The Archaelogical Revolution is coming

The Project

ArchAIDE is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (€2.460.376,75) and aims to create a new system for the automatic recognition of archaeological pottery from excavations around the world. It started on June 2016 and will end on May 2019.

Over the next three years, the ArchAIDE project will develop a new app that aims to change the global practice of archaeology, thanks to the latest automatic image recognition technology.

Every day, archaeologists from around the world are working to discover and tell stories around objects from the past, investing considerable time, effort and funding to identify and characterise individual finds. 
Pottery is of fundamental importance for the comprehension and dating of archaeological contexts, and for understanding the dynamics of production, trade flows, and social interactions.
Today, this characterisation and classification of ceramics is carried out manually, through the expertise of specialists and the use of analogue catalogues held in archives and libraries.
The goal of ArchAIDE is to optimise and economise this process, making knowledge accessible wherever archaeologists are working.

ArchAIDE will support the classification and interpretation work of archaeologists (during both fieldwork and post-excavation analysis) with an innovative app designed for tablets and smartphones, designed to be an essential tool for archaeologists. Ceramic fragments will be photographed, their characteristics sent to a comparative collection, which activates the automatic object recognition system, resulting in a response with all relevant information linked, and ultimately stored, within a database that allows each new discovery to be shared online.
ArchAIDE will provide another vital avenue for Archaeology to use the Web to create new knowledge, shared and accessible to all.
The app will be tested in the field and in several European countries, thanks to the direct participation of archaeological professionals, who will give feedback on the product prior to the release of the final version, planned for the first months of 2019.

The objectives of the project will be achieved through the development of:

  • an as-automatic-as-possible procedure to transform paper catalogues into a digital description, to be used as a comparative collection for the search and retrieval process;
  • an app (mainly designed for mobile devices) that will support archaeologists in recognising potsherds, through an easy-to-use interface using efficient algorithms for characterisation, search and retrieval of the visual/geometrical correspondences; 
  • an automatic procedure to derive the potsherd’s description by transforming the data collected into a formatted electronic document, in print or on-screen; 
  • a web-based real-time data visualisation to improve access to archaeological heritage and generate new understanding; 
  • an open archive to allow the use and re-use of archaeological data, transforming it into a common heritage.

We aim to impact the professional archaeological labour market, archaeological research, training and education in archaeology. 

The project involves more than 35 researchers, computer scientists, designers, and video makers from nine universities, public research centres and private companies from 5 countries (Italy, Germany, Israel, Spain, United Kingdom). You can see Partner and Team pages.

ArchAIDE at work!