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The “Geometric reconstruction and novel semantic reunification of cultural heritage objects” (GRAVITATE) project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 665155. GRAVITATE started the 1st June 2015, with an original time frame of 36 months that was recently extended to 42 months.

The project involves 6 partners: IT Innovation Centre (UK), British Museum (UK), The Cyprus Institute (Cyprus), Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche -Institute of Applied Mathematics and Information Technologies (Italy), University of Amsterdam (Netherland), Technion – Israel Institute of Technology (Israel) and University of Haifa (Israel).

The overall objectives of the GRAVITATE project are to create a set of software tools that will allow archaeologists, curators, conservators and illustrators to identify and Re-Unify heritage artefacts that have been separated across collections, Re-Associate objects of Material Culture that have some relationship (eg. same school, age, pattern…) and eventually Re-Assemble fragments belonging to the same fragmented artefact. These aims will be achieved through the integration of geometric and semantic analysis and matching. Combining these approaches into a single decision support platform, with a full suite of visualisation tools, will provide a unique resource for the cultural heritage research community.

The project is driven by the needs of the archaeological community and is exemplified by several pertinent use cases. We anticipate that the insights to be gained from the use of these tools will lead to faster and more accurate reconstruction of heritage artefacts for research, conservation and exhibitions activities, to opportunities for reunification of objects between collections and greater insights into relationships between cultural objects.


The project is divided in 7 Work Packages: 

• WP 1 Coordination and Management

   Leader IT Innovation

The objectives of this work package are: to facilitate communications and collaboration between partners and with the European Commission and its representatives; to monitor progress, the use of resources and budgets at project level, and provide management reports to the European Commission; to coordinate the technical work carried out in the project across all work packages, and ensure that the project objectives are achieved within the planned time and budget and to ensure the quality of work including deliverables. An important role is also to track technical and financial risks to the project and manage the response to ameliorate them.


• WP 2 User Requirement Analysis and Planning

   Leader TECHNION

This work package identifies the user requirements that need to be satisfied during the analysis, design and development of the GRAVITATE platform. It has started by choosing the relevant user groups and test beds (some belong to the project and some are other archaeologists and curators). Later, based on the users and the existing data, the functional requirements - both geometric and semantic - are collected and analysed. These requirements, jointly with the state-of-the-art methodologies and metadata, assist in defining the interface between the users and the GRAVITATE platform, as well as in developing the algorithms.


• WP 3 Geometric and Semantic Matching Research Agenda

   Leader University of Amsterdam

The objectives of this work package are to develop the core technical capabilities of shape analysis and semantic matching to enable the ultimate integration of the tools in the GRAVITATE platform. These capabilities can be divided into three categories: geometrical shape matching, metadata mapping, and their integration. Each of these require an inventory of existing methods, followed by a roadmap to assess which specific capabilities need to be developed in the context of our cultural heritage project, with the use cases as our benchmark


• WP 4  Exploring the space of similarities: interactive and visual user experience

   Leader Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche -Institute of Applied Mathematics and Information Technologies

The role of the WP4 is to specify and implement the functionalities needed to support actively users with a rich visual context for the exploration of fragments, assets, or collections in ReAssembly, ReUnification and ReAssociation workflows. Specific objectives are the analysis of the user requirements with respect to interactive exploration of digital fragments/objects for the planned usage scenarios, the analysis of the technical solutions available for 3D visualization, information visualization and search/query formulation, the definition of methods for the exploration of model collections using shape, context, and semantics and the integration of the user interface in GRAVITATE.


• WP 5  Design and development of the GRAVITATE platform

   Leader IT Innovation

WP5 is the core implementation work package. Functional specification, design and development of the software modules required to perform hybrid matching (both reassembly and reunification of cultural heritage artifacts) using a combination of geometric shape analysis and semantic metadata is being undertaken. For the first part, the specifications and functional requirements of this platform were drafted based on the input from WP2 and WP3. Based on these functional requirements, a detailed architecture design document is being produced. The platform architecture for GRAVITATE implements transparent (web service based) interfaces for seamless integration of different components. These include the semantic matching algorithms, the shape matching algorithms, the user interface and visualisation components from WP4, metadata models and ontology population components, and integration with existing cultural heritage knowledge bases.


• WP 6 Use case preparation and pilot deployment

   Leader British Museum

The continuing objective is to capture sufficient data, including the provenance, 3D form, physical appearance including morphology and decoration, and further scientific analyses, of the Salamis and Naukratis collections. Theses use cases ensures that existing data and metadata are aligned with the best practices defined by the GRAVITATE requirements and measure the effectiveness of GRAVITATE techniques.


• WP 7 Dissemination and Exploitation

   Leader The Cyprus Institute - Science and Technology in Archaeology Research Center

The objectives of the Dissemination and Exploitation work package are to launch an effective communication strategy based on the dissemination plan, to ensure that the project’s objectives and findings are widely disseminated to potential beneficiaries of the work, to establish a distinctive project identity and maintain a favourable reputation, to raise visibility of, and engagement with, the work of the project, to make the work of the project visible to beneficiaries in the academic, museum and business sectors, and to gather feedback from external professionals and develop an exploitation strategy that ensures the continuation and long-term sustainability of the work of the project.