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Ontology-driven Geographic Information System and dlvhex Reasoning for Material Culture Analysis

Alessandro Mosca, Diego Bernini

The problem of performing specific reasoning tasks on large ontological
knowledge bases is a challenging issue both for the Semantic Web and the
KR&R community. One way to meet the challenge is to try to design and implement
systems that are able to exploit the descriptive capabilities offered by
Semantic Web languages, in conjunction with the reasoning power of logic programming
The present work is about the design of a system that integrates an ontologydriven
Geographic Information System (GIS) with a dlvhex classification system,
in the archaeological research domain of the material culture analysis. ‘Material
culture’ is a generic term used to describe objects produced by human beings,
including buildings, dwellings, tools, weapons, utensils, and artistic creations.
Material culture is the main source of information about the past, and
the artefacts classification represents the inescapable starting point for studying
archaeological cultures and chronological aspects of settlement dynamics in specific
spatio-temporal contexts.
The ontological counterpart of the Geographic Information System (GIS) is devoted
to supply the logic-based classification system with a unitary well structured
view of all the (domain dependent) information that come from a number
of distributed and heterogeneous sources (e.g. university departments and labs,
scientific articles, scholars’ web homesites, museum repositories and archives).
Instances of the introduced ontology represent ceramic artefacts, characterized
by having explicit geospatial coordinates, a GIS is able to visualize and exploit
for further quantitative analyses (e.g. buffering, overlaying, networking).
The paper also discusses the representational issues related to the design and the
implementation of the classification system, whose main components are: (i) a
meta-model, concerning the set of the epistemic dimensions by means of which
the ceramic entities are studied; (ii) a mereological theory, devoted to the representation
of the ceramic artefacts internal structure; (iii) a classification module,
containing a set of classification heuristics that depend on the domain of interest
and on the involved research community.
The system has been designed with the help of the Department of Archaeology of
the University of Bologna (Italy) and tested, with encouraging results, on a large
dataset of ceramic findings of the Bronze Age Northern Italy.

pdf   presentation.pdf

    author = {Alessandro Mosca and Diego Bernini},
    title  ={Ontology-driven Geographic Information System and dlvhex Reasoning for Material Culture Analysis},
    year = {2008},
    month = {december},
    address = {Udine, Italy},
    editor = {Marco Gavanelli and Toni Mancini},
    organization = {RCRA},
    booktitle = {R.i.C.e.R.c.A. 2008: RCRA Incontri E Confronti},