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Semantisation and Spatialisation of Multi-Scale Heritage Artefacts: 3D annotation, sonification and formalisation of reasoning

The study of heritage artefacts is being challenged by our renewed capacity to produce masses of observations and to cross-reference large datasets. In the heritage sciences, where the ambition to explain general rules is being replaced by the objective analysis of specific histories, how can we translate this increase into a gain in meaning? While the introduction of data capture and analysis protocols with a strong impact on digital technologies clearly constitutes a form of methodological break, are we in a position to turn this break into an opportunity? There is a great risk of moving towards a form of digital collectionism that produces not understanding but dispersion, or even chaos.

The question is: how can we strengthen our ability to develop an overall understanding of the object observed (the spirit of synthesis*) in the face of the omnipresence of ‘digital’ instruments and formalisms? In response, the project aims to experiment with and share approaches to the semantic characterisation of artefacts (from archaeological fragments to buildings), and to formalise, for the purposes of reproducibility, the reasoning behind these facts, and in particular the inferences drawn from the transition from observed archaeological fact to reconstructed architectural fact.

The SESAMES project does not aim to provide a global answer, but rather to illustrate in practice, through a strategy of exemplification, how to better control the risks of dispersion* and volatility. It combines three priorities:

1. Carry out a multi-scale characterisation of built features in three dimensions (spatial, aural, ontological).
2. Renewing the way in which we can make connections and comparative readings,
3. Explain and highlight the methods of reasoning (experimentation on the observed > rendered passage) to ensure that the production of outputs is reproducible.

The SESAMES project proposes an original approach combining the collection and annotation of sound footprints and 3D content, visualisation and sonification (representations based on the perception of rhythm and covariant sound sequences through a change of scale), and the formalisation of inferences exemplified in the passage observed > rendered (i.e. passage of clues and data > information > interpretations > rendition). It should result in a series of protocols and exploratory developments:

– Capture protocols (spatial data, visual data, sound data)
– Correlation procedures (infovis analysis, sonification, perceptive restitution)
– Procedures for annotating 3D data and analysing situations where categorisation fails
– I.S. dedicated to formalising inferences, web deployment of data

Ultimately it should lead to a repository of corpus + models + methods, i.e. components shared by the project partners:

  • Corpus: annotated 3D corpus, spatial and sound capture protocols explained, informational motifs extracted from the spatial and sound capture protocols, sound corpus, set of ‘reasoned’ renditions (i.e. documented through a formal model of the activities mobilised in the passage observed > rendered).
  • Models: domain ontologies, acoustic fingerprint characterisation grid, comparative relevance/performance grid (infovis vs. sonification), model for describing activities and chains of activities related to the passage observed > rendered.
  • Methods: 3D data production/processing environment (application scenarios, best practices and limitations), visual/sound mapping of data and information, SI Test “formalization of inferences”, integration of data using ontologies, catalogue of sound and formal prints of buildings, including their perceptive evaluation protocol, in the form of a serious game.

Website :

Contact: Jean-Yves BLAISE

Partners : UMR Citeres-LAT, LIFAT-Université de Tours, UMR 3495 MAP, UMR 7061 PRISM

Founders : ANR CES38  La Révolution numérique : rapports aux savoirs et à la culture 2019-2022


I.Dudek, J.Y Blaise Diachrograms – a theoretical framework for the modelling and analysis of a heritage artefact’s diachronic evolution
Doc. ouvert ANR SESAMES

J.Y Blaise, I.Dudek, A.Pamart, L.Bergerot, A.Vidal, S.Fargeot, M.Aramaki, S.Ystad, R.Kronland-Martinet, Space & sound characterisation of small-scale architectural heritage: an interdisciplinary, lightweight workflow, International Conference on Metrology for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage 2020 , Trento, Italy

I.Dudek, J.Y Blaise Enabling the comparability of research workflows: a case study, CAA 2019 Computer applications and quantitative methods in archaeology, Krakow, Poland.

J.Y Blaise, I.Dudek, G.Saygi Proportions vs dimensions: shedding a different light on the analysis of 3D datasets, CAA 2019 Computer applications and quantitative methods in archaeology Krakow, Poland.

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A. Giacometti, B. Markhoff, A. Soulet : Comparison Table Generation from Knowledge Bases, Extended Semantic Web Conference (ESWC 2021), June 2021, Hersonissos, Greece.

A. Giacometti, B. Markhoff, A. Soulet : Découverte de cardinalités maximales significatives dans des bases de connaissances, Revue ouverte d’intelligence artificielle (, à paraître en 2021.

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