Advances in technology have resulted in an explosion in the quantity and quality of digital data available to researchers. Even a small site can have hundreds of thousands of digital files ranging from maps to photos to text notes. With researchers each providing their own organization or data, or names for categories of artifacts or environments, it can be very difficult to both access and share the information.
OCHRE, or the Online Culture and Historical Research Environment, provides the platform for the database that allows CRANE to integrate, analyze and share digital information about research in the study region. It allows data from each archaeological site to be linked into a single environment that can be queried without losing information.
Developed by David Schloen and Sandra Schloen (University of Chicago), the OCHRE software platform is a key element of the CRANE initiative. As relatively few concepts and relationships are predefined, it is a very flexible system. An OCHRE system is a central database server and user-interface software (a "database client application") that runs on each user's computer and enables him or her to enter, search, and display data. It is especially useful for research groups working on related material or research problems, allowing them to integrate their data rigorously and conduct detailed cross-project comparisons and analyses. OCHRE makes it easy for such groups to grow and become interconnected as research progresses, providing a mechanism for wider-scale data integration from the bottom up as new projects are added to the database and new thesauri are created to match terms from different taxonomies
• Using OCHRE to link the Tayinat Archaeological Project, the Neubauer Expedition to Zincirli and the Tell Acharneh Project databases.
• Beginning to explore how effective the cross-project comparisons and analyses of the archaeological data are and to identify deeper links
between the separate databases.
• Working to enhance OCHRE's ability to handle and analyze various forms of geospatial and 3D data, as well as the construction of a
portal directly within OCHRE to the ENKIMDU simulation engine. This is a modeling framework that will allow CRANE researchers to
directly and independently create and test their own simulations. The simulations will draw upon the linked data housed within the OCHRE
• As CRANE progresses, data from additional archaeological projects in the region will be integrated, as well as the new data collected for
chronological and paleoenvironmental reconstruction.