Methodologies Applied to Archaeological Potential Predictivity - Francesca Anichini - ebook

The fruitful cooperation over the years between the university teaching staff of Univerità di Pisa (Pisa University), the officials of the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana (Superintendency for Archaeological Heritage of Tuscany), the officials of the Soprintendenza per i Beni Architettonici, Paesaggistici, Artistici ed Etnoantropologici per le Province di Pisa e Livorno (Superintendency for Architectural, Landscape and Ethno-anthropological Heritage for the Provinces of Pisa and Livorno), and the Comune di Pisa (Municipality of Pisa) has favoured a great deal of research on issues regarding archaeological heritage and the reconstruction of the environmental and landscape context in which Pisa has evolved throughout the centuries of its history. The desire to merge this remarkable know-how into an organic framework and, above all, to make it easily accessible, not only to the scientific community and professional categories involved, but to everyone, together with the wish to provide Pisa with a Map of archaeological potential (the research, protection and urban planning tool capable of converging the heritage protection needs of the remains of the past with the development requirements of the future) led to the development of the MAPPA project - Methodologies Applied to Archaeological Potential Predictivity, funded by Regione Toscana in 2010. The two-year project started on 1 July 2011 and will end on 30 June 2013. [An excerpt from the introduction of the book]

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Francesca Anichini, Fabio Fabiani, Gabriele Gattiglia, Maria Letizia Gualandi

Volume 1


Funding bodies:Regione Toscana (Region of Tuscany)Università di Pisa (Pisa University)

Implementing body:Università di Pisa (Pisa University)


Direzione Regionale per i Beni Culturali e Paesaggistici della Toscana (Regional Directorate for Cultural and Landscape Heritage of Tuscany)

Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana (Superintendency for Archaeological Heritage of Tuscany)

Soprintendenza per i Beni Architettonici Paesaggistici Artistici Storici ed Etnoantropologici per le province di Pisa e Livorno (Superintendency for Architectural, Landscape and Ethno-anthropological Heritage for the Provinces of Pisa and Livorno)

Comune di Pisa (Municipality of Pisa)


Aerofototeca Nazionale (National Aerial Photograph Archive)

Centro di documentazione aerofotografica “Marcello Cosci” (“Marcello Cosci” aerial photography documentation centre)

Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology)

Laboratorio di cultura Digitale - CISIAU Centro Interdipartimentale di Servizi Informatici per l’Area Umanistica (Digital Culture Laboratory - CISIAU Interdepartmental Centre of Information Services for the Humanities)

Research team:

Francesca Anichini

Dario Bini

Monica Bini

Nevio Dubbini

Fabio Fabiani

Gabriele Gattiglia

Serena Giacomelli

Maria Letizia Gualandi

Marta Pappalardo

Veronica Rossi

Giovanni Sarti

Sergio Steffè


Alessandro Amorosi

Marina Bisson

Lisa Josephine Brucciani

Mara Febraro

Massimiliano Grava

Valerio Noti

Emanuela Paribeni

Sandro Petri

Giorgio Franco Pocobelli

Cristina Ribecai

Adriano Ribolini

Irene Sammartino

Andrea Selmi

Fabiana Susini

Elvira Todaro


Federico Bertocchino

Antonio Campus

Lorenza La Rosa

Chiara Mannari

Francesco Rinaldi

Claudia Sciuto

Giulio Tarantino

WebGIS editor:

Valerio Noti

Compilers of the intervention records in the webGIS:

Francesca Anichini

Antonio Campus

Lorenza La Rosa

Claudia Sciuto

Giulio Tarantino

Texts by:

Stefano Anastasio [S. A.] (MiBAC - Direzione Regionale per i Beni Culturali e Paesaggistici della Toscana)

Luca Angeli [L. A.] (Consorzio LaMMA)

Francesca Anichini [F. A.]

Gabriele Berti [G. B.] (Comune di Pisa)

Monica Bini [M. B.]

Marco Capitani [M. C.]

Roberto Costantini [R. C.] (Consorzio LaMMA)

Fabio Fabiani [F. F.]

Gabriele Gattiglia [G. G.]

Serena Giacomelli [S. G.]

Maria Letizia Gualandi [M.L. G.]

Marco Masi [M. M.] (Regione Toscana - Area di Coordinamento Ricerca)

Valerio Noti [V. N.]

Marta Pappalardo [M. P.]

Anna Patera [A. P.] (MiBAC - Direzione Regionale per i Beni Culturali e Paesaggistici della Toscana)

Giorgio Franco Pocobelli [G.F. P.]

Veronica Rossi [V. R.]

Giovanni Sarti [G. S.]

English traslation:

Lisa Josephine Brucciani

Graphic design, coordinated image and cover:

Sandro Petri (PetriBros Grafica)

Copyright © 2012 Edizioni Nuova Cultura - Roma

ISBN: 9788861349834

DOI: 10.4458/8943

Questo libro viene distribuito con licenza CC BY 3.0



Maria Letizia Gualandi

Regional policies on research and innovation

Marco Masi

The value of knowledge. The contribution of MIBAC to the MAPPA project

Anna Patera, Stefano Anastasio

The MAPPA project: a new tool for gaining awareness of urban planning

Gabriele Berti

1. First phase of a work in progress

Maria Letizia Gualandi

2. Acquisition of archaeological documentation

Fabio Fabiani

3. Urban Archaeological Information System. Considerations and critical aspects

Francesca Anichini, Gabriele Gattiglia

4. The digital archiving structure

Fabio Fabiani, Gabriele Gattiglia

5. Some like it “webGIS”. Practical indications for conscious archaeological use

Francesca Anichini, Gabriele Gattiglia

6. The MAPPA project webGIS: system architecture and future scenarios

Valerio Noti

7. The Geographical Information System for the Cultural and Landscape Heritage of Tuscany

Roberto Costantini, Luca Angeli

8. Data analysis: archaeology without adjectives

Francesca Anichini

9. Aerial archaeology: new and old data

Monica Bini, Marco Capitani, Marta Pappalardo, Giorgio Franco Pocobelli




M. Letizia Gualandi

MAPPA Project Scientific Coordinator

The fruitful cooperation over the years between the university teaching staff of Univerità di Pisa (Pisa University), the officials of the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana (Superintendency for Archaeological Heritage of Tuscany), the officials of the Soprintendenza per i Beni Architettonici, Paesaggistici, Artistici ed Etnoantropologici per le Province di Pisa e Livorno (Superintendency for Architectural, Landscape and Ethno-anthropological Heritage for the Provinces of Pisa and Livorno), and the Comune di Pisa (Municipality of Pisa) has favoured a great deal of research on issues regarding archaeological heritage and the reconstruction of the environmental and landscape context in which Pisa has evolved throughout the centuries of its history. The desire to merge this remarkable know-how into an organic framework and, above all, to make it easily accessible, not only to the scientific community and professional categories involved, but to everyone, together with the wish to provide Pisa with a Map of archaeological potential (the research, protection and urban planning tool capable of converging the heritage protection needs of the remains of the past with the development requirements of the future) led to the development of the MAPPA project - Methodologies applied to archaeological potential predictivity, funded by Regione Toscana in 2010. The two-year project started on 1 July 2011 and will end on 30 June 2013.

The first year of research was dedicated to achieving the first objective, that is, to retrieving the results of archaeological investigations from the archives of Superintendencies and University and from the pages of scientific publications, and to making them easily accessible; these results have often never been published or have often been published incompletely and very slowly. For this reason, a webGIS (“MappaGIS” that may freely accessed at was created and will be followed by a MOD (Mappa Open Data archaeological archive), the first Italian archive of open archaeological data, in line with European directives regarding access to Public Administration data and recently implemented by the Italian government also (the beta version of the archive can be viewed at

Details are given in this first volume about the operational decisions that led to the creation of the webGIS: the software used, the system architecture, the organisation of information and its structuring into various information layers. But not only.

The creation of the webGIS also gave us the opportunity to focus on a series of considerations alongside the work carried out by the MAPPA Laboratory researchers. We took the decision to publish these considerations with a view to promoting debate within the scientific community and, more in general, within the professional categories involved (e.g. public administrators, university researchers, archaeology professionals). This allowed us to overcome the critical aspects that emerged, such as the need to update the archaeological excavation documentation and data archiving systems in order to adjust them to the new standards provided by IT development; most of all, the need for greater and more rapid spreading of information, without which research cannot truly progress. Indeed, it is by comparing and connecting new data in every possible and, at times, unexpected way that research can truly thrive.

Regional policieson research and innovation

Marco Masi (DOI: 10.4458/8219-01) Regione Toscana - Area di Coordinamento Ricerca

Tuscany offers a large variety of local development models in which districts formed of small and medium manufacturing enterprises alternate with tourist areas and urban systems featuring strong tertiary sector development as well as universities and international research networking centres.

The presence of widespread scientific and technological expertise in universities and public research centres (attaining international excellence in many disciplinary and application fields), as well as the presence of enterprises operating in high-quality traditional sectors and high-technology emerging clusters, provides the Region with the challenge to take on a proactive role in promoting effective interaction between institutional groups and in improving existing specialisation techniques.

Within this context, the valorisation of archaeological, artistic and cultural heritage is a major priority: alongside the major archaeological sites and museums that have made Tuscany famous worldwide and a centre of attraction for multitudes of visitors, the region is also filled with ‘minor’ centres and museums, considered so only because of their smaller size and not for the historical, artistic and cultural value of their collections.

Use of this ‘hidden’ cultural heritage is a strategic objective for achieving full awareness of our cultural identity and for building the memory of our history, which cannot be founded solely upon the most extraordinary works but must spread throughout the entire region and fully embrace its special characteristics.

At the same time, the challenge to find new strategic solutions leading to the coexistence between archaeological heritage and contemporary urban environments has become increasingly pressing. The synergistic interaction between past, present and future is even more urgent in times of economic crisis; aware planning is necessary to optimise resources and support ideas that create new development and employment opportunities. Knowledge of our cities’ buried history must be supported in order to plan new solutions that combine the development of the urban environment with sustainable cultural and economic choices.

Following the reform of Title V of the Constitution, both Regions and Local Bodies have been called to enhance a cultural heritage in respect of which they have no previous skills or specific professional expertise.

At the same time, the rapid development and diffusion of Information Technology has opened the door to new methods for using, enhancing and spreading cultural and archaeological heritage.

Furthermore, the creation of new digital innovation opportunities is one of the instruments to strengthen and manage new development models capable of creating new value for both supply and demand.

The MAPPA project provides a case study in which operating methods and new tools may be tested with the purpose of proposing a model (with specific operating procedures) which may be applied in other urban centres, both in Tuscany and nationwide.

The Region, also through these projects, intends to set up and further strengthen relations with research institutions and local government, with the aim to: enhance local areas, cultural heritage and educational and research facilities; implement actions to strengthen and develop infrastructures for the effective clustering of functions and services; and promote the creation of research networks as well as the development and strengthening of centres of expertise.

By sustaining the regional capacity to generate new knowledge and by connecting research to enterprises, it will be possible to stimulate the diffusion of new professional skills and technologies and, through these, support the modernisation of the regional productive system.

The enhancement of functions and skills, the systemisation of the results pursued, the creation of shared databases and the implementation of a regional network, providing a balance between research supply and demand, as well as between innovation and technological transfer, are key elements for the work agenda of the Regional Council, through the Regional Conference for Research and Innovation.

The AIR (Long-term Research and Innovation Guideline), one of the most significant fulfilments of Regional Law no. 20 of 2009 regarding “Research and innovation requirements”, presents the innovations introduced by the law and proposes a framework for regional, national and EU programming, emphasising the close link to research and innovation issues.

Focus is placed on creating or improving conditions to strengthen enterprises through the creation or inclusion of enterprises in networks oriented towards international markets, and the development of high quality services and technology.

This means improving the quality of education, strengthening research, fostering innovation and knowledge transfer, using information and communication technologies effectively and endeavouring to turn innovative ideas into new products and services, so as to stimulate growth, create good quality employment and take on the challenges of society.

The development of mechanisms to effectively transfer research results into entrepreneurial opportunities is a growing challenge since leading to a more accurate and oriented exploitation of public resources, the creation of entrepreneurial communities, and the creation or stabilising of new employment opportunities throughout the region, thus attracting talents from all over the world and encouraging the transformation of Tuscany into a network of smart cities.

University and research can and must have a key role in accompanying Tuscany along a new development path, not only by forming human capital and producing new knowledge but also by providing regional enterprises with knowledge useful for innovation and implementing new application solutions with them, with a view to developing a truly free and democratic knowledge-based society.

The value of knowledge. the contribution of MiBAC to the MAPPA project

Anna Patera, Stefano Anastasio (DOI: 10.4458/8219-02) MiBAC Direzione Regionale per i Beni Culturali e Paesaggistici della Toscana

The Republic promotes the development of culture and of scientific and technical research.

It protects the Nation’s landscape and its historical and artistic heritage.

These contents, referred to in Article 9 of the Constitution, constitute the founding introduction to the principles illustrated in the first part of the Code of Cultural Heritage and of Landscape (Italian Legislative Decree no. 42/2004 and subsequent amendments and integrations). The protection and enhancement of cultural heritage play an important and mutually supporting role, contributing both to preserving the memory of the national community and its territory, and to promoting the development of culture (Article 1(2)). In the subsequent definition of these activities, significant reference is made to knowledge, regarded as an essential prerequisite for implementing cultural protection and as a propelling force for enhancing cultural heritage.

According to the Code, protection consists in exercising functions and in guiding activities aimed at identifying (on the basis of an appropriate knowledge-based activity) cultural heritage and at guaranteeing its protection and preservation for purposes of public use (Article 3(1)); enhancement is carried out, instead, by exercising functions and by guiding activities aimed at promoting cultural heritage knowledge and ensuring the best conditions for the public use of heritage (Article 6(1)).

Knowledge and other strictly related aspects (cataloguing, inventories, recording, study, research) are widely referred to in other parts of the Code, for example in Article 118. This article represents a novelty for sector legislation, since it has widened the procedural instruments previously in force, with the intent to stimulate synergies and good practices with public and private subjects that may, on various grounds and on the basis of specific agreements to be entered into with the Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali - MiBAC (Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities), develop, promote and support research and studies regarding cultural heritage, and thus truly contribute to heritage protection and enhancement according to the well-known principle of subsidiarity.

Another important sector involving cooperation between MiBAC, the regions and Universities is the cataloguing of cultural heritage (Article 17). The field of application has notably increased thank to the development of new information technologies and includes territorial contexts.

The legislators of pre-unity Italy were aware of the importance of knowledge as a basis for protection. In the Pacca Edict, issued in 1820 under the Pontificate of Pius VII and considered to all effects the first organic law regarding protection, there is significant reference to the “exact description”, regarded as an important information datum for the protection of ancient monuments, fine arts and antiques.

In the years that followed the Unity of Italy, despite the well-known difficulties that limited cultural heritage protection measures by the young national government, after various unsuccessful legislative attempts, a ministerial commission was set up in 1906 appointed to draw up a new text, which would then result in the first Italian organic protection law: Law no. 364 of 1909 regarding “antiques and fine arts”.

These years saw the laying of the foundations of the administrative protection organisation achieved at the start of the XX century. Issue of Regulation no. 431/1904 confirmed the establishment of decentralized structures throughout the territory divided according to competences: monuments, excavations, museums, antiques, galleries and fine arts.

In over 100 years of territorial protection activity, the Superintendencies (peripheral bodies of the current MiBAC) have significantly contributed to developing – within the scope of the institutional duties assigned to them – knowledge of our cultural heritage, thus ensuring its preservation and promoting its enhancement.

The MAPPA project collects part of this precious knowledge.

An agreement signed on 29 July 2011 regulated the terms of cooperation between the Dipartimento di Scienze Archeologiche (Department of Archaeological Sciences) of Pisa University, the Comune di Pisa (Municipality of Pisa) and MiBAC, represented by its peripheral branches: the Direzione Regionale per i Beni Culturali e Paesaggistici della Toscana (Regional Directorate for Cultural and Landscape Heritage of Tuscany), which maintains contacts with the central ministerial structures, the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana (Superintendency for Archaeological Heritage of Tuscany) and the Soprintendenza per Beni Architettonici, Paesaggistici, Artistici, Storici ed Etnoantropologici per le province di Pisa e Livorno (Superintendency for Architectural, Landscape and Ethno-anthropological Heritage for the Provinces of Pisa and Livorno). The subscribers, together with the members of the Management Committee, are part of the Scientific Committee, established with the duty to consult, guide and monitor the progress of the project (information about the structure and competences of these Committees may be found on the project website:

The methodology adopted for the project activities is described in the following chapters: it is sufficient to remember, during this first phase, the information database upon which the general architecture of the project – aimed at developing a map of archaeological potential – has been developed.

The Superintendencies’ contribution was of major importance since they allowed the researchers involved in the project to access their archives and databases regarding excavations, finds, monuments and historical buildings, thus enabling the consultation and reproduction of all descriptive, drawn and photographic documentation.

These databases, together with those listed in the bibliography, allowed the creation of a general archive, for exclusive internal use of the project, and the creation of a database, which may be viewed on WebGis, aimed at the development of the archaeological map of the city of Pisa.

The data of these archives will allow a detailed analysis of the history of the city’s urban fabric, in order to devise the model of archaeological potential which will be addressed during the second project phase.

The records reserved for publication, which contain the minimum descriptive data relating to the single archaeological interventions catalogued, were processed according to indications provided by the Superintendencies in order to allow interoperability and information sharing with the MiBAC databases, especially SIGEC, the national system for the acquisition and integrated management of data pertaining to Italian cultural heritage, created by the Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo e la Documentazione - ICCD (Central Institute for Cataloguing and Documentation).

To make sure that the MAPPA project had the capacity to respond to the updating and implementation needs dictated by the continuous development of IT procedures and applications, minimum MODI specifications and requirements were taken into account. MODI is the Information Module created by ICCD and designed to allow acquisition of information regarding Italian cultural heritage according to procedures which, as indicated in the introduction to the experimental version 1.00 currently in use, are “…free from usual catalographic practices. This is basically a ‘lighter’ structure in regulatory terms than catalogue records, and is not associated with a national univocal code…, transversal to all types of cultural heritage (mobile, immobile, immaterial) and is in line with most updated ICCD regulations”.

The catalographic records of MAPPA have taken minimum MODI requirements into due account, thus allowing future integration of the data in the “Information Module” once this has been adopted and become fully operational following the current experimentation phase.

In the perspective of data “interoperability” and sharing between the various systems, in order to promote maximum diffusion and effective use of the information collected, the MAPPA project has focused on the National Geoportal structure, i.e. the infrastructure for national territorial information, established by Italian Legislative Decree no. 32 of 27 January 2010, on the basis of EU Directive 2007/2/CE “INSPIRE”.

In 2010, MiBAC signed an Agreement Protocol with the Ministry for the Environment and for Land and Sea Protection, which is the competent authority for management of the Geoportal, ensuring its participation in the project and its availability to produce mapping data that may be introduced in the Geoportal’s meta-data: even in this case, therefore, the MAPPA project envisages further possible integration thanks to an instrument destined to become a point of reference for mapping data online resources.

During this first phase, an information level was set up within the database to be published online, regarding the protective measures falling within the research area. The visualisation record includes the ID field and link to the Map of Restraints, which was created by Regione Toscana in strict collaboration with MiBAC and is a useful knowledge-based instrument allowing the search for cultural and landscape protection measures at regional level (please see the contribution by R. Costantini in this volume).

The information data provided by the MAPPA project are also a starting point for territorial planning and for the application of the set of rules and practices which belong to the current expression “preventive archaeology”. This type of intervention (which became Public Works Law in 2004 following introduction of Article 28(4) of the Code) makes it possible to intervene in advance for the protection of archaeological heritage which must be ascertained or brought to light in order to be fully known, unlike other types of cultural heritage whose evidence is ab origine.

These procedures improve safeguard actions by preventively intervening in risk areas in which protection authorities cannot fully apply the measures provided for by law since there are no ascertained archaeological emergencies.

The results of the MAPPA project research activities, consisting of a final IT and technological product, shall be fully available to MiBAC’s peripheral structures which shall be able to use them for its own institutional tasks.

The MAPPA project: a new tool for gaining awareness of urban planning

Gabriele Berti (DOI: 10.4458/8219-03) Comune di Pisa

The development of urban planning over the past two decades has overcome the pure and simple notion of “drawing a city”, typical of XX century manuals, and “equipping it with standards”, intended as public space (road systems, squares, parks, parking area and public services). The key focus has now moved to the environmental compatibility (broadly intended, not only in landscape-ecological terms) of transformation, foremost the preservation of non-reproducible sources.

The motivation at the basis of urban choices, therefore, depends not so much on the generally extensive planning concept of urban settlement but on the compatibility between such choices and the need to restrict the impact of certain components, such as territory (land consumption), quality of life (atmospheric and acoustic pollution, and social and economic consequences) and urban identity.

In the light of a phase of expansion which has affected cities throughout the XX century, more recent trends have proposed the “densification” of inhabited areas, thus overcoming the idea of independent neighbourhoods or agglomerates, each equipped with “standards”.

Choices must be based on the acquisition of a knowledge base that is fully exhaustive and organised so as to favour a comparative reading of all elements comprising it, ranging from social to economic, cultural, ecological and landscape elements, and including also more traditional dimensional, demographic and infrastructural aspects.

A thorough and well-organised knowledge base which favours the comparative reading of all its constituent elements – ranging from social to economic, cultural, ecological and landscape elements, and including also more traditional dimensional, demographic and infrastructural aspects – is indispensable as a basis for taking decisions.

Whilst getting ready to draw up a new Strategic Plan together with the other municipalities belonging to the Pisa area, the Municipality of Pisa is highly committed to forming a knowledge base that goes beyond the administrative borders and embraces the entire area as a whole, in terms of internal inter-dependence and autonomy with the surrounding territory, as confirmed by the first studies on mobility and social-demographic studies.

In order to achieve in-depth knowledge of the local area, the MAPPA project, albeit its undeniable intrinsic cultural value, is a key element of the Knowledge Base upon which the new Strategic Plan will be founded, which until now has only been represented, in an uncritical, approximate and insufficient manner, by the implementation of a system of constraints.

The knowledge of our underground heritage will be of great importance when making urban choices, especially within processes aimed at managing urban concentration without new land use. The aim is both to preserve significant areas and valuable finds for future studies and to transform what is today seen as a “risk” into “potential”, so that, if previously acknowledged, will not be regarded as an unexpected incident by construction workers (with all possible negative consequences) but will become an assessable item, also in economic terms, and may be included in the general costs and represent a possible added value for the intervention.

1. First phase of a work in progress

Maria Letizia Gualandi (DOI: 10.4458/8219-04)

1.1 The project

Like many other Italian cities, Pisa is a settlement that goes well back into history. Its subsurface conceals the remains of buildings, tombs and roads, as well as the fragments of tiles, vases, lamps and sculptures: briefly, the layered traces of the lives of the people who have inhabited the city over its almost three thousand years of history. Pollen, coal, animal remains, may also be found, as well as the traces of ancient marshes, cultivated lands, water courses and coastal dunes: i.e., the signs of the landscape, or rather the landscapes that have evolved over time and have influenced the city’s economic and cultural development, and in turn have been influenced by them. The ground on which we walk, build and live today is an extraordinary palimpsest where uncountable traces that have been left by our predecessors evolve, merge and are concealed. Since these traces lie under ground, they need to come to terms with the vitally important needs of the city’s life and development: safeguarding archaeological heritage does not mean fighting development but proposing sustainable management models within a framework of sustainability and respect for past and present needs.

In Pisa, two different rulings1 define the boundaries of an area – corresponding to the area of the city inside the walls and to an external portion to the north and to the west – which has been declared of ‘important archaeological interest’ given that a high amount of archaeological discoveries relating to the Etruscan, Roman, Medieval and Post-Medieval city have been discovered over the past years. Since the finds were mainly fortuitous before the rulings, protection was governed by randomness rather than by targeted studies, with a view to analysing the development of the Pisa urban and peri-urban fabric throughout the centuries. There can be no denying that after the rulings were issued, the number of archaeological investigations (and finds) increased in the protected areas, whereas knowledge outside this area (i.e. in the areas to the east and to the south of the city walls) did not make any significant progress. The reason for this situation is that all public and private construction projects falling within the ‘ruling’ area must be submitted by the Municipality to the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici (Superintendency for Archaeological Heritage of Tuscany) for approval. The Superintendency may order various types of interventions – ranging from diagnostic surveys (geophysical prospecting and cores) to archaeological excavations – or request the presence of an archaeologist at the building site. The archaeologist has the authority to stop the construction works and carry out archaeological excavations if any remains are found. All related costs – in terms of time and money – are borne by the contractor and their extent is difficult to envisage. This usually leads to delays, additional costs and closing of sites, leaving contractors with no other option but to keep archaeology as far away as possible from their sites. In the areas that are not included in the rulings, instead, the Superintendency only intervenes for public works: a ‘voluntary’ and occasional reporting system is used for private works, which naturally explains the lack of finds (or news about finds?). The paradox of this situation is that we know more about the well-known and protected areas, and less about the areas of which we have little or no information. To overcome this paradox and extend current legislation regarding public interventions to private interventions also, it would be sufficient to apply the “European convention for the protection of archaeological heritage’ (La Valletta, 16 January 1992). The convention was signed by the Italian Government but has still not been ratified after twenty years, unlike all other European countries.

In a search for new solutions capable of effectively combining protection needs with urban planning and research requirements, a working group with different skills and aims was set up several years ago composed of the representatives of three institutions dealing with the buried heritage of Pisa: Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici (Superintendency for Archaeological Heritage), Comune di Pisa (Municipality of Pisa) and Pisa University. Their aim was to combine their efforts into a common project capable of projecting Pisa archaeology into the future and into what is called (by analogy to software development and, more specifically, to ‘web 2.0’2) Archaeology 2.03. This is how the idea to develop the map of archaeological potential of Pisa came about, especially the idea to use the Pisa area – i.e. a small-sized city but with a multi-layered past, as many other Italian cities – as a case study to implement a mathematical instrument capable of calculating its archaeological potential.

The map of archaeological potential is an instrument that turns buried remains into a source of wealth for the territory, not into a brake on development, which in turn can move from being an impending danger to ancient archaeological evidence to representing an extraordinary opportunity for knowledge. From a conceptual viewpoint, the map represents the evolution of traditional archaeological maps which are widely used because they provide synoptic frameworks of knowledge acquired from an urban or rural area, broken down by historical phases or according to specific topics. Archaeological maps, however, are of little aid to the study, protection and planning of areas about which we have no information. These areas (when speaking of cities) usually correspond to the peri-urban areas where there is a greater need to intervene for the construction of new neighbourhoods and infrastructures. The map of archaeological potential overcomes this limitation. It uses archaeological data as a basis, but integrates them with geological and geomorphological data, as well as with data from the analysis of vegetable and animal remains, maps and ancient registers, toponymy and the study of historical building components. This huge amount of documentary evidence provides a picture of the evolution of the urban and rural landscape over time and allows the archaeological finds to be situated in a much more detailed cognitive context. By ‘projecting’ information, through the use of statistical and mathematical processing, on areas for which there are no existing data today, the map of archaeological potential makes assumptions on the greater or lower chance of human presence in these areas and even on the type of presence (house, necropolis, production area, farming area…), with a degree of approximation that varies according to the quantity and quality of data available.

The map of archaeological potential is a predictive map that does not simply ‘photograph’ the existing situation (as in the case of archaeological maps), but uses it to hypothetically, but not arbitrarily, create new knowledge which gains greater detail after every new find. The benefits of using such an instrument for protection and planning activities are evident: urban and building decisions may be planned in a more informed manner, minimising the number of emergency archaeological investigations. The latter are detrimental to both the archaeological remains, which are often excavated hastily in the presence of diggers and cement castings, and the works to be performed, which are often delayed and need to be modified. That ‘prevention is better than cure’ is also confirmed in this field by the approval of the regulations regarding the preventive assessment of archaeological interest4, according to which Archaeological Interest Evaluations (VIArch) are crucial for directing the operational decisions taken for large public works involving construction or environmental transformation activities.

In agreement with the Direzione Regionale per i Beni Culturali e Paesaggistici della Toscana (Regional Directorate for Cultural and Landscape Heritage of Tuscany), Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici (Superintendency for Archaeological Heritage) and Comune di Pisa (Municipality of Pisa), a project took shape in the laboratories of Pisa University (ANICHINIet alii 2011) called MAPPA. Methodologies Applied to the Predictivity of Archaeological Potential: the map of the Pisa urban area, which was funded by Regione Toscana5 in 2010. The two-year activities started on 1 July 2011 and will end on 30 June 2013.

1.2 The archaeological information layer

As already mentioned, the starting point for the creation of the map of archaeological potential is an updated and well-organised data archive. During the first project year, therefore, the research group focused on:

Creating the digital archive (see § 4.1),

Collecting documentation related to the archaeological interventions carried out in Pisa up to this day, regardless of their importance, ranging from deep excavations to the smallest road trench (see § 2)

Implementing and georeferencing the data (see § 4.2),

Developing a webGIS: we believed that having a GIS at the start of the project for online management purposes was the best solution to ensure maximum communication and sharing of information (see § 5 and 6).

The decision not to use the traditional term ‘archaeological map’ for the project results was intentional, mainly because this definition implies the idea of a ‘finished’ and independent product that has come to an end (see § 3). Instead, the archive of archaeological information of the MAPPA Project may be updated at any time and is simply the first step of our work, not the finishing point. Further information layers will be added to it, which will contribute to creating the database needed to calculate the archaeological potential. For this reason, we prefer speaking of an ‘archaeological information layer’, which clearly explains the role of the archaeological data archive within the overall architecture of the MAPPA project. The pillar upon which the entire project is founded is the clear distinction, within different information layers that may be continuously updated, between ‘objective’ data (that is, data arising from the ground and called ‘archaeographic’ in archaeological language) and the assumptions made on the basis of these data, i.e., the ‘archaeological’ interpretation which includes the evaluation of archaeological potential. Archaeographic data, once collected, cannot be modified (an excavation cannot be repeated like a laboratory test, since it would destruct archaeological stratification) and can only increase in number after new investigations; data interpretation, instead, may vary as a result of new discoveries, experts’ different skills and expertise, and review of information in studies with different objectives and level of detail. Archaeology is a discipline that always refers back to its data: the epistemological model upon which research is based – the circumstantial paradigm – only allows more or less probable assumptions to be made. These assumptions may become stronger or weaker at each new discovery but can always be reconsidered, starting from the data upon which they were made. In other words, whereas data never grow old in archaeology because they are unique, unrepeatable and can never be rendered obsolete by other data, this is not so for the interpretative assumptions made from them (unless they become relevant again in the light of new finds). Consequently, the archaeographic data resulting from investigations, which may be called ‘raw data’, are the real and only ‘source code’ of archaeology and, as such, must be easy to access and check whenever necessary, without any sort of interpretative filter.

Archaeological discoveries are fast-evolving far and wide, however, underground investigations (even simply for laying piping or cables) are growing at such a rapid rate in busy urban environments that paper maps quickly become obsolete and cannot be updated. For this reason, we decided not to include any mapping images in this volume but to refer to virtual and dynamic Web documentation.

1.3. Archaeological documentation

The archaeological documentation was collected and archived over many months of work. A number of critical issues arose which are explained in detail in the contributions of this volume, together with the solutions adopted to overcome them (see § 2). The purpose of this attentive examination was not to ‘play it safe’ in view of criticism and comments (unavoidable whenever operational decisions are taken) nor to trigger useless polemics, but rather to start a debate among archaeologists on the urgent need for the reform of procedures and the definition of qualitative standards, which must involve all parties involved in the archaeological sector: from the officials of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage to university teachers and representatives of professional categories – cooperatives, firms, service companies and freelancers – which have become an established reality in the archaeological field.

Archaeological data can be retrieved from excavation documentation, principally containing what has been defined as ‘raw data’, and from printed publications, from which ‘interpreted data’ may be mainly drawn. Logically, there should be correspondence between the two types of documentation; specifically, the excavation documentation (‘raw data’) preserved in the Superintendency’s archives should contain an interpretative summary of the published documentation and, conversely, the original excavation documentation of the latter should be available in the archive. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. The results of many investigations (the majority, according to GATTIGLIA 2009: 51) are never published: they are often – although not always – rescue investigations with limited scope (narrow trenches for checking underground piping, cores for analysing building plots, small excavations for the laying of manholes…), which sometimes provide fragmentary and apparently inexplicable data, but upon which light is shed when compared with other data. In contrast, many publications contain often brilliant but extremely brief interpretations and summaries based on the ‘raw data’ of investigations of which there is no existing documentation in the archives, and so cannot be re-examined. The reason for this is that the person carrying out the investigation often delivers the documentation to the Superintendency only when the results of his/her research have been published, with a view to protecting their authenticity. The problem is that there is a mistaken belief that the publication of articles and monographs makes ‘raw data’ obsolete, which often never reach the Superintendency’s archives. This rather diffused habit of not delivering documentation is based on a misunderstood principle of ‘intellectual property’ (quite different from ‘authorship’), which although understandable to a certain extent, is certainly not justifiable. Moreover, this practice leads to a third situation, certainly more harmful from the point of view of knowledge and protection of archaeological heritage: cases in which no type of documentation is available, neither ‘raw data’ nor a publication containing even a brief interpretation. These are usually wide-scope investigations (there is little interest in publishing data about a small trench) which years and sometimes decades after their conclusion, have still not been published. The executors stubbornly claim that the data are ‘still being studied’ and that they have the ‘right’ to keep the documentation to themselves; in actual fact, they are subtracting precious information sine die to the scientific and general communities, in the majority of cases produced thanks to the use of public funding. Furthermore, such a disproportionately long period of ‘study’ could lead to the risk of losing the documentation for many possible reasons and, in this case, the results of entire excavation campaigns would disappear forever.

This is an important issue and opens the path to a debate on the accessibility and spreading of information – or, better, on open data archive – which has affected a wide range of public sectors over recent years. Urgent action needs to be taken in archaeology, where the circulation of information and the transparency of data analysis processes have an immediate impact on the effectiveness of archaeological protection heritage activities (how can a VIArch possibly be drawn up without updated data?) and on a territorial planning model respectful of buried archaeological heritage. But there is more than this. Pulling out information from archives, research laboratories and private firms, bringing knowledge of the heritage below our feet to the community and sharing its importance with citizens is of strategic importance for raising collective awareness of the need to preserve the traces of the past for future generations: this is the best guarantee for their protection.

The MAPPA project effectively contributes to this debate by creating the first archaeological open data archive (MOD - MAPPA Open Data) and promoting dialogue between experts of different disciplinary fields – archaeologist, historians, philosophers, and communication experts6. A central issue is the need to safeguard the expectations of the archaeologists who ‘produce’ the raw data with their own (hard) fieldwork and legitimately expect the ‘authorship’ (not the ‘property’) of the data to be acknowledged to them. A deadline could be defined, for example, by which a sort of pre-emption right could be exercised, based on the publication of the data. This deadline, however, must be reasonable: research that is still ‘due to be published’ (and, as such, subtracted from the community) after twenty years from its conclusion is unacceptable. Although researchers have the right to an appropriate period of time for studying and publishing the results of their work, it is essential for ‘all’ the documentation to be handed over to the Supertintendency when the fieldwork is over. After checking the documentation, the Superintendency should make it immediately available through open data policies, thus assigning authorship to the person who has produced it. To do this, it could use the web, an extraordinary instrument for providing rapid and low-cost dissemination of information and ensuring copyright protection: it is sufficient to assign a DOI (Digital Object Identifier: to the data, which protects their intellectual authorship, as in the case of the ISBN (International Standard Book Number) for printed publications. Researchers would immediately see the results of their work ‘published’ in their name, without losing the right to study them more deeply and publish more comprehensive results in the future.