New Prato:
Innovation insight

Paola Ronzino

Paola Ronzino is an expert researcher in technologies applied to cultural heritage.
For work she has visited more than 20 countries. She lived and studied in Portugal, in Israel, winner of a Marie Curie (the scholarship in memory of the Nobel Prize in physics, reserved for the most promising European researchers) and worked in Cyprus, where she also obtained her doctorate .
In Prato since 2013, with the team of the Vast-Lab Laboratory, under the precious guidance of Prof. Niccolucci, she's working on a unique project: a free portal that contains archeological data from all over the world.
Here's what she told us:

My name is Paola, I am a researcher and mother of a 2 and a half year old girl, Viola. My passion for monuments and relief was born from a very young age. I imagined myself among the excavations, in the dust to find ancient objects and fragments. As a child, I certainly could not imagine how far technological evolution would help and take us far.
I have had the good fortune, in the last 15 years, to experience all these changes: from hand-drawn surveys to those acquired with the laser scanner; from the immense effort in the search for archaeological documentation in the archives, to the online portal that I helped create.

Tell us more about this project.
We have created ARIADNE: a large portal for archaeological research. The target? Make the data available to everyone, free of charge. Now an archaeologist, anywhere in the world, can connect to the site and search, just as he/she would on Google, for what he/she needs. You can do it by keyword, by map or by historical period.

Wow, how did you do it?
It was not easy. We have integrated over 2 million archaeological data by creating a network of 41 European countries including 4 international partners (Japan, Argentina, Israel, USA) who support us and contribute to the project. For over 7 years we have been working in Ariadne.

It really seems like an epochal change for those who do archaeological research.
It's a nice support indeed. Consider that once, finding the sources or reports that described the activities of an excavation was really complex at a logistical level: the documentation was found in the offices of the various superintendencies, perhaps not cataloged uniformly. Not to mention the linguistic problems.
Not only that, with ARIADNE we have helped to create a common standard and a formal organization of data by referring to sector ontologies. The PIN in particular has helped to create a tool for the semantic organization of information so that it is possible to communicate it with data from all other countries.