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Mapping Gerasa: a new and open data map of the site

New publication by Professor and Centre director Rubina Raja, Professor Achim Lichtenberger (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster) and David Stott (Unit of Archaeological Information Technology, Moesgaard Museum).

Lichtenberger, A., Raja, R., & Stott, D. (2019). Mapping Gerasa: a new and open data map of the site. Antiquity, 93:367, E7. doi:10.15184/aqy.2019.9.


A new and accurate map of the ancient city of Gerasa (modern-day Jerash in northern Jordan) was released 18 February under a Creative Commons license. Open access data has in previous years been a topic of discussion in the DNRF. In 2017, Rubina Raja contributed to the Foundation’s publication Open access to data – It’s not that simple, which took a leading role in the further debate on how to promote open data policy within Danish University settings.


The Danish-German Jerash Northwest Quarter Project, which is funded by the Danish National Research Foundation (grant number 119), the Carlsberg Foundation, H.P. Hjerl Hansens Mindefondet for Dansk Palæstinaforskning and the German Research Foundation, has been undertaking archaeological fieldwork in the northwest quarter of the archaeological site from 2011–2016. Based on historical (aerial) images combined with state-of-the-art multi-temporal aerial photography and modern airborne laser scanning (LiDar), the project successfully managed to uncover non-archaeological and archaeological features, revealing for example water management systems hitherto unknown. The directors of the project, Professor and Centre director Rubina Raja and Professor Achim Lichtenberger (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster), published these results in 2018 in Proceedings of a National Academy of Sceinces of the USA (Stott, D., Kristiansen, S.M., Lichtenberger, A. & Raja, R. (2018). Mapping an ancient city with a century of remotely sensed data, PNAS 115:24).


The results of combining existing historical photos with data from the aerial surveys made it evident that an updated map of Gerasa and its surroundings was needed. Based on the data acquired, the authors have created a new map that integrates the existing mapping into a common spatial framework. The map provides a more accurate spatial understanding of the city. In accordance with the international FAIR Guiding Principles for data management and data sharing, the map is released under a Creative Commons license, permitting re-use and reworking of the map as the understanding and knowledge about the city continues to evolve. This will prove immensely valuable to both archaeologists, cultural heritage workers and visitors of Gerasa.