Marina De Franceschini
Authorship: each country has its own team taking care of the publication of data
Italy: collaboration between AIAC (Associazione Internazionale di Archeologia Classica) and ICCD (Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo e la Documentazione).
Romania: Institut de Memorie Culturala Bucaresti
Bulgaria: Department of Archaeology, Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski
Macedonia: Institute of Archaeology, University of Skopje
Malta: Heritage Malta and Superintendency for Archaeology
Site Host: the site is part of the AIAC site (http://www.aiac.org/) which is the Associazione Internazionale di Archeologia Classica (International Association of Classical Archaeology) The catalogue entry of each site is written by the director or the person responsible for the excavation.
Other information: (available in the about us link of the site) FastiOnline is the heir of the old Italian periodical Fasti Archeologici, which discontinued publication in 1988 due to printing costs and publication delays, that were making data obsolete long before they were printed on paper. Now, with the support of the Packard Humanities Institute (PHI), the site gives brief information on current excavations in a more timely manner. Directors of the excavations are encouraged to publish more detailed articles in the on-line review section and also to give links to projects' web sites.
Function: FastiOnline, according to the about us section, is a web-based GIS database on ongoing excavations, starting from year 2000. But the connection between map and text is not immediate, so GIS is not the core of the system. Language. English for the catalogue entries or record sheets; reports in the Fold&r section can be in English, Italian or Spanish; the choice is the author's. (Fold&r is the acronym from the initials of Fasti Online Documents & Research.)
Site maintenance: Elizabeth Fentress (elizabeth.fentress @ gmail.com) is responsible for the site and also for choosing new archaeological sites to publish. The updating of information about each site is left to the excavation directors and authors of the catalogue entries. Helga Di Giuseppe (helga.digiuseppe @ aiac:org is responsible for choosing and editing the Fold&r reports on excavations, which can be both preliminary and final.
Editorial Board: (button within the Fold&r section) listing the names of the editorial board members: Olof Brandt, Helga Di Giuseppe, Xavier Dupré Raventos, Maria Antonietta Fugazzola, Paolo Liverani, Archer Martin, Riccardo Santangeli Valenzani, Maria Rita Sanzi Di Mino, Stéphane Verger, Andrew Wallace Hadrill; Copy Editor: Crispin Goulet.
Peer Review: Since the directors of the excavations are responsible for the entries submitted, the updating of the information is left to the judgment of each director. The 'about us' Fold&r section states that "Fold&r is a peer-review journal containing reports, both preliminary and final, on excavation in Italy from 2000 onwards. The on-line review follows the same rules as printed journals, both from the academic and the juridical point of view. Articles can include specialist reports on individual aspects of the site. The texts are published in pdf format, and can be consulted on line using Acrobat Reader and downloaded for printing."
Contact Us: list of the names of the project managers in charge for each country, which provides also the download of the catalogue entries or record sheets and notes on compilation.
Searches available: if you click on the map of Italy, you reach a second page, where three types of search are available:
1. search on the map with red dots
2. search by categories (2.1) or by place names (2.2)
3. search on Fold&r (reports on sites)
1: Search on the map
You have to use a magnifying glass icon to select the area of your interest. Then you should press the question mark button and select a single red dot marking an archaeological site to get the information you need.
Comment to 1: It takes a certain amount of time to reach the exact spot that you require. Since for many sites (marked with red dots on the general map) there is no information available, pressing the question mark sometimes leads you to a blank map, and all stops. This happens for several sites around Rome, such as Campetti or Torre Serpentara. It would be useful to send out a "no information available" message.
2.1: Search by category
You can choose several options, such as Region, Periods, Specific Monument Type, Excavation Status. After selecting one or more options, you can submit your query.
Search by category is active just for Italy -- and not in all regions.
Then you get a general list of the available data, for example a list of 'villa sites currently excavated in the Italian region of Latium.' Each site has a brief entry, listing site name, location, region, year of the excavation and some notes about it. Clicking on one of these, you get to the individual catalogue entry or record sheet which is the core of the FastiOnline.
Each entry lists the following data items:
Site name, location, Comune, Province, Region and Country (i.e., geographical coordinates of a site)
Type of monument (for example, villa)
Period: date of the site (for example, pre-Roman and Roman). On the bottom of the page red dots outline the chronology of the site, graphically showing that it was active for example in the VII-VI centuries B.C.E. and again in later times, from the IV century B.C.E. to the II century C.E.
Season: shows the beginning of a brief summary about the excavation. Clicking on it, you reach the complete text of the summary where you can also find the name of the excavating team members.
Research Institution: lists the Institutions that are in charge of the excavation, including the supervising Soprintendenze in the case of Italy
Funding body: institutions supporting or financing the excavations
Director: name of the director of the excavation
Status: status of the excavation (current, concluded)
Bibliography: just titles concerning the current excavation, no bibliography concerning previous work on the site.
2.2 Search by site name
You have three options: site name, location and keyword. The response to the query takes you to the same catalogue entries as the search by category choice.
This kind of search is active also for Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania and Malta: you can see the names of the sites on the enlarged map, then you write the name of the query and get to the usual catalogue entry 2.1.
Comment to 2.1 and 2.2: The search by name or category is the most useful part of the site because it gives essential information about an excavation and, most of all, about the people in charge of it. So one can ask for information from the right people directly involved in the research.
The quality and amount of information submitted in each catalogue entry is a free choice of the director of the excavation. He/She is encouraged to publish articles in the on-line journal Fasti documents and Research, accessed via the Fold&r button on top of the page, but right now in this folder there is the same information as in the catalogue entries.
Catalogue entries are simple and easy to use. The problem is updating. Information generally dates from 2004, but an on-line database should be updated at least to mid-2005.
3. Search on Fold&r
When you click on the Fold&r button you get to a general index of the most recent reports on excavations, and there are also other options available.
One is editorial board button, with the names of the editorial board in charge
The others are the 2004 index, 2005 index, and 2006 index buttons, leading to a printable pdf document and also back to the individual catalogue entry or record sheet, clicking on the name of the site.
Comment on 3. This section is useful because it gives immediate access to the reports on the single excavations, and thus to more detailed information about them, compared to the catalogue entries. Right now this section is limited to excavations in Italy starting from year 2000.
The map search should be redesigned, making searchable only the red dots for which there is available information, otherwise a "no information available" message should come out.
The category or name search is well organized, easy to use and very useful. It gives the essential data on excavations and the names of the people who are in charge of it: including an email address to get in touch with them would be a good idea.
The red dots for chronology are useful and immediately understood.
The limit of the site is that, being an on-line catalogue, it is not updated as often as one would wish. Information generally dates from 2004 or before; something better should be done, giving at least information up to mid-2005.
Resumés of the excavations and their results are not as detailed as one would like. But this is understandable, it depends mostly on the fact that it takes a long time to understand the chronological sequences of a site, to catalogue the finds, and to process the data coming from a new excavation. But it is important to be able to follow the development of a project throughout the years, updating the site entries with recent news.
The site is useful as a starting point for research on recent excavations. It does not pretend to give exhaustive information. To do so, links to more detailed websites on the excavation projects could also be provided, as is stated in the goals of this website, together with links to previous bibliography. And updating of old catalogue entries should be pursued. It is also important to encourage the publication reports and their updating in the Fold&r section, so that one can constantly follow the results of the excavations and the progress in the interpretation and undertanding of data.
The site is being developed, so the information it provides is not always consistent. A great amount of information is available for some Italian regions, none at all for other ones (Liguria is not listed). For example, if you search "Roman villa excavations in Campania," which you would expect to give plenty of names and sites, you get no information at all -- and this is a pity, since many excavations of this kind are currently going on. This means that excavation directors are, for some reason, failing to take advantage of a very helpful program.
Since they are active in the project, the Soprintendenze should perhaps encourage more excavation teams to give information on what they are doing. It is important to have notice that an excavation is going on.
The most complete part of the site is about Italy. Work is in progress for the other countries outlined in blue in the general map: Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania and Malta. For them, just the "search by name" option (2.2) is available. The names can be found by enlarging general the map.
-- Marina De Franceschini
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