EAA Virtual conference 2020 – Presentation from Ville Rohiola

Due to the pandemic, the European Association of Archaeologists’ annual meeting is virtual this year. Among the many online presentations in the scientific programme, Ville Rohiola of the Finnish Heritage Agency is presenting about FindSampo in the session “Challenge, Change and Common Ground: The Role of Socially Engaged Practice in Community Archaeology in Modern Europe”, scheduled to run on Friday 28 August.

FindSampo presentation slide

Ville’s presentation is titled “FindSampo: A Cooperative Citizen Science Platform to Manage and Curate Archaeological Find Data in Finland”, with the following abstract:

FindSampo (Fi. Löytösampo) is a web portal under development in Finland for archaeological finds made by public, particularly by avocational metal detectorists. The database is developed by the Finnish Archaeological Finds Recording Open Linked Database (SuALT) project. The four-year consortium project funded by the Academy of Finland involves the Finnish Heritage Agency (FHA), the University of Helsinki and Aalto University.

The goal of the project is to develop innovative solutions for reporting, researching and managing archaeological find data. As a result, FindSampo will provide public, archaeologists, and other researchers a web service to study find data and its spatial information online globally. For FHA, the platform will work as a tool to manage and curate disseminated find data and archaeological information. It will also streamline the processes of heritage management dealing with metal detecting. The database applies citizen science and activates participatory collaboration between the public, researchers and heritage managers.

Ontologies and metadata models are needed to represent archaeological information as a digital resource for research and for wider public. For Archaeological Collections it is essential that the self-recorded find data (by public) is compatible with the FHA’s collection management. The ontology infrastructure is needed to make linked data interoperable with national and international databases. For example, the concept-based ontology of archaeological object names, that the FHA has developed, is essential to record accurate and compatible find data. With formal data structures, it is possible to disseminate archaeological information for different user needs. This paper discusses the importance of open access data and public domain use of archaeological information, especially of archaeological object finds.

The session begins at 14:00 CEST (15:00 in Finland), with Ville’s presentation scheduled to take place at 16:15 CEST (17:15 in Finland). Registration for the conference is open to all EAA members, with details about joining and registration via the conference website.

New open access article debating responsible and responsive artefact stewardship

In the latest issue of the journal Antiquity, Suzie Thomas has written a Debate piece with Bonnie Pitblado, titled “The dangers of conflating responsible and responsive artefact stewardship with illicit and illegal collecting”.

The article is Open Access, and has the following abstract:

Archaeology and private artefact collecting have complex and inextricably linked histories. Archaeologists have long drawn attention to criminal activity among collectors, but to assume that all private owners of cultural material—and any archaeologists who interact with them—have ill-intent or engage in illegal behaviour can cause as much harm to the archaeological record as the criminal actions themselves.

In addition to the article are three Response pieces, from Pieterjan Deckers, and also Joe Watkins (The Archaeological and Cultural Education Consultants, and Society for American Archaeology), and Morag Kersel (DePaul University), with a final reply from Pitblado and Thomas. The Responses are not open access, but contact Suzie Thomas for more information about these.

Reference information:

Thomas, S., & Pitblado, B. (2020). The dangers of conflating responsible and responsive artefact stewardship with illicit and illegal collecting. Antiquity, 94(376), 1060-1067. doi:10.15184/aqy.2019.201

Deckers, P. (2020). Archaeology’s awkward allies. Antiquity, 94(376), 1068-1070. doi:10.15184/aqy.2020.50

Watkins, J. (2020). ‘Not with the same brush’. Antiquity, 94(376), 1071-1073. doi:10.15184/aqy.2020.45

Kersel, M. (2020). Engaging with demand and destruction. Antiquity, 94(376), 1074-1076. doi:10.15184/aqy.2020.62

Pitblado, B., & Thomas, S. (2020). Unravelling the spectra of stewards and collectors. Antiquity, 94(376), 1077-1079. doi:10.15184/aqy.2020.99