ARCHES DUNHUANG: HERITAGE INVENTORY SYSTEM FOR CONSERVATION OF GROTTO RESOURCES ON THE GANSU SECTION OF THE SILK ROAD IN CHINA
Keywords: Arches, Heritage Inventory, Semantic Data Modelling, Grottoes, Silk Road
Abstract. The cultural heritage of the Buddhist grottoes on the Gansu section of the Silk Road in China has important historical, cultural and artistic values. In order to better protect these precious cultural sites including through facilitating ongoing assessment of their condition, the Dunhuang Academy has created a pilot inventory based on the Arches open-source software platform. This paper first briefly introduces the most important grottoes and the representative caves in Gansu province. It then, in view of the diversity of the grotto architecture layout, describes the Arches semantic graph data modelling technology and how the flexibility of Arches Designer was used to design the resource models, which not only meet data management needs, but also ensure data interoperability and longevity through incorporation of the CIDOC-CRM ontology. In addition, through design of the grottoes map plugin and resource components within Arches, the simple interaction and intuitive visualization of grottoes information was achieved. The Dunhuang Academy’s deployment of Arches will serve the need for grottoes data management and provide support for the establishment of a more scientific and effective protection and management system for the grottoes on the Silk Road in Gansu province. It is hoped that this project will demonstrate the suitability of the Arches platform to support the management of other grotto sites outside of Gansu province, as well as for heritage management elsewhere in China.