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Over the last few days, I've taken a break from my normal routine to key in data collected by the Ohio Boeotia Expedition from the island of Kouveli in the Gulf of Domvrena on the northern coast of the Corinthian Gulf near the site of Thisvi. One the small arguments that I make in our paper on re-analyzing the survey finds from the Ohio Boeotia Project is that the changes in technology have influenced the way that data were recorded in archaeology. With the introduction of "New Archaeology" (or processural archaeology) in the early 1960s, there emerged a greater interest in quantification and quantitative methods for documenting past human activities. The Ohio Boeotia Expedition worked on the cusp of these significant changes concluding in 1982. One thing that is particularly noticeable in the data is that little effort was made to normalize the finds data.
The tools to perform these kinds of quantitative analysis, however, were expensive and time consuming (often involving processing punch cards, expensive mainframe computer time, or even tedious and error prone hand calculations).
As a result, they collected quantitative data on artifact densities (which could be easily calculated by hand), but did not collect the finds data in rigorously normalized way. The chronotype system is the systematic recording system that we used to document finds from the Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey and in the Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project (as well as several other significant survey projects).
Caraher, University of North Dakota[first draft] It seems natural to include a paper on survey archaeology on a panel entitled “First Out”.
This is not because the project was not imagining that their data could be analyzed quantitatively. They are typically include measurements for the object and then a textual description of the fabric, shape, decoration, and date of the object with some notes on comparanda.
The increasing availability of personal computers in the first years of the 1980s paralleled the development of important software packages for organizing data on desktop computers. We are gradually translating the context pottery from the Ohio State Excavations at Isthmia into this same system. In fact, the density or distributional data was collected on paper forms that were suitable for direct entry into a spreadsheet type program.
Such thorough textual descriptions of objects is useful for establishing the identity of fossil types in an excavation context. In fact, the systematic and robust collection of finds data has made it possible to normalize significant parts of the finds notebooks.
At the same time, the study of surface assemblages has fit into the definition of “First out” intended by the organizers of this panel by contributing significantly to our understanding of post-Classical periods in Greece over the past four decades.
In other words, these objects serve to date stratigraphic layers in excavation and describing them accurate is important for establishing the validity of the identification of the object.
The same year saw the introduction of a powerful new version of the longstanding statistics package SPSS (SPSS-X).
In fact, the ground breaking work of many of the participants on this panel has made clear that the rigorous documentation and analysis of surface finds has expanded our notion of what constitutes an archaeological site to well beyond the built up centers of ancient polis and across every century from the end of antiquity to the modern era. Moreover, the portability of both hardware and software made it possible to enter data in the field.
The practice of recording careful descriptions of artifacts central to chronological and functional arguments will continue to remain central to archaeological documentation. Davis, University of Cincinnati and American School of Classical Studies at Athens, and Sharon R. Intensive surveys in Boeotia, Laconia, Messenia, and the Corinthia are rewriting both the ancient and post-Classical landscapes of these well-studied regions.
This undoubtedly shed light on the practice of data collection in direct contact with data entry (if not on the fly analysis).
In fact, the improved ability of desktop database software and "natural language" search engines will make these descriptions increasingly susceptible to the same kind of quantitative analysis as more standardized (and in most cases abbreviated) forms of notation. It has to be about personal, human decisions.Which things are you going to include in the collection? If I can continue to play with the idea of “first out”, it is also clear that this phrase could apply to the first generation of intensive, pedestrian “siteless” surveys in another way. The desktop computer, SQL driven database software, and new statistics packages put complex statistically driven archaeological research in the hands of even the smallest intensive survey project. Like the first phase of excavation at major sites across the Mediterranean, the first efforts at intensive survey often relied upon assumptions and methods that were unrefined or unsophisticated in comparison with more recent work. They want the best content, the most helpful content, the most actionable and useful content. In fact, the constant refinement of survey techniques and the ever more robust datasets that they produce often include explicit and implicit critiques of earlier survey methods.
This continuous critique has not only weakened the status of survey among a sometimes skeptical archaeological establishment, but also served as a tacit justification for neglecting the results of earlier surveys.
Technological barriers, irregular recording practices, and the incomplete publication of data sets have further impaired archaeologists’ ability to redeploy data collected from the first wave of surveys for newly formed hypothesis. This is because of my reasons for doing curation.Now, there is a second school of thought, which differs primarily because of the reasons and drive to do content curation.
While the methodological concerns associated with revisiting early “second wave” survey data prose problems, this data nevertheless preserves evidence for the ephemeral surface record in Greece.
This camp is about doing content curation for its SEO (Search Engine Optimization) effects. Both ever-expanding development of the Greek countryside and the irregular patterns of surface visibility, agricultural practices, and erosion patterns obscure and threaten the surface record. As Albert Ammerman famously observed based on the results of several seasons of the systematic resurvey in Italy, sites tend to blink on and off in the landscape like traffic lights. Fantastic.Its simply that first and foremost, I am doing content curation on a website and topic I care about.
Consequently, intensive survey data often captures a single distinct and unique view of the landscape which is not susceptible to reproduction even using similar methods.

This paper will use the data collected from the Ohio Boeotia Expedition between 1979 and 1982 from the (modern village and) Boeotian polis of Thisvi.
The results of this survey were published in a series of short articles between 1980 and 1992. You now know enough about it to know that some level of software should be able to help us with this.
While these articles provided for a broad discussion of method and a basic report on the project’s finding, they did not publish finds or quantitative data extensively. Our goal with this paper is to take the first step in re-introducing data from the OBE into the broader conversation about settlement and survey data in both in Boeotia and across Greece more broadly. To do this, we would like to first discussion briefly the process of curating the survey data produced by the OBE and then go on to analyze this data in the context of some recently published survey work from Greece. I purchased it a few months back and having not yet used it, wanted to make sure we were investing wisely the time to learn whatever tool we use. The first step in preparing the OBE data for analysis was the keying of records preserved in a series of notebooks and binder pages.
These records included counts of artifacts from survey units, which were generally 1 meter square total collection circles as well as from more robust collection procedures conducted at a number of sites across the survey area. Since 2000, David Pettegrew and I have recorded descriptive and photographic data from the early modern site of Lakka Skoutara that documented the changes at this site as a result of a whole range of abandonment practices. These photographs need to be put together with textual descriptions in a way that is useful to scholars.
Here it is interesting and perhaps valuable to recognize that the quality of data recorded over the course of original fieldwork was quite high, but it was hardly normalized and consequently unsuitable for systematic, quantitative analysis.
The lack of normalization was perhaps, in part, the result of the novel character of desktop-level tools for quantitative analysis (e.g. Maybe I will buy all the tools at a later date to check them out further purely for this analysis, if people are massively interested.
This is not to suggest that quantitative analysis of archaeological data did not occur prior to the early 1980s, but rather to point out that the creation of normalized practices of data-recording and well-defined hierarchies of object identification became a higher priority after desktop database and statistical tools became more common. Over the past two years, I have slowly been digitizing the results of an intensive pedestrian survey project conducted between 1979-1982 around the village of Thisvi in southeastern Boeotia. By normalizing the robust data sets produced by intensive survey, the database became as important as the traditional artifact catalog for analyzing the chronology and function of sites across the landscape. It would be excellent to report the results of this project in a transparent way or to develop an online environment where this work can be highlighted and made accessible. At the same time as we keyed data from notebooks and binder pages, we also sought to remap the location of the transects using GIS software. Goals and Priorities: To some extent, I will let you imagine a set of priorities for this list of tasks, and I certainly don’t imagine that you’ll get all these done. At some point in the 1980s [some additional historical clarity here would be helpful], the artifact counts and location of transects was entered into the Surface II software program which produced a contour map of the artifact densities across the Thivi basin. On the other hand, I expect that early on, we as a team develop some sense of priorities in how we plan to attack these various projects.
While versions of these maps were published, the data behind these maps appears to be lost.
Unfortunately, at present the disappearance of this spatial data has made it difficult at this point to place the western-most transects on the ground. The written description of the locations of the western transects relies upon points of reference that are not visible on the Greek Army Mapping Service 1:5000 maps and have been destroyed on the ground as a result of the construction of a massive pipemaking factory. There is hope that we can find the location of these transects from older aerial photographs of the area. Assignments and Responsibilities: Since this is an internship, I will not have a major writing or reading assignment. The final step in the production of this data is recording comprehensive metadata for the all of the data that we entered. Once the keying of the data and metadata is complete we plan to make this data available to the public via the internet.
This step is especially important for small projects because it distributes of digital data expands the curation process from the purview of the creator of the data to the community of users who want to make use of the data. Disseminating the data to end users, with the proper metadata, we make it possible for others to use our material and make it far more likely to be kept compatible with changes in technology. In addition, you will be expected to maintain a public blog detailing weekly how the various projects are progressing. The goal of the blog will be both to keep you honest (as a team) and to make the progress of the various projects underway transparent to the various stakeholders both at the university and elsewhere. The work of both excavations and survey in Boeotia and elsewhere in Greece alone has produced a foundation for the reinterpretation of our survey data.
Recent work by Archie Dunn and a team from the University of Birmingham has begun to document the post-Classical finds at Thisvi itself and Jonita Vroom’s study of the post-Classical ceramics from the Cambridge-Bradford Boeotia Project has shed important light on the relationship between post-ancient ceramics and settlement patterns across Boeotia. The diversity of methods reflected the early stage in the development of field procedures and an avowedly experimental approach to documenting the landscape. The area closest to the city walls, Area A, were surveyed using a series of 11, randomly placed, 30 m radius circular survey areas from which samples were taken. The team surveyed the plain itself using a series of long transects (Areas, C, D, and E) from which they typically took 1 sq meter samples for density and diagnostic artifacts. At present we have a single PC, a Linux powered laptop, and a gaggles of very powerful Macintosh computers.
Finally, the teams also collected samples for area of particularly high density which they designated sites.
They surveyed these areas using a flexible methods best suited for documenting the extent, chronology, and function of the material on the ground.

In addition to these survey areas, the OBE team also conducted intensive survey on two nearby islands in the Gulf of Corinth, Kouveli and Macronisos, which I have not included in the aggregated totals produced in the analysis below. Published and unpublished reports from Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project, Ohio Boeotia Project, and Lakka Skoutara (which was a part of the Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey (EKAS)). The survey of the mainland counted over 8700 artifacts and documented over 1700 batches of unique artifacts from the four areas of the survey.
The artifact density data from the OBE shows a decline in the number of artifacts from the units closest to the city across the central part of the Thisvi basin.
This pattern, noted in the original publication of the survey, may be at least in part a product of the erosion patterns.
In antiquity, an ancient barrage, described by Pausanias, controlled the flow of water and sediment into the basin. In more recent times, the lack of ability to control the flow of water may have either covered some of the sites or, at very least, discouraged habitation there. Part of a successful public history project is knowing how to get the information that you need.
The density of artifacts, however, clearly increases on the gently sloping, stony ground the along the south side of the basin. Against the backdrop of overall artifact density we can show the distribution of post-Classical material across the survey area. There were, however, several concentrations of both Late Roman and Byzantine to Medieval pottery which represented about 10% of the overall assemblage of datable material collected from survey.
Modern material and a thin scatter of pre-Classical material accounted for the other 20% or so of material from the survey.
But that decision wont be based upon the Instant Curator tool.All the people who create these tools are good people. If you only want to do a critique of one article at a time, then Curation Traffic is probably best for you. If you want to write your posts by pulling in and quoting from multiple sources, or if you are not sure, and might want to sometimes do singe-source (short-form) and sometimes multiple-source (long-form) then PageOne Curator is probably the best option for you.My final deision? These are my personal notes, from having spent hours investigating and trying to make the best decision for ourselves.
I hope it helps you make an informed decision for your business.If you found this post useful, please let me know in the comments and Review section below, and let me know any feedback. The former coincides particularly well with kinds of developments documented by the Cambridge Boeotia Survey around Thespiai as villas. The assemblage from the site contained storage vessels consistent with some kind of agricultural installation as well as beehive sherds so common at Late Roman agricultural sites around Thespiai. Moreover, the site was outside the densest areas of ceramics around Thisvi even at its Classical-Hellenistic peek, and this too paralleled the findings of the work at Thespiai. The material at this site was more diverse than a simple agricultural installation and included some of the few example of Late Roman fineware from the survey area in addition to a significant complement of transport vessels which would be expected at a coastal site. Vathy resembles more closely the assemblages present on the islands of Kouveli and Macronisos than the material present inland in the Thisvi basin or even neighboring Thespiai which likewise lacked significant quantities of Late Roman finewares.
In contrast, at the Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey in the immediate hinterland of the important Late Roman city of Corinth some xx km to the southeast, fineware made up almost 10% of the total assemblage of Late Roman artifacts, and this is despite a collection strategy that would tend to under represent the proportion of fine ware to coarse ware.
It is the comparative context that allows us to begin to make sense of assemblage presented around Thisvi.
One of the reasons I seem to be leaning to PageOne Curator is that it allows me to highlight the portion of the article that I want to curate. When first documented and published in the mid-1980s the presence of Late Roman and post-Classical material in the countryside of Thisvi was worthy of remark. Now as “the busy countryside” of Late Antique Greece comes into sharper focus, the dearth of pottery present in the Boeotia countryside and its decidedly functional and non-cosmopolitan character gives pause. There is no question that southeastern Boeotian countryside continued to see investment in post-antique period with Late Antique fortifications extant at Thisvi, Thespiai, Khostia and on Mavrovouni.
On the other hand, the lack of imported fine ware for Late Antiquity suggests a particular kind of investment in the countryside.
The countryside around both Thisvi and Thespiai during Late Antiquity would appear to be less substantially invested in the kind of prestige rural habitation that is often associated with the concomitant decline in the urban core of the ancient world. The thing is, the more control you get in this way, the closer you come to not using curation software, but just doing it all manually.
Reply Link John D November 29, 2013, 5:46 amDuncan, your post is really helpful in trying to decipher which tool to use. My dilemna is I will be creating content for clients too so excerpts are not as useful except on blog or content round ups.
Does Curation Soft allow for taking relevant and related articles from the discovered content.
Curation Soft really grabs some great content, I don’t know how but even the free version rocks as a discovery tool.
It is the editing part that needs a few more bells and whistles to make it the unbeatable one. People may tire of curated content if it has not been screened and really relevant so it pays to put a bit more into the editing and into a quick check of the curated content itself.
Reply Link Duncan November 29, 2013, 8:34 amHi John,I agree with you that the curation needs to be done with care, that it gets screened properly.

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