CRANE is developing a general map of the Orontes Watershed that shows archaeological sites that have been identified and surveyed, with their size, name and, where available, period of occupation. This information is being integrated directly into the OCHRE software platform.
Using published surveys, the team is scanning, rectifying and digitizing paper maps, then refining the locations using satellite imagery. Some sites have been destroyed, or may have been offset or poorly mapped – challenges that require extra research to pinpoint the location.
The project is also scalable. The map already includes sites in southern Turkey, Syria and northern Lebanon, and is expanding towards central Anatolia.
This site database will serve as the backbone for many of the separate CRANE sub-projects, allowing for parsing and visualization of the data within a geographical framework.
Identifying all settlements within a specific time period can help the simulation modeling reconstruct areas of interactions of ancient kingdoms, help reconstruct trade routes, or even when certain environmental elements such as lakes or swamps developed or disappeared.
By linking the settlement data to the ceramic typology data, all sites with certain ceramic markers or patterns in production can be identified and visualized on-the-fly, or can as well be fed into the simulations to further our understandings.
The chronological and bibliographical data from this database is playing an important documentation role in the Syrian Heritage Initiative, documenting the impact of the civil war on cultural heritage of Syria.
Doctoral fellows Dominique Langis-Barsetti and Rasha Elendari (University of Toronto) collected data from dozens of surveys conducted from the 1930s to the present day, for a current total of over 2000 sites.