Documentation and analyses on the national scale at the Israel antiquities authority: The story of one (broken) sherd

Avshalom Karasik, Zvi Greenhut, Joe Uziel, Nahshon Szanton, Leore Grosman, Itay Zandbank, Uzy Smilansky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Being a significant and the largest archaeological organization that runs around 250-300 rescue excavations per year, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) sees the near future as the turning point from old traditional documentation methods into the "digital era." The remarkable advantages of new 3D technologies for archaeology are self-evident and have become widespread during the last two decades. First of all, 3D documentation is faster, cheaper, and more accurate than the traditional methods. Second, it improves the accessibility of the data to scholars, and can serve as the digital conservation of deteriorating objects. Third, it opens new levels of research questions which are based on the 3D information. However, the huge amount of data accumulated annually at the IAA calls for a systematic and complete solution that goes beyond the feasibility test of scanning archeological artifacts in 3D. Therefore, we have initiated a new facility - The National Laboratory for Digital Documentation of Archaeological Artifacts. The lab is running in parallel with and closely connected to the Computerized Archaeology Laboratory at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The mutual purpose of the twin laboratories is to harness mathematical and computational methods to support archaeological research, documentation, and visualization (Grosman, Karasik et al. 2014). The laboratory is equipped with modern, high precision scanners which provide digital models of archaeological finds. We apply and continue to develop several tools and algorithms which are used routinely as the ultimate procedure for the analysis, publication, and digital storage of the finds. The up-to-date "life-circle" of archaeological objects, from their first sighting at the excavation until their final rest at the storehouse, is exemplified here with the story of one unique pottery fragment studied within its archaeological context.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)209-213
Number of pages5
JournalNear Eastern Archaeology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2014


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