Institute for Mediterranean Studies
Time Drilling Through the Past of the Island of Crete

Following the momentum of the Digital Archaeological Map of Lasithi, a dynamic archive of the archaeological sites of the island of Crete has been formed, constituting a central data warehouse to be used for information retrieval and the management of the cultural heritage of Crete. Being part of a much larger effort named ‘Digital Crete: Mediterranean Cultural Itineries’, the project was implemented under the framework of the Greek Operational Program of Information Society, following the e_Europe initiative of the European Union. The Digital Archaeological Atlas of Crete covers the time span from prehistory to the end of the Roman Period, while it also includes the main architectural monuments of the later periods. The location of the monuments was identified through a combination of systematic GPS fieldwork, analysis of ortho-rectified aerial photos and digitization of survey plans. Archaeological information was collected by published documents and was entered in a specially designed database. The latter allows communication with the cartographic infrastructure of the system, built on a GIS platform. In this way, archaeological features are projected on different thematic map clusters, which make possible the correlation of the archaeological sites along with their environmental, topographical, geological and statistical contexts. Customization of the GIS environment was necessary in order to produce a hierarchical time-usage sequence of the represented cultural monuments. Data extraction is offered through different media, such as an Infokiosk, the Web or a centralized digital documentation and management inventory unit, each having a different degree of sophistication. The gazetteer provides among others high resolution photographic material of monuments and sites, digitized plans of excavated sites, short video presentation of main excavators and researchers, fly-through capabilities over a 3D Landsat satellite surface of the island, etc.