SNSF Early Postdoc.Mobility fellowship awarded to Edgar Roman-Rangel

Edgar Roman-Rangel (former PhD student at the Social Computing Group at Idiap and EPFL, and currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Geneva) has been awarded a SNSF Early Postdoc.Mobility fellowship. His project, on the area of computational archaeology, is entitled "Tepalcatl: Automatic Categorization of Potsherds". The project starts on April 1, 2014 and will be conducted at Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).

Tepalcatl is the word for shard in Nahuatl, the language spoken by the Aztecs and other pre-Columbian civilizations that flourished in the central and south regions of Mexico. The Tepalcatl project will investigate the potential of methods for clustering and classification to automatically categorize ancient potsherds.

The project has two technical objectives: investigating the use of statistical methods for accurate description of the surface of potsherds; and developing efficient clustering and classification methods for image collections with historical value. The project will ultimately provide tools to assist archaeologists in the categorization of potsherds. The importance of the project lays upon the fact that potsherds are the most studied materials in excavation sites, as they provide relevant knowledge regarding the cultural and historical context for a given site. Their categorization is thus an important challenge that requires efficient tools that can be used in situ. Tepalcatl is a bi-disciplinary effort towards realizing the potential that computer science methods have to provide tools that satisfy archaeological needs.