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Archaeology Data Service and Colleagues Receive Prestigious Award

Posted on 24 September 2019

York is key partner in development of award winning digital archaeology app

Examples of the Roman amphorae that can be printed from the ADS ArchAIDE archive.

The Archaeology Data Service (ADS)/Department of Archaeology is a key partner in the EU H2020 Research and Innovation Action ArchAIDE. On Friday, 20 September, the Heritage in Motion New Multimedia Competition on European Heritage winners were awarded, and we are delighted to announce ArchAIDE won best app of 2019. The app was created to aid archaeologists, both in the field and during post-excavation, to identify pottery types and create digital pottery assemblages. The app was designed to fit into traditional pottery identification and documentation workflows, while automating tasks that are time consuming and repetitive. In addition to creating digital comparative collections to speed identification usually undertaken using paper catalogues, artificial intelligence was used to create algorithms to identify pottery using cutting edge, deep learning technologies. Three pottery classes were used to show proof of concept for pottery recognition based on decoration (Majolica of Montelupo) and shape (Roman amphorae and Terra Sigillata). 
The ADS was responsible for data management, database design and archiving of the data, in addition to coordinating dissemination activities within the ArchAIDE project. One of the most popular archives held by ADS, Roman Amphorae: a digital resource, was both used to populate the comparative collection in the app, and train the shape-based image recognition algorithm. 3D models created from pottery profile drawings derived from the Roman Amphorae archive, where subsequently used to create 'virtual sherds' which could also be used to train the algorithm. These 3D models are now also archived with ADS and can be downloaded for use with 3D modelling software, or 3D printing.
The ArchAIDE app is freely available for download for phones and tablets, on iOS and Android. For more information, see the ArchAIDE Website at and the ArchAIDE Archive for Publications and Outputs held by the Archaeology Data Service at
Other apps shortlisted for the award included The Falstad Center - geolocated digital reconstruction, the Vikingship Museum Audioguide App with beacon support, and GuideNow Multimedia Guide System.
Dr Gabriele Gattiglia (University of Pisa), coordinator of the ArchAIDE project, accepting the award for best app at the Heritage in Motion New Multimedia Competition on European Heritage on Friday, 20 September 2019.