • Forests amount and distribution ( wood has been
    a key resource for tools, habitation, ship
    fabrication, ceramic production, metallurgy, etc.
  • Exchange and trade ( terrestrial roads, fluvial
    ways, maritime routes, harbours, etc. )
  • Environment ( geomorphology, hydrography, sea
    level and temperature, etc. )
  • Habitation and dressing
  • Epidemiological situation
  • .........

Paleoclimate and Archaeology
  • During Holocene, the last 10.000 years of the
    Earth's history, the impact of human activities
    on the environment has increased continuously,
    starting from the rise of agriculture in
  • Any study of paleoenvironment aspects, including
    paleoclimate, needs to understand the influence
    of anthropic and not anthropic factors
  • Archaeology can contribute to the environmental
    knowledge by means of
  • Data on landuse and landcover, domesticated
    plants and animals
  • charcoals, seems, pollen, wood remains, bones....
  • paleosoils, paleolandscapes,.....
  • Tests and validation of paleoclimate models

Spatial-Temporal Fine Scale Weather Simulation
  • Data from CCSM3.0 Global Circulation Model
    paleoclimate runs used to force Mesoscale Model
    to produce regional weather and climate
  • MM5 Mesoscale Model including data also on
    topography, landcover and landuse, to produce
    seasonal weather
  • Stochastic Weather Models produce daily weather

CCSM and MM5 in Archaeology
  • CCSM, Global Circulation Model and MM5, Mesoscale
    Model, already used for archaeological
    paleoclimate simulation
  • the African Humid Period (AHP) dated between 8000
    and 6000 years BP
  • the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) dated 21000 years
  • the Mesopotamian Settlement Systems during 4500
    years BP

CCSM Model Overview
  • The Community Climate Model CCSM is a coupled
    climate model for simulating the earth's climate
    system. Composed of four separated models
    simultaneously simulating
  • Atmosphere
  • Ocean
  • Land surface
  • Sea-Ice
  • Central Coupler Component

CCSM Paleo Runs
  • Data on weather from paleoclimate CCSM runs can
    be found in NCARG site and used as input data of
  • Otherwise CCSM packages can be installed on
    ArchaeoGRID infrastructures and runned with the
    value of full paleoparameter list
  • Earth's orbital parameters
  • Volume mixing ratios for the grenhouse gases
    CO2, CH4, N2O, CFC12 (values must be set in a
    reasonable way for the studied period)
  • Solar constant
  • ..............

MM5 Model Overview
  • MM5 Modeling System Flow Chart

MM5 Paleo Runs
  • Input for static fields
  • Topography
  • Land Water Distribution
  • Vegetation Cover
  • MM5 package contains files of digital data
    related to the present situation
  • It needs to modify these files using data from
    geology, paleobotanic and paleozoology,
    archaeology etc. for reconstructing ancient
    topography, landcover and landuse
  • Input for non-static fields
  • Sea-surface Temperature
  • Initial and boundary conditions 3D fields of
    basic meteorological parameters such as
    temperature, wind and humidity
  • Data available from paleoclimate CCSM simulation

Map of Erosion Classes on the DTM for
Geomorphological Evolution Study
  • For millennia humans had to cope with
    deforestation, soil erosion, desertification,
    loss of biodiversity and climatic change
  • The same factors are often invoked as causal
    trigger responsible for the formation and decline
    of archaic societies around the globe
  • Reconstruction of geomorphology, hydrology, land
    cover, climate and their variation at short and
    long term, with inclusion of the human factors,
    is crucial for simulation and analysis

Land Evaluation
  • Land evaluation is a technique developed by soil
    scientists and widely used by the FAO (Food and
    Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations)
    in third world countries for estimating the
    potential of land for alternative kinds of use.
  • Land evaluation is
  • the process of collating and interpreting basic
    inventories of soil, vegetation, climate and
    other aspects of land, in order to identify and
    make a first comparison of promising land use
    alternatives in simple socio-economic terms.
  • The basic feature of land evaluation is the
    comparison of the requirements of land use with
    the resources offered by the land.
  • Land evaluation requires information from three
  • land, land use, and economics

Archaeological Land Evaluation
  • Differences between the evaluation of recent and
    archaeological land
  • It is impossible to measure prehistoric land
    qualities directly they have to be reconstructed
    from data obtained by surveys of the recent land
  • The economic and social analysis of the approach
    as used in physical geography has to be replaced
    by models of prehistoric socio-economic
  • To construct these models, information on the
    ecological and technical requirements of
    different kinds of land use, as well as data on
    the economic and social context, has to be
    generated by using ethnographic, archaeological,
    and historical sources.
  • The outcome is an expected form of land use for
    every chosen social-economic model.
  • The purpose of using the land evaluation approach
    in archaeology is to evaluate our models.
  • The comparison of the expected form of land use
    with the archaeologically recorded land use
    provides a basis for modifying the models.
  • This procedure is repeated until the outcome fits
    best with the archaeological record.

Steps in Archaeological Land Evaluation
  • Steps for the application of archaeological land
  • An inventory of the natural environment collected
    by field surveys and reviews
  • These data form the basis for a reconstruction of
    the natural environment at different times in the
  • The construction of socio economic models for
    early forms of land use with ethnographic,
    historic and archaeological data
  • The classification of the area into different
    land mapping units on the basis of physical
  • Theses units are described in terms of their
    properties to provide a qualitative land
  • A semi-quantitative land classification
  • Measurement of the suitability of an area for a
    certain type of land use on the basis of the
    requirements for that type of land use
  • An expected form of land use for every chosen
    social-economic model based on results from steps
  • The comparison of the expected form of land use
    with the archaeologically recorded land use
    provides a basis for modifying the model and
    repeating steps

Archaeological Land Evaluation
Archaeological Land Evaluation by using the
rules of the FAO applied to Ancient Lands.
Web Services based ArchaeoGIS
  • ArchaeoGIS (ArchaeoGIS Portal, Cartographic Base,
    Historical Maps, Written Sources, etc)

Mapserver Making data accessible via Web
Web-Based Mapserver
Fully Integrated Open-Source ArchaeoGIS
R-Statistics GMT
Adding the analytical tools for Statistical and
Spatial Analysis
DBMI PostgreSQL Oracle MySQL
Fusion of Aerial/Satellite Data with Geophysical
Adding DataBase access
ArchaeoGIS-MAS Integration
  • Integration of Archaeological GIS and MultiAgent
    System for modelling and simulating ancient
    social and ecological processes in ArchaeoGRID
  • MultiAgent System (MAS) Platform (Repast, Swarm,
  • Geographic Markup Language (GML) for
    communication between ArchaeoGIS and MAS

Complexity Theory for Social Systems
  • Key universal features of complexity theory and
    the corresponding key features of social systems
  • Integration (holism, the idea that a system
    cannot be represented by a simple description of
    its parts but exhibits emergent behaviour)
  • the holistic nature of culture
  • Communication (the sharing of information among
  • knowledge sharing in area such as language,
    writing and education
  • History/Initial conditions (the determinative
    power of chaos or surprise)
  • the formative power of traditions, structures and
    materials, strategies, and habit of mind
  • Heterarchy ( treats the diversity of
    relationships among system elements)
  • hierarchy and heterarchy in social organization

Multi-Agent Modeling of Agropastoral Activities
  • ArchaeoGRID is an unique tool for multi- and
    inter-disciplinary research in Archaeology
  • Archeologists know what happened to human
  • Anthropologists know how the structure of
    societies change
  • Quaternary scientists (including paleoecologists)
    know what happened to the physical environment
  • Geographers manage analyzed data over various
    temporal and spatial scales
  • Earth System scientists are interested in derived
    products that can be used as inputs to dynamic
    models that evaluate impacts on paleoclimate,
    hydrology, erosion processes, land cover
  • Complexity scientists develops models for social
    and ecological processes