HiGeoMes - The Historical Geography of Upper Mesopotamia in the 2nd millennium BC. Chr.

Higeomes i3mainz, CC BY SA 4.0

The bilateral research project HiGeoMes aims to integrate information on places mentioned in Babylonian and Assyrian texts with archaeological sites. The linking of documented settlements with place names from written sources is intended to provide a better understanding of political, social and environmental developments in Upper Mesopotamia in the 2nd millennium BC. BC. The three-year project is funded by the French ANR and the German DFG.


The importance of Upper Mesopotamia for the history of the Near East is decisively shaped by its geostrategic situation and a favourable variety of natural conditions. These concrete conditions have shaped the history of the socio-economic use and political penetration of this space. The last decades have brought an enormous increase in archaeological and epigraphic materials as well as natural scientific data, which now make it possible to put historical-geographical knowledge on a new basis. The aim of the project is to combine these heterogeneous primary research data in an integrated evaluation using the example of the 2nd century BC.


In order to facilitate the exchange of data among the project partners and to provide other scientists with interoperable access to the collected data, a service-oriented infrastructure was built at i3mainz. This was implemented in an OGC-compliant manner using the open source components PostgreSQL/PostGIS and GeoServer, as well as the libraries OpenLayers and GeoExt.

To manage the archaeological site data collected in Mainz, a subject-specific database model was developed in close cooperation with the partner at the University of Mainz. A selection of these data is accessible via a Web Feature Service (WFS). In addition, a baselayer of SRTM data, as well as Corona satellite images and Russian maps are made available via interfaces (WMS/WMTS).

While the research and administration of archaeological data takes place in Mainz, epigraphic sources are indexed and analysed by the other project partners. Part of the Parisian text data from the so-called Mari archives, which contain relationships between sites, was semantically modelled by the cooperation partners at the Université de Bourgogne. These can be queried by a web service developed at i3mainz, which enables the display of the site relationships in a visualisation tool integrated into the web GIS.


The data accumulated in Mainz is now made available via OGC-compliant services and can thus be used very easily by cooperation partners and external scientists. The developed web GIS integrates the various services of the project and is available to scientists for visualising and analysing the archaeological and epigraphic data. This provides the basis for a knowledge-based evaluation of the geographical information on Upper Mesopotamia in the 2nd millennium BC. BC.