ArkeoTopia & Artefacts: a fruitful collaboration

  • Last Updated: Saturday, 12 June 2021 11:12
  • Published: Wednesday, 03 March 2021 18:59
  • Written by Lucie Puyjalinet translated by Chloé Walot and Yassamin Kouraichi
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ArkeoTopia supports the Artefacts program of the laboratory of Archéologie et Archéométrie in Lyon (CNRS - UMR 5138) since 2013 by promoting it to different audiences but also by participating in adding data and developing partnerships for further use.

Why does ArkeoTopia support
the program of Artefacts?

Artefacts is an online collaborative encyclopedia © ArtefactsSince 2013, ArkeoTopia supports the Artefacts program developed by the laboratory of Archéologie et Archéométrie. The association wants to introduce the general public to this online collaborative encyclopedia of archaeological objects, and also to all those who might need it: researchers, curators, students, etc. “ArkeoTopia decided to get involved because, within the association, our 4th pillar is support for archaeological research. In addition, by sustaining Artefacts we are also developing our 5th pillar, which is scientific production”, explains ArkeoTopia Chairman, Jean-Olivier Gransard-Desmond, in charge of the scientific programming of the association.

The genesis of the collaboration

ArkéoTopia present the Artefacts project to archaeologistsIn July 2013, members of the association gathered to discuss the possibilities of using Artefacts: “At the beginning, we wanted to help a CNRS researcher, Michel Feugère, to develop this tool, explains Jean-Olivier Gransard-Desmond. I liked the fact that he specified on the website: Artefacts is not a finished product, but an evolving program that reflects the work of a group of researchers.” ArkeoTopia scientists and non-scientists then tested the platform: “We delivered a report summarizing the problems encountered and the elements that had worked well”, he continues.

The interest of the association was also in the participatory dimension of Artefacts: “It is not common at all as shown by the work of Collabora. This is also why we wanted to support the program. This is how the relationship began.” Team 4 of Archéologie et Archéométrie laboratory requested it “as they did not necessarily have the time to test their platform”, adds Jean-Olivier Gransard-Desmond. Rather than a partnership to create a bond between ArkeoTopia and the laboratory, an associate researcher relation was set up in 2015.

Promoting, contributing and searching for partners: the actions of ArkeoTopia

The Portable Antiquities Scheme to contribute to ArtefactsAt first, between 2013 and 2015, the association carried out significant work on testing the platform. Then, promotion started with the organization of a WikiTopia Party dedicated to Artefacts. “A WikiTopia Party is a supporting event dedicated to archaeology in the field of participatory science.” Still in 2015, ArkeoTopia represented the laboratory at the Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists in Glasgow. “I presented Artefacts to researchers. It was a discovery for everyone. This really contributed to the tool promotion and we were also able to identify the expectations of the professional sector. They were very interested in the bibliography, the fact that it can be both chronological and typological.”

Meanwhile, the association launched its direct contribution to the site: “Together, we worked with the material from the Museum of Biesheim. We proceeded with the digitization and image editing.” ArkeoTopia also embarked on the search for partners by contacting the Ministry of Culture which runs Joconde (portal offering resources on the documentation, computerization and digitization of French museums collections) and the European program Ariadne dedicated to archaeological data and to their digital processing.

Training and contribution projects

Artefacts during the Fête de la ScienceIn 2020, ArkeoTopia took part in the Fête de la science to promote Artefacts: “This time, we were addressing the general public because this festival brings together a lot of schoolchildren, even if it happens that researchers also join the party to discover projects to be developed.” During this event, the association offered an introduction to the platform.

It now wishes to set up distance training workshops: “Our desire is to create online initiations, especially for events such as the European Archaeology Days.” This year, ArkeoTopia will also refocus on contributing to data: “Access to raw data was a barrier because the laboratory does not necessarily have the time to transfer it to us. So, we took the initiative of searching for equipment independently. It is the British Portable Antiquities Scheme project on the Wikimedia Commons platform that will allow us to feed the database.”

For further information


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ArkeoTopia, an alternative approach to archaeology® aims to take another look at the archeology of today to better help existing organizations to prepare that of tomorrow. To find out more about our organization, go to our YouTube channel to watch our video The 5 pilars or go to the page called Ours actions.

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