Saturday, November 21, 2009

ASOR Open Archaeology Prize 2009

At the ASOR Members Meeting and Awards on Friday November 20, 2009, Sarah Whitcher Kansa announced the winners of this year's ASOR Open Archaeology Prize.

First Prize: $500

The West Bank and East Jerusalem Searchable Map

This collection includes lists of archaeological sites that have been surveyed or excavated since Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967. Since that time, the oversight of the antiquities of the area has devolved on two government bodies: the military administration's Staff Officer for Archaeology (SOA) in Judea and Samaria and the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). The IAA, which is responsible for East Jerusalem, is a civil branch of government and its records are open for inspection. Some of the records of the Staff Officer for Archaeology in Judea and Samaria are being accessed in full for the first time as a result of the joint Israeli-Palestinian Archaeology Working Group. This involved a team of Israeli and a team of Palestinian archaeologists and cultural heritage professionals working in concert to create new data resources that document the single, unitary archaeological landscape of the southern Levant, which is now bisected by the modern borders.

Second Prize: A $200 gift certificate from the David Brown Book Co.

Petra Great Temple Excavations: Brown University Excavations at the Great Temple of Petra, Jordan

Great Temple Excavation Database:

This project represents the comprehensive results of Brown University excavations at Petra's Great Temple from 1993 - 2006.

About the Great Temple: The Great Temple contains eclectic exquisite art and architecture from the Nabataean period and demonstrates that the values of the Nabataeans of Petra during this period who felt that aesthetic decoration of structures with frescos and architectural sculpture was sufficiently significant on which to expend time, money and energy. This blending of different cultures is seen in this palatial building and its precinct with the use of elephant heads, frescos, elegantly carved pilasters and capitals. There is a high level of skill and technology possessed by her builders as well as the high level of organized government that would be needed to plan the building of this monumental structure. The Great Temple is one of the key sites in the Nabataean Petra, and it is a significant site for our knowledge of the development of Petra. The lives of the Nabataeans were influenced by a unique blend of cultures. The study of the Great Temple is essential to the understanding of many different aspects of the archaeology of Petra. Such an interpretation when considered in relation to what is known about other Nabataean sites can effectively enrich the web of knowledge we possess regarding both Petra and the people whose lives ultimately created it. Each of our seasons of excavation has proved to be provocative and propitious as many questions were raised and many extraordinary artifacts were recovered.

Congratulations to both!

The ASOR Open Archaeology Prize is awarded to the best open-access, open-licensed, digital contributions to Near Eastern archaeology by ASOR members. This competition is open to all ASOR members. Members may submit their own project or nominate the project of another ASOR member. A panel of researchers will judge the quality and significance of submitted materials. Evaluations will be based on the project's scholarly merits and potential for reuse in research or teaching. To be eligible, projects must be freely available on the Web (ie not password-protected) and downloadable in an open, reusable format. All content must be provided under licensing terms no more restrictive than the Creative Commons Attribution, Noncommercial, Share-Alike License (see details below). These open licensing terms will help maximize the impact of your research and ensure that others can build on your contributions.

2008 ASOR Open Archaeology Prize

Winners of the 2008 ASOR Open Archaeology Prize competition were announced on November 21, 2008 at the annual ASOR meeting in Boston. The printed prize announcements can be found on page 31 of the Winter 2008 ASOR newsletter.

First prize ($500) was awarded to the Abzu web site, led by Charles E. Jones, Head Librarian at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University and Research Associate, The Oriental Institute, University of Chicago. Launched in 1994, Abzu collects and manages open access scholarly material relating to the ancient Near East and Mediterranean world, including the rich corpus of ETANA Core Texts, which are available for free for noncommercial teaching and research. In addition to standard search functions, Abzu provides several different ways to track recently entered material, such as news feeds, a clip blog and a widget. It also allows for the re-presentation and re-formatting of material indexed in it in the continuing series "AWOL - The Ancient World Online", beginning at the Ancient World Bloggers Group Blog. Abzu is self sustaining with selection and editorial control having been integrated into the workflows of the editor at the Research Archives, Oriental Institute, the Blegen Library at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, and at the Library of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World.

Second prize ($200 in books, co-sponsored by the David Brown Book Company) was awarded to the Badè Museum of Archaeology web site, led by Aaron Brody (Pacific School of Religion). The Badè Museum’s web site was recently overhauled to allow for virtual outreach to a limitless audience, helping educate beyond the brick-and-mortar walls of the Museum's galleries, and bringing transparency to the Museum’s holdings. The web site provides access to reusable content from archaeological excavations at Tell en-Nasbeh, conducted by WF Bade in the 1920s and 1930s under the auspices of Pacific School of Religion. The new web site provides digital versions of the contents in the Museum’s exhibits, overviews of research projects and facilitates the ordering of traveling exhibit materials. By openly licensing all content with Creative Commons licenses, the Bade team has ensured that these free and open resources can be downloaded for reuse by anyone. The photographs and short movies are of particular interest, and Aaron informs us that many more resources will be coming on line in the near future.

2007 ASOR Open Archaeology Prize

Scholars from UC Berkeley swept the Open Archaeology Prize competition, held at the 2007 meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR). One of a series of awards around “open archaeology” funded primarily by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, this particular Open Archaeology Prize targeted members of ASOR, a long-standing organization of archaeologists conducting research in the Near East. The winners, who were selected based on their project’s scholarly merit, potential for reuse in research or teaching and availability on the web in a free and reusable format, were announced last week at ASOR’s annual meeting in San Diego.

First Prize, Senior Scholar

First prize for a Senior Scholar was awarded to the team led by Ruth Tringham (Professor, Department of Anthropology) and Noah Wittman (Program Manager, ) for their website “Remixing Çatalhöyük” ( Remixing Çatalhöyük has been variously described as a database narrative and as a multimedia exhibition and research archive. Launched in October 2007, it features the investigations and data of the Berkeley Archaeologists at Çatalhöyük (BACH) and their colleagues at the Neolithic tell settlement of Çatalhöyük, Turkey. The aim of the website, accessible in English or Turkish, is to engage the public of all ages in the exploration of primary research data through four themed collections that are selected from the research database. One theme on the Life-History of People, Places, and Things - also includes a K-12 activity module. The public are invited to download media items that are licensed with a Creative Commons 3.0 license, create original projects and contribute their own "remixes" about Çatalhöyük. Tringham and Wittman write that the developers of this resource “hope that this project will inspire other researchers to openly share their research data and engage broad public audiences.” Remixing Çatalhöyük represents a groundbreaking effort toward sharing and elucidating the past, and we certainly hope other projects will follow their lead.

First Prize, Junior Scholar

First prize for a Junior Scholar was awarded to Catherine Foster (PhD student, Department of Near Eastern Studies) for her project “Household Archaeology and the Uruk Phenomenon: A Case Study from Kenan Tepe, Turkey” ( Catherine is awarded first place for developing a website on her research involving household studies of a Late Chalcolithic community in the Upper Tigris region of southeast Anatolia. Foster explains that the ultimate goal of this project is to create an open access micro-artifact database that can be used as a reference resource for other scholars wishing to embark on this type of analysis. Because it will be open access, other scholars will be able to add to the database with high-resolution scans and descriptions or alter categories as developments are made. She states, “To my knowledge, no such database is freely available over the Internet and will be a valuable resource as the inclusion of microarchaeological techniques in Near Eastern excavation projects becomes more and more commonplace.” Foster’s project demonstrates a solid foundation in open access and a visionary approach for future sharing of research in archaeology.

Runner Up

A second prize of $200 in books, co-sponsored by the David Brown Book Company, was awarded to Justin Lev-Tov (Statistical Research, Inc.) for his project “Hazor: Zooarchaeology” ( This project presents zooarchaeological identification and analysis of nearly 10,000 animal bones from Late Bronze Age and Iron Age contexts at Hazor, research Justin conducted as part of the Hazor Excavations in memory of Yigael Yadin. By sharing this dataset in Open Context with a flexible license for reuse, Justin is improving access to high-quality research and original data that accompany published syntheses. This dataset has been accessed over 11,000 times since it was uploaded to Open Context in Fall 2006. We hope to see more related content from this time period available in open access formats so that Justin’s dataset becomes even more valuable through comparison with other sites.

The ASOR Open Archaeology Prize competition is sponsored by the Alexandria Archive Institute, promoting the development and use of open educational resources in archaeology and related disciplines. The competition aims to enhance community recognition of open scholarly communication and receives generous support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the David Brown Book Company and the American Schools of Oriental Research.

No comments:

Post a Comment