Cultural Contact in Early Roman Spain through Linked Open Data resources

Paula Granados GarcĂ­a (Open University)

Digital Classicist London seminar 2017

Friday June 30th at 17:15, in room 234, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Livecast at Digital Classicist London YouTube channel.

Although the Romanisation debate seems to be settled in English-language scholarship, other countries, such as Spain, have only just started to revise traditional discourses. During the 1900s, Spanish studies on Romanisation were mainly focused on documentation of the immense amount of evidence, from the Imperial point of view. Today, this work is being re-examined by incorporating new methodologies and perspectives. Within this paradigm shift, novel initiatives are emerging that aim to provide a new scenario by looking at this cultural encounter from the eyes of the colonised. My research on "Cultural Contact in Early Roman Spain through Linked Open Data" explores the possibilities offered by Linked Open Data (LOD) and the Semantic Web to connect, share and make available large amounts of archaeological and historical data regarding the question of cultural interaction.

To investigate the possibilities that LOD can offer to the research of cultural contact in the Ibero-Roman era, I will initially develop a pilot project on the province of Baetica in the south of Spain. In order to do so, I will be looking at the data available in several projects such as Pelagios Commons, Hesperia, Trimegistos,, ARACHNE and EDH among others. My aim is to collect the data available from these repositories and integrate it where necessary to create my own linked database that will enable me to develop much richer and more detailed queries using SPARQL. This language is utilised in the querying of LOD and it can provide much contextualised results about specific queries and pieces of evidence for cultural contact.

The case of Osuna, an Ibero-Roman town in Seville, presents an example of how digital resources can provide new readings and rise further questions on the archaeological research. Since the discovery of a rich set of sculptures that were not entirely considered of Roman nor Iberian manufacture, the settlement has been studied as an example of cultural interaction. Whereas the traditional scholarship describes the reliefs from the Roman perspective, new alternatives advocate for the hybrid character of the pieces. Using Linked Open Data resources and other digital technologies, I aim to combine the existing data about the set of sculptures with the numismatic, epigraphic and geographical information. This new methodology will allow me to connect these various resources and therefore to test in a much richer and extensive way the hybrid character of the pieces. At the same time, this will allow me to explore the potential of LOD in this case study as well as the impediments that researchers can find in the usage of this methodology.