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Sylvia Deskaj

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August 21, 2013

Tumulus: A Mapping Archive of Northern Albanian Burial Mounds – Final Words

August 21, 2013 | By | One Comment

My CHI project, Tumulus, which can be found here, is an archive of archaeological data that were collected from previous field seasons in northern Albania.  Rather than keeping data hidden away in FileMaker, our efforts are best served, I think, when they are made available and others can use them – particularly since a dizzying array of archaeological projects and culture types are strewn throughout the Balkan landscape, confusing the public.

Tumulus is meant to serve several purposes: 1) allow local landowners to access information that we, as archaeologists, have been collecting during our survey fieldseasons; 2) call attention to the rapid destruction of burial mounds and other cultural heritage assets; 3) provide the beginnings of a platform of data-sharing amongst other archaeologists working in the Balkan region.

While my project is not meant to be theoretically enlightening, it is, however, a methodological experiment in how to best present regional archaeological data to various local stakeholders.  Using TileMill and MapBox, I spatially plotted each tumulus (burial mound) and provided photographs and select information for each one.  I attempted to create an interactive map whereby a site visitor could click on a point, which would then direct them to a new page with information about that tumulus.  The interactive portion of my mission proved to be a challenge for me, but the overall result, I think, is great – particularly since the data are now available!  The next challenge, however, will be to figure out how to make these data even more accessible – in other words, I need to figure out how to convert these data into linked open data.  Linked open data will nest Tumulus data within larger, connected systems that will allow people to easily search for (and use) the data from my site.

Many thanks to Dr. Ethan Watrall for always taking the time to help us!  Also, thanks to everyone who attended the 2013 Linked Ancient World Data conference – I learned a great deal from everyone!

I look forward to your comments and suggestions.

Thanks for reading 

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