Nature: A deep learning approach to fight illicit trafficking of antiquities using artefact instance classification

Nature: A deep learning approach to fight illicit trafficking of antiquities using artefact instance classification. “We approach the task of detecting the illicit movement of cultural heritage from a machine learning perspective by presenting a framework for detecting a known artefact in a new and unseen image. To this end, we explore the machine learning problem of instance classification for large archaeological images datasets, i.e. where each individual object (instance) is itself a class that all of the multiple images of that object belongs.”

City of Boston: Boston Archaeology Program Announces Completion Of NEH-funded Digital Archaeology Project

City of Boston: Boston Archaeology Program Announces Completion Of NEH-funded Digital Archaeology Project. “In March 2019, the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded the City of Boston Archaeology Program a $350,000 Humanities Collections and Reference Resources grant to re-process, re-catalog, digitally photograph and place online in a database the complete archaeological assemblages excavated from five important Boston historical sites…. With this project, the collections are fully documented and anyone from anywhere in the world can see these collections online or study them in person at the City Archaeology Program.”

New Indian Express: ASI faces uphill task of cataloguing and preserving piles of its archival treasure

New Indian Express: ASI faces uphill task of cataloguing and preserving piles of its archival treasure . “The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has started an uphill task to catalogue and preserve piles of archival records lying in disarray in its offices across states. Historical documents are being searched through and evaluated to fast-track the setting up of the Archive Division at ASI headquarters in Delhi.”

Griffith University: Rock art detection via machine learning model a breakthrough

Griffith University: Rock art detection via machine learning model a breakthrough. “Co-led by Dr Andrea Jalandoni, a digital archaeologist from Griffith University’s Centre for Social and Cultural Research, the study used hundreds of images of rock art found within Kakadu National Park to train a ML model to detect whether painted rock art was present within the image. The model achieved an 89% success rate, meaning it determined which images contained rock art the vast majority of times.”

University of Toronto: AI-powered archaeology draws out hidden evidence of fire use by early humans

University of Toronto: AI-powered archaeology draws out hidden evidence of fire use by early humans. “The discovery, described in a study published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests only the sixth location worldwide of evidence of fire more than half a million years old. The researchers employed advanced artificial intelligence (AI) techniques to confirm their hypothesis. The team suggests the method could lead to a more scientific, data-driven type of archaeology, providing a better understanding of the origins of the human story, our most basic traditions and our experimental and innovative nature.”

Ars Technica: Lidar reveals networks of pre-Columbian cities and towns in Bolivia

Ars Technica: Lidar reveals networks of pre-Columbian cities and towns in Bolivia. “An airborne lidar survey recently revealed the long-hidden ruins of 11 pre-Columbian Indigenous towns in what is now northern Bolivia. The survey also revealed previously unseen details of defensive walls and complex ceremonial buildings at 17 other settlements in the area, built by a culture about which archaeologists still know very little: the Casarabe.”

University of Wisconin-Madison: Researchers aim X-rays at century-old plant secretions for insight into Aboriginal Australian cultural heritage

University of Wisconsin-Madison: Researchers aim X-rays at century-old plant secretions for insight into Aboriginal Australian cultural heritage. “…knowing the chemical composition of pigments and binders that Aboriginal Australian artists employ could allow archaeological scientists and art conservators to identify these materials in important cultural heritage objects. Now, researchers are turning to X-ray science to help reveal the composition of the materials used in Aboriginal Australian cultural heritage – starting with the analysis of century-old samples of plant secretions, or exudates.”

Phys .org: Researcher develops Google for archaeologists

I found this resource in February but it wasn’t quite ready for public release. It was ready in March, but then the notice got lost in my email. Without any FURTHER ado, from Phys .org: Researcher develops Google for archaeologists. “An incredible quantity of archaeological reports are stored in digital archives. If you want to search for information in them, you have to do this manually. And that is a real chore. Archaeologist Alex Brandsen has now used deep learning, a form of artificial intelligence, to develop a search engine that can search very precisely through all the data.” You can access the engine at http://agnessearch.nl/ . The interface is in Dutch but Google Translate handles it well.

Ars Technica: Terahertz imaging reveals hidden inscription on 16th-century funerary cross

Ars Technica: Terahertz imaging reveals hidden inscription on 16th-century funerary cross. “In recent years, a variety of cutting-edge non-destructive imaging methods have proved to be a boon to art conservationists and archaeologists alike. Each technique has its advantages and disadvantages. For instance, ground-penetrating radar (radio waves) is great for locating buried artifacts, among other uses, while lidar is useful for creating high-resolution maps of surface terrain. Infrared reflectography is well-suited to certain artworks whose materials contain pigments that reflect a lot of infrared light.”

Ars Technica: Robotic dog will be on patrol in Pompeii

Ars Technica: Robotic dog will be on patrol in Pompeii. “The nearby volcano blackened the sky and swallowed the city in clouds of ash; centuries later, robot dogs now prowl the ruins, guarding the city’s dead against the ravages of time. That’s not a movie plot. It’s what’s actually happening at the 2,000-year-old Roman ruins of Pompeii, in Southern Italy. Boston Dynamics’ robot dog, Spot, will help archaeologists and preservation crews by patrolling the 66-hectare site for signs of erosion, damage, and looting.”

City of Boston: City Of Boston Archaeology Program Goes Digital

City of Boston: City Of Boston Archaeology Program Goes Digital. “In the fall of 2019, the City of Boston Archaeology Program began the process of fully digitizing some of its most significant collections of artifacts. Funded by a $350,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Program hired Project Archaeologist Lauryn Sharp and Digital Archaeologist Nadia Kline to complete the project. The goal of the project is to make the collections accessible online through a searchable artifact database.”

Eos: Geochemical Data from Polynesian Artifacts Pack Pofatu Database

Eos: Geochemical Data from Polynesian Artifacts Pack Pofatu Database. “An embracing Sky father and Earth mother had many children, one of whom pushed apart their parents to let in the light, according to Māori origin traditions. In one version told to Māori archaeologist Gerard O’Regan of the Ngāi Tahu tribe, an unborn child remains in the womb, his eyes, or whatu, peering out as rocks, or kōwhatu, a Māori word for stone…. Elsewhere in Polynesia, a reconstruction of the word is *pofatu, said Aymeric Hermann, an archaeologist at the French National Centre for Scientific Research. He is also cocreator of the Pofatu database, a compilation of geochemical information gleaned from stone tools and source quarries scattered throughout the Pacific that can be matched with one another.”

Scientific Data: p3k14c, a synthetic global database of archaeological radiocarbon dates

Scientific Data: p3k14c, a synthetic global database of archaeological radiocarbon dates . “We present a synthetic, global-scale archaeological radiocarbon database composed of 180,070 radiocarbon dates that have been cleaned according to a standardized sample selection criteria. This database increases the reusability of archaeological radiocarbon data and streamlines quality control assessments for various types of paleo-demographic research. As part of an assessment of data quality, we conduct two analyses of sampling bias in the global database at multiple scales. This database is ideal for paleo-demographic research focused on dates-as-data, bayesian modeling, or summed probability distribution methodologies.” This article is open access.

Macquarie University: The treasures of Elam, a civilisation gone but not forgotten

Macquarie University: The treasures of Elam, a civilisation gone but not forgotten. “Broadly encompassing the area in southwest Iran where today are found the provinces of Khuzestan and Fars, Elam and neighbouring Mesopotamia laid down the institutional and ideological foundations we came to associate with civilisation. Yet Elam (c. 4200-525 BC) remains one of the least well-known societies of the ancient Near East. Javier Álvarez-Mon, Professor in Near Eastern Archaeology and Art in Macquarie University’s Department of History and Archaeology, is working to change that.”