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The archaeological site. Naukratis was the first Greek settlement in Egypt, on the Nile Delta. From the VII century BC Greeks and Egyptians lived together in the city which became a trading post frequented also by Phoenicians and Cypriots. Until the foundation of Alexandria, Naukratis was the main trading port in the Western Nile Delta and continued to be significant also during the Hellenistic and Roman period. Rare Christian symbols appeared during the Byzantine period (330-641 AD) and after the VII century AD it seems that Naukratis had fallen into the oblivion.
The collection. Excavations from 1884 onwards uncovered large parts of the site and a rich archaeological assemblage, much of it dedications to the town’s Greek and Egyptian sanctuaries, including fine pottery imported from across the Greek world and beyond. Of the c. 18,000 finds today preserved in more than 70 museums worldwide nearly 8000 are in the British Museum. The collection include Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Cypriot artifact dating from the 7th century BC to the 7th century AD.
Why the Naukratis collection? The collection is dispersed across more than 70 museums and institutions and has a wealth of more than 18,000 objects as well as further documentation materials from excavators such as Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie (e.g. correspondences, notebooks, diaries, journals). It is therefore a rich collection and a representative case study for the archaeological tasks the GRAVITATE project is addressing. The large amount of metadata, text, and images enables the work on complex semantic matching, while 3D models of a selected joinable group of fragments create a ground-truth corpus for the examination and assessment of the performance of the technological tools developed.