Full text: New perspectives to save cultural heritage

CIPA 2003 XIX th International Symposium, 30 September - 04 October, 2003, Antalya, Turkey 
However, in some areas/activities these standards do not reflect 
the needs and practices of other countries. 
Another current practice is that worldwide the public and 
private sector interests have reduced their investment in the 
development of globally accepted standards because of 
downsizing and deregulation. In addition to this, there is a 
limitation of rights for the use of the standards which prevents 
governments, businesses and clients from being able to afford 
to use the standards. In order to increase the rights for the use 
of these standards a much larger financial investment is 
Unfortunately libraries, museums and archaeological 
departments as well as NGOs in the area of cultural heritage 
are commonly known to be under strict budgetary constraints. 
Their involvement in using standardization is largely a question 
of finances since the experts are already aware of its need. 
The cultural heritage experts are also under further pressure 
from their homeland country in that when standards are applied 
these standards must also comply with the specific 
government’s laws, regulations and procurement processes. 
Due to the history and difficulties incurred through the use or 
attempted use of standardization it is often desired to exclude 
the experts, technology and/or the standards themselves from 
supporting the documentation, protection and preservation of 
cultural heritage. This, however, is detrimental for the current 
and future preservation of culture throughout the entire world. 
Experts around the world also share this opinion and continue 
working towards an improvement to the current situation. The 
present developments in this area are two-fold. Further 
discussion will be focused on the practical application of 
standardization and then the methodology offered to 
professionals in this field today. 
In some initiations through different European funded projects 
consortia of specialists from different countries in Europe and 
around the Mediterranean in the area of culture heritage have 
developed useful universal systems and techniques for the 
documentation, preservation and archiving of cultural heritage 
artefacts, monuments and sites. 
The case study presented is the two year EU funded Jewelmed 
project for the comparative analysis of manufacturing 
technologies in goldsmithing and silversmithing from the VII to 
I century B.C. in the Mediterranean area (www.jewelmed.net). 
Ancient gold- and silversmithing can only be appreciated by 
accurately surveying materials and understanding . their 
historical value. The art of goldsmithing is one of the most 
relevant forms of expression in ancient times, therefore, 
archaeological research and analysis in this area is paramount to 
the understanding of cultural norms, social organisation, 
technological capacity, economic development and cultural 
exchanges. This kind of research is often hindered by the lack 
of a common descriptive glossary, carefully elaborated 
technological definitions and a distinctive data structure and 
coding system. The goal of the JewelMed project was to 
elaborate these necessary research tools. 
If, on the one hand, the JewelMed project did not include a 
specific research activity, on the other hand, it indeed 
highlighted the need and possibility to expand knowledge, 
create a common lansuase and set the foundations for further 
research. In this regard, one must give due consideration to the 
successful elaboration of a standard, universal and unique 
language of documentation and filing/cataloguing 
methodology. Internal networks facilitated the creation of a 
complex database, while, through the use of information 
technology, each object can be classified and entered into the 
filing system on the basis of its various characteristics. Thus, 
one can easily select and retrieve individual records - by 
typology, chronology, origin, etc. - as well as an item’s 
technology, materials and decorative patterns. 
JewelMed’s extensive data structure, dynamic database and 
multimedia technology demonstrate, in an objective way, the 
possibilities and flaws of universal ancient jewellery 
documentation. Consequently, important developments can be 
achieved beyond the limits of the specific work in progress. The 
elaboration and publishing of a vocabulary in English (standard 
ancient jewellery glossary), with complementary translations in 
the most important languages, is an example of such 
developments. This vocabulary represents a significant 
contribution to research and communication between various 
countries. The continuous input into the JewelMed stand alone 
database (library) will increase the value of available 
knowledge, which, until now, has been sporadically and 
incompletely presented. Should this library go on-line (on the 
Internet - e-Library) everyone can have access to inform 
themselves about ancient jewellery and also have the possibility 
to update the library for future developments. 
Another advantage of using common regulations is that 
standardized codified knowledge will reduce the damages 
derived from collectivism and other illicit trade activities thus 
preventing present and future cultural heritage, such as 
historical awareness and knowledge, from being impoverished. 
It is possible to glean the complexity of the aforementioned 
transformations and meanings from JewelMed’s database. Part 
of the content in this database is supported by scientific 
literature and characterization leading to further analyses and 
important developments. Appropriate typological and 
archeometric analyses allow unveiling of production details, 
single components, assembly methods and instruments. This 
information may help clarify the complex exchanges and 
interactions between different cultures and jewellery creation 
centers. In some cases through the careful design of the data 
structure of such standards innumerable advantages can be 
provided by the wealth of information being accessed through 
the database systems (libraries). 
Evidence of such an activity was provided during the 
Jewelmed project concerning Malta. Important information 
was found concerning the trade routes and fashions in this 
geographic area. Malta was an important stop in the heavily 
navigated Sicilian Canal and it became a crucial location for 
interactions between Italian and Greek cultures, on the one 
hand, and Phoenician-Punic cultures and colonies, on the other. 
Even though the contemporary collection of items is not very 
numerous, the coming and going of different jewellery 
traditions and typologies in the Mediterranean basin can still be 
clearly traced. Objects of Phoenician-Punic typology and the 
presence of Egyptian elements in the Greek jewellery of late 
Classic era, even if in small fragments, reveal fashions and 
behaviours of the inhabitants or visitors to Malta (JewelMed). 
This case study provides an example of the practical 
application of standardization. On the other hand, the CIDOC 
Conceptual Reference Model (CRM) presents probably the

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