KNIR Project

Rescuing our archaeological legacy

Archaeologists have surveyed millions of hectares of the Mediterranean landscape using field-walking techniques (i.e. pedestrian survey) to document archaeological finds that have surfaced, for instance by ploughing or erosion. They have accumulated an impressive quantity of legacy data from past and current pedestrian surveys. Such survey data are crucial for reconstructing historical landscapes and large-scale settlement dynamics. Yet, fast landscape changes destroy archaeological sites, making restudy impossible. The physical storage of survey finds is often suboptimal, and inadequate digital curation makes large crucial datasets inaccessible to modern researchers.
Large part of these survey data thus remains locked in outdated databases or analogue maps and catalogues. Despite their importance, there is a concrete risk that these data will be lost due to improper management and digital obsolescence. To prevent this from happening, this KNIR project develops an innovative method based on crowdsourcing to unlock the potential of legacy survey data for both academics and heritage professionals.
Activating students and researchers, legacy survey data will be rescued and made openly accessible online through a digital platform called FASTI Online Survey. Two Mediterranean regions are used as case studies to demonstrate proof of concept: the Italian Peninsula (specifically Central and Southern Italy) and the Iberian Peninsula (specifically Portugal).

KNIR staff
Tesse D. Stek, KNIR and Leiden University
Anita Casarotto, KNIR and Leiden University

Involved Institutes
Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (KNIR)
International Association for Classical Archaeology (AIAC)
L – P: Archaeology
Leiden University

Affiliated researchers
Jeremia Pelgrom, University of Groningen
Jitte Waagen, University of Amsterdam
Elizabeth Fentress, AIAC
Jesús García Sánchez, Archaeological Institute of Mérida
Rogier Kalkers, Sapienza University of Rome
Flavia Palazzini, Sapienza University of Rome (KNIR intern summer-autumn 2020)
Claudio Sossio De Simone, University of Naples Federico II (KNIR intern summer 2020)

More information

KNIR Column “Rescuing our archaeological legacy”

Online-Internships: Digital Field Survey Archaeology

Fasti Online Survey