The Hellespont Project: Integrating Arachne and Perseus in a new Linked Data interface

Posted on 17 December 2013

Talk: Agnes Thomas, Alexander Recht, Karen Schwane (Universität zu Köln), “The Hellespont Project: Integrating Arachne and Perseus in a new Linked Data interface”.


Date: Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Time: starting at 18:00 c.t. (i.e. 18:15)

Venue: TOPOI Building Mitte, Hannoversche Straße 6, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, 10115 Berlin (map)


As a partner of the German Archaeological Institute, the CoDArchLab cooperates with the Perseus Digital Library at Tufts University to combine the digital collections of classical studies of both institutions.

Therefore, within the Hellespont Project we started a case study on integrating the two archaeological object databases Arachne and Perseus based on the CIDOC CRM (CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model). In addition, we chose one part of the ancient textual evidence for further annotation, the so-called Pentekontaetia in Thucydides 1.89-1.118. We thus focus on a limited historical period, the 50-year period in the history of Athens between the end of the Persian Wars (479 BCE) and the outburst of the Peloponnesian War (431 BCE). A both historical and linguistic analysis on the text enables us to extract main information of the narrative including events, historical persons and places mentioned by the author. With this approach we get a twofold list of events, one following the understanding of the text in modern research literature and one coming from a data-driven approach of linguistic annotation. This information of Thucydides’ text is mapped again using the event-based CIDOC CRM. All data output so far is available as RDF (Resource Description Framework) in XML Syntax and can be integrated in a Triple Store with related automatically extracted journal articles from JSTOR.

Combining archaeological and philological data with secondary research literature and historical information, we open up the broader context of related sources of a certain period and thus explore the idea of a VRE (Virtual Research Environment).

In the presentation we want to show how the user will access the interface for Hellespont Linked Data, which - as one main part of the project - is currently still being implemented. The other part of the project is embodied by the so called GapVis, a text-based interface where it is possible to navigate alongside the text of Thucydides while simultaneously seeing all places, persons and organisations for each text passage and connected information. The Open Source JavaScript code of GapVis was adapted from the Google Ancient Places project and modified and extended for our needs, for example through the integration of linguistic trees as SVG files. The underlying principle not only of GapVis but of the whole Hellespont project to connect the ancient text with objects, events and additional markup is the CTS-URN standard by which text passages can be identified on a singular word level. Any arbitrary text passage can be assigned with a CTS-URN that can in turn be referenced by any XML-based markup that is part of the project.

Therefore, in the second part of the paper, we want to present the connection between the Linked Data interface, GapVis, and also the links back to Arachne und Perseus as well the technologies behind.


Or you can download the slides from here.




Or you can just download the video files (.mp4): talk (588 MB) ; discussion (149 MB).