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Capturing the Silences in Digital Archaeological Knowledge
Open AccessArticle

Linking Theories, Past Practices, and Archaeological Remains of Movement through Ontological Reasoning

CNRS/University of Bourgogne Franche-Comté–Chrono-Environnement/MSHE C.N. Ledoux, 25030 Besançon, France
Faculty of Humanities/CLUE+, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Department of Computer Science, University of Montpellier2–IRD/Espace-Dev, 34093 Montpellier, France
Archaeology, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK
CNRS/University of Tours—CITERES/MSH Val de Loire, 37020 Tours, France
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Information 2020, 11(6), 338;
Received: 10 May 2020 / Revised: 14 June 2020 / Accepted: 15 June 2020 / Published: 24 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Humanities)
The amount of information available to archaeologists has grown dramatically during the last ten years. The rapid acquisition of observational data and creation of digital data has played a significant role in this “information explosion”. In this paper, we propose new methods for knowledge creation in studies of movement, designed for the present data-rich research context. Using three case studies, we analyze how researchers have identified, conceptualized, and linked the material traces describing various movement processes in a given region. Then, we explain how we construct ontologies that enable us to explicitly relate material elements, identified in the observed landscape, to the knowledge or theory that explains their role and relationships within the movement process. Combining formal pathway systems and informal movement systems through these three case studies, we argue that these systems are not hierarchically integrated, but rather intertwined. We introduce a new heuristic tool, the “track graph”, to record observed material features in a neutral form which can be employed to reconstruct the trajectories of journeys which follow different movement logics. Finally, we illustrate how the breakdown of implicit conceptual references into explicit, logical chains of reasoning, describing basic entities and their relationships, allows the use of these constituent elements to reconstruct, analyze, and compare movement practices from the bottom up. View Full-Text
Keywords: movement; pathways; network; meshwork; spatial analysis; GIS; modeling; ontology movement; pathways; network; meshwork; spatial analysis; GIS; modeling; ontology
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Nuninger, L.; Verhagen, P.; Libourel, T.; Opitz, R.; Rodier, X.; Laplaige, C.; Fruchart, C.; Leturcq, S.; Levoguer, N. Linking Theories, Past Practices, and Archaeological Remains of Movement through Ontological Reasoning. Information 2020, 11, 338.

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