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Useful Information


The information in this page is taken from an early version of the NESPOS User Manual

The Advanced Search for Finds is a powerful hierarchical search where the scientific user is able to search in the NESPOS objects Metadatasets. Important to understand, the advanced search for finds is a finds-based search. This means all your search queries must relate to a find of a special kind. Therefore, as a general rule, you have to start in the upper darkblue box in selecting an object to search for.

An Example

We want to make a search for all Neanderthal fossils from OIS 4 found in caves in France excavated later than 1950 hosted at the institution named 'Musée des Antiquités Nationales, Saint-Germain-en-Laye'. Independent from the scientific need of such search, it could show the basic features of the advanced search.

Step 1: Add a Human Remain to the Search Mask

As said before, you have to start with the selection of a concrete type of find you are looking for. In this case, add the 'Human Remain'. To do so, select 'Human Remain' from the list and press 'add object'. This will add a container named 'Human Remain' to the bottom of the search mask. Scroll down to see it.

Handy Hint


If you also want to search for 'Human Remain Individuals', iterate through step 1 again and select 'Human Remain Individual' as additional type of object you are looking for. It will be added also at the bottom of the search mask, directly under the container named 'Human Remain'

Step 2: Specify Attributes of Human Remain

We are looking for all Neanderthal fossils from OIS 4, therefore we have to define the OIS Stage 'OIS 4' for the 'Human Remain'. For this, scroll down to the bottom of the search mask and locate the container entitled 'Object: HUman Remain'.

In this container locate the dropdown named 'Attribute' and select the 'OIS stage' attribute. A new dropdown under the 'Attribute' appears, this time entitled 'Value'. Select 'OIS 4'. Afterwards, to get changes take effect, you have to press the 'add attribute' button. The search mask then will be refreshed, you have to scroll down at the bottom again. A new section was added to the container, it is named 'SPECIFIED CONDITIONS'.

Handy Hint


If you press 'Search' at this step, you will get all Human Remains from OIS Stage 4.

Step 3: Specify Attributes of the Site

We are looking for finds and are only interested in such found in open air. Furthermore, this cave must reside in France. Therefore we have to specify 2 attributes for the Site Object. Scroll up to the top of the list and locate the container entitled 'Site'. Select the 'Attribute' 'Site type' and select the value 'open air'. Press 'add attribute'.

Now select the attribute 'Site type' and select the value 'open air'. Press 'add attribute'.

Step 4: Specify Attributes of the Excavation

For whatever reason, we are interested in finds excavated later than 1950. Therefore, locate the container entitled 'Excavation', select the attribute 'Excavation from year' (Start year of excavation) and insert the value '>1950'. Press 'add attribute'. You inseretd value is interpreted by NESPOS as 'greater than 1950'.

Handy Hint


You could also search for 'less than' (<), 'greater than' (>) and ranges (-)

Step 5: Define the Repository

We are looking for finds hosted at the institution named 'Musée des Antiquités Nationales, Saint-Germain-en-Laye'. You have to know that there is an attribute for all finds named 'Repository' where a link to the hosting institute is provided. Therefore locate the container entitled 'Object: Human remain', select the attribute 'Repository'. A button entitled 'Repository' should appear under the attribute dropdown.

Click on it to open the well known 'Multiselector' to select 'Musée des Antiquités Nationales, Saint-Germain-en-Laye'. Press 'add attribute'.

Step 6: Search

Scroll down to the bottom and press the button entitled 'Search'.You should get a result list as shown in the figure.Dependent on your right you are able to access this object or not.

Handy Hint: If you want to change your query now, simple press the 'edit query' at the bottom of the search result table.

Additional Features

'Objects must be part of the same ..' Operator

The objects 'Excavation', 'Layer' and 'Archeological Feature' have the attribute 'Objects must be part of the same Excavation/Feature/Layer'. This additional feature allows you to search for different types of finds (e.g. artefacts and human remain).

An example: Search for all sites, which have a layer, in which artefacts as well as bones from 'Bos primigenius' have been found

To query the database for such objects, add objects of type 'Artefact' and 'Human Remain' to the search mask, select in both the appropriate attribute (in this case Cultural attribution) and select 'Objects must be part of the same Layer'. Afterwards press 'Search'. You will get groups of objects (or only one group) that fits this query term.

Group By Operator

At the bottom of the search mask the 'Group by' operator is located. It has the values for 'Site', 'Excavation' and 'Stratigraphical Layer'. One could best imagine the functionality of this operator if we have a look on these two search queries:

Query a: Search for all Nenderthal fossils found (in a Site) in France
Query b: Search for all french Sites which have neanderthal fossils

The first query is a simple search for finds (human remains) and may provide a long list of search results of different neandertal finds, all found in a few sites. The second search query isn't interested in the specific finds and simply wants to get a list of these few Sites. As stated before, in the advanced search only a search for finds is possible. To overcome this limitation, the 'group by' operator is introduced. To make a query like 'Query b' you only have to rething your query:

You have to search for all objects of type Human Remain and of taxon neanderthal found in Sites with Country attribute 'France' and group this by 'Site'. This will provide you with the list of unique sites.

Combination of Attributes

AND Combination

Basically, search attributes of Objects are 'AND' combined. Example (see figure): This search query will only find Human Remains that are from OIS Stage 4 AND the discovery is later than 1990 AND the cultural attribution is 'Aurignacien'.

OR Combination

When you want to search for attributes which are OR combined, you can insert a 'Human remain' twice into the search mask. Simple go to the bottom of the search masks and add the same objects twice. When you then provide for the first 'HUman Remain' the attribute 'OIS 4' and for the second 'Discovery year greater than 1950', the search will result all objects which are either attribute A OR attribute B.

Hierarchical Values

In some dropdown or multiple selection fields, you can see values like

  • cranium/cranial fragment
  • cranium/cranial fragment :: indetermined cranial fragment
  • etc

These values are hierarchically ordered. When you select the first of the two values, it allows for NEAR searches like searching for all values which start with 'cranium/cranial fragment'.

Search Operators for Dates

Each time you select dating attributes like 'Discovery Year', you have the possibilities to search for:

  • Exactly a specific year: Insert a number like '1950'
  • Year ranges: Insert two year numbers divided by a dash, e.g. '1950 - 1970'
  • 'Greater Than' or 'Less Than' Operators: Start with a '>' or '<' followed by a year number, e.g. '>1950'