Free Book from ASOR

Over the past three years, the archaeologists from the Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project, who have worked at the site of Pyla-Koutsopetria about 10 km west of Larnaka, have collaborated with the American Schools of Oriental Research Committee on Publications and the folks at Open Context. The result of this partnership is a free, linked, digital version of the 2014 monograph, Pyla-Koutsopetria I: Archaeological Survey of an Ancient Coast Town edited by William Caraher, David Pettegrew, and R. Scott Moore.

Here’s the blurb from the ASOR website where you can download the book:

We are very pleased to release a digital version of Pyla-Koutsopetria I: Archaeological Survey of an Ancient Coastal Town (2014). We have modified this copy of the manuscript to include links to the archaeological data produced from 2003-2011 during almost a decade of intensive pedestrian survey and study by the Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project (PKAP). We have published our data with the Open Context platform where it underwent basic review by the managing editor. By integrating PKAP field and study data with Pyla-Koutsopetria I, the reader can now “drill down” into the data through hyperlinked text in a pdf version of the book. 

These links allow the reader to view the various digital archaeological “objects” that form the basis for the arguments advanced in this book. These digital archaeological objects range from individual survey units with attendant descriptive data to individual artifacts or batches of artifacts. We have also linked to the various categories of artifacts in our typology. These followed the chronotype system which both informed our sampling strategy in the survey and how we described our finds. We assigned a type to each artifact based on the chronotype naming conventions. These conventions combined a fabric or form with a period and could range from the exceedingly broad – like Medium Coarse Ware dating to the Ancient Historic period (750 BC- AD 749) – to much more narrowly defined and specific categories like African Red Slip Form 99. We have also linked to the various chronological periods assigned on the basis of the chronotype system which guided much of our analysis of artifact distribution in this book.

It is important to stress that this is a provisional document. In some ways, the book reflects the retrofitting of a traditional, analogue text with a layer (literally as well as figuratively) of links to our published digital material. As a result, we did not consider whether the data present in Open Context could be easily arranged by the user to replicate the analyses underpinning this analogue volume. For example, in the book, we organized our data spatially into zones which reflected both practical and archaeological divisions in our survey area. We have not arranged our data in Open Context in such a way that it is easy to query a zone for particular types of artifacts. In future projects, digital data and description will be more closely coordinated allowing the reader to explore the textual arguments more fully while still preserving the granularity of the original archaeological data.

This provisional digital edition would not have been possible without the cooperation of Eric and Sarah Kansa at Open Context who invited us to submit our data for publication at their site. Kevin M. McGeough and Hanan Charaf, the editors at the ASOR Archaeological Report Series, supported our distribution of this digital version of our work as did Charles Jones, the chair of the ASOR Committee on Publications, and Andy Vaughn, ASOR’s Executive Director. We hope that this provisional publication represents a step forward in the publication of volumes with linked data.

You can read what Bill Caraher, one of the co-authors, says about the project here on his blog.

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