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NESPOS is the centralized object database of the Neanderthal Museum and is administrated by the NESPOS Society e.V. based in Mettmann.
NESPOS is an open source platform containing digital information and data about Pleistocene archaeology. The database comprises 3D objects, photographs, text documents, data sets and publications which are organized according to their geo-referenced sites. Backups of all digital objects are made at the collocation centre of the University of Cologne. A wiki-based content-management system guarantees worldwide availability. With regard to the necessities of the curators, flexible access rights control the proper handling of the digital data.
To enlarge the database and as a service for interested parties the Neanderthal Museum offers the possibility to digitalize 3D objects (CT scans and surface scans).
In the following, we will provide you with the basic skills needed to find the information and data you are searching for.
(Public space) information in NESPOS is organized within a hierarchic structure of parent and child pages. A parent and all its children comprise a page family. One such family is e.g. a specific archaeological site ("Site XY"). For this site different kinds of information are available: i.e. general stratigraphic data, absolute chronological data, archaeological material, bibliographic references etc. All these kinds of supplementary information are children pages of the parent page "SiteXY". The different children pages of a parent page can be depicted in the linked files and pages section on the right.
Sites + Data
The sites are structured according to their location on the three continents Africa, Asia, and Europe, and the country they belong to with each parent page of a site presenting some basic information. From this basic information page more detailed information is accessible in a hierarchic structure. First, the basic information contains general information such as site name, site type, first description, discovery date and a short chronological abstract. In addition to that, the location is described in detail comprising e.g. site coordinates and a small map marking the site. On the right, linked files and pages, additional content and pictures can be seen. The linked files and pages section shows other files such as multimedia files (e.g. pdfs) concerned with the referred site or allows for bibliographic information with the "bibliography" page. Among the linked files and pages the index is especially important as it gives an overview of pages and data available.
2.1) Archaeological Data
Information about archaeological remains such as lithic or organic artefacts of specific sites can be easiest found via the general stratigraphy tab among the index. You then are e.g. able to choose a specific layer of which you need more detailed information such as technological and typological features of the lithic assemblage, and tables or pictures of the (lithic and/ or organic) artefacts. Moreover, for some sites absolute dates are available which also can be navigated via the general stratigraphy page.
2.2) Cave art: the Wendel Collection
Besides palaeoanthropological (3D) data, a unique characteristic of NESPOS is the so-called
. It probably represents the world's largest photo collection containing about 3000 pictures of Franco-Cantabrian cave art from more than 50 prehistoric cave sites. As a famous stage designer Heinrich Wendel, driven by his artistic interests, travelled the Franco-Cantabrian region several times between 1964 and 1970, in search of inspiration from prehistoric cave art. He also took pictures in the non-public areas of the caves. More than 20 years after Heinrich Wendel's death this photo library was endowed to the Neanderthal Museum for scientific revision and conservation. The pictures of the different caves can be found by choosing the site you are interested in and then follow the collection item: Wendel collection among the linked files and pages section on the right.
A unique characteristic of NESPOS is the large set of digitalized anthropological remains. According to your
you have access to different kinds of 3D data such as surface scans/STL models, CT and microCT scans or 6 face models. Data are sorted according to the different hominid species: anatomically modern humans, Neanderthals, Homo erectus, Homo heidelbergensis, and Australopithecus and then accessible via a hierarchical structure as described above: Continent (Africa, Asia, and Europe) - Country - Site. After having chosen the species and the country you are interested in you get a list with the palaeoanthropological sites and the specimen of which data are available in NESPOS. The list includes different kinds of information:
you are redirected to the general information page of the site, if available
via a click you are redirected to a page containing general information about the relevant specimen
anatomical description of the specimen
The three following tabs include links to the different kinds of digitalized data available:
6 Faces model
CTscan or microCTscan
A click on one 3D data model redirects you to the page containing some general information about the specimen on the left, linked pages on the right and the attached data files which appear at the bottom.
3.1) 3D data processing
For a first visualization and some basic working processes you may download the two open source 3D viewers Meshlab (
see external Tutorial
) and Optoview (see tab "Service"). For a more detailed processing of the data we offer the
which can be downloaded from our homepage. Two user manuals, one short and one detailed, are also available in the "Support" section.
Apart from the palaeoanthropological data modern reference data are available. The reference data contains information about Hominoidea, Ceboidea, Cercopithecoidea, Lemuroidea, and Lorioidea. Due to cooperation with the Primate Research Institute of the Kyoto University for some species 3D data are available.
(only accessible when you are a license holder)
My NESPOS offers the possibility to create your own spaces in order to store and share your research data. It is up to you whom you allow access to your space(s) and which data you make accessible.
This part of the NESPOS database allows searching the public bibliography space for bibliographical information of selected publications. You may either use the free text search or chose from the author list organized in alphabetical order. Only as a NESPOS member you can download selected PDF files of articles.
There are different types of search functions in NESPOS. You may either use the simple search, the timeslice search or the advanced search. For the simple search you may use either the field on the front page above the navigation bar or the tab search_simple search. Both, the simple and the advanced search can handle the Boolean Operators (e.g. "discoid AND Neumark" or "Homo sapiens NOT adult"). When you search NESPOS by simple search, the program will include the content of the following types of attachments: Word, Text, PowerPoint, Excel, PDF, HTML. The timeslice search enables you to search the database for information related to a specific timeslice. Therefore you have to choose a technocomplex or industry from the drop down list. Via the advanced search you first type in your request and then check the page/object type(s) you are looking for. You can only choose one box per run. Every query can easily be saved as a bookmark with your browser.
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