Visitor Scheduling Software

PAST - Bringing Archaeological Sites to Life

PAST focuses on developing an advanced handheld electronic guide for archaeological sites. The guide schedules the visitor's path around the site, based on time available, interest level, and expertise, and provides detailed information about the site.

Using GPS (or other positional) information the pages relevant to the current location are displayed and the visitor's path around the site is dynamically rescheduled.

Tailored Multimedia Tours

When people visit an archaeological site, it is difficult to give them a clear picture of how people used to live on the site - all that usually remains is a few ruins, and sometimes not even those are visible.

PAST presents a new solution to this problem whereby visitors can not only see images showing the site as it was at the time period represented by the site, but also get a detailed insight into the lives of the occupants, from the frame of reference of their own lifestyle and interests.

Each visitor is given a highly personalised route around the site, tailored to their speed of travel and their interests, meaning that the visitor only views the locations relevant to them at a pace that suits them.

Similarly, they are shown material at a level tailored to them, so children don't get bored, adults don't feel patronised, and everyone finishes their visit with a complete understanding of the information shown to them.

PAST In Action

PAST has been trialled at three major archaelogical sites in Europe: Bibracte, Passo di Corvo and Toumba.

Bibracte (France)

Bibracte was a Gaulish fortified city, situated near modern Autun in Burgundy, France. It was the capital of the Aedui and one of the most important hillforts in Gaul - Vercingetorix was proclaimed head of the Gaulish army there in 52BC.

Map of the main areas of Bibracte.

Map of the Bibracte Site

Passo di Corvo (Italy)

Passo di Corvo is a prehistoric village - the excavations in this site have confirmed that the one hundred or so structures visible from aerial photography do not all belong to the same period of time, but span a period of around a thousand years (from 4500 to 3500 B.C.).

Toumba (Greece)

The site of Toumba is located in the coastal plain of Thessaloniki, on the foothills of Mount Hortiatis. It consists of an artificial hill (tell or toumba) created by the overlapping of archeological remains over several thousands years.

The numerous objects discovered during the archeological dig, including prestigious artefacts and a large quantity of pottery from the late Mycenean Age, allow dating of the excavated area to the Late Bronze Age (i.e. 1200 BC).

Context-Aware Visitor Guiding

Profiling and Real-time Re-scheduling

On arrival at the site the visitor selects their preferred language and works through a quick profile to ascertain their interests and level of presentation of information.

Then they are presented with an interactive map with their route displayed and a choice of options, which includes the opportunity to reschedule their route completely, or to add and remove points of interest.

As the visitor progresses around the site, they are given the option to reschedule if they move faster or slower than anticipated, and to change the level of presentation of information if they feel it is not suitable.

The system dynamically updates the planned tour and corresponding routing, automatically responding to the visitor's interactions with the system.

System Architecture

PAST consists of 4 main components:

  • PAST Archaeological Repository, which contains the data relevant to the system, automatically extracted from existing databases.
  • Visitor Profiler, which collects information about the visitor, including their language of choice, the level of presentation of information and their interests, to create a profile for the visit. Throughout the visit, this profile can be updated based on the visitor's actions.
  • Visit Organiser, which initially schedules a route for the visitor, and updates this route dynamically throughout the visit. It presents an interactive map interface to the visitor, which keeps them updated of their current position within the site and the route suggested to them.
  • Context-aware Interaction Layer, which retrieves the information relevant to a point from the Repository and presents it in a suitable format for the visitor, allowing them to change the level at which it is presented to them if they feel it is not suitable.

Collaborative Initiative

PAST (exPeriencing Archaeology across Space and Time) is an EU-funded project undertaken by the following partners:

  • Dipartimento di Archaeologia e Filologia Classica 'Francesco della Corte' (Italy)
  • Comune di Foggia, Museo e Pinacoteca Communali (Italy)
  • Aristotele University of Thessaloniki (Greece)
  • Bibracte (France)
  • Beta80 SpA Software e Sistemi (Italy)
  • Dipartimento di Informatica e Scienza dell' Informazione, Universita di Genova (Italy)
  • MJC² Limited (UK)
  • ANCO S.A. Telecommunications, Electronics & IT Industry (Greece)

 

 

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