Computer vision to help enrich the Çatalhöyük archaeological research project
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West Mound at Çatalhöyük

Project Overview

Çatalhöyük is an UNESCO World Heritage Site located in modern day Turkey. This site has been the subject of the Çatalhöyük Research Project, in which archaeologists have collected over 150,000 photographs richly detailing buildings, artifacts, and ways of life of this civilization.

As described on the project's website, "Çatalhöyük has been the subject of investigation for more than 50 years. Researchers from around the world have travelled to the site over the past half-century to study its vast landscape of buildings, remarkable ways of life, and its many exquisite works of art and craft. Since 1993, the Çatalhöyük Research Project has recruited an international group of specialists to pioneer new archaeological, conservation and curatorial methods on and off site. Simultaneously, it aims to advance our understandings of human life in the past."

Our goal is to use computer vision to help enrich the digital resources produced by the Çatalhöyük Research Project, in keeping with the project's mission to create a living archive.

Bull's Head



A large number of photos of the dig site contain whiteboards with text describing the photo's contents, and often the contents of subsequent photos. Our first project is to detect photos with whiteboards, then extract the text from these whiteboards and use optical character recognition to digitize the information.


Many of the photos in the Çatalhöyük database are already labeled with metadata. To make the database more readily searchable, we aim to expand these tags as thoroughly as possible to entire archive.


Creating Conda environment

  1. Make sure you have Anaconda or Miniconda
  2. Download repo and cd into it. Run conda env create --file=environment.yml.
  3. Add CUDA to the environment if you have a GPU.
  4. (Optional) Add interpreter to PyCharm - Go to Preferences > Project > Project Interpreter - Click the gear icon, then 'Add' - Select 'Conda Environment' and 'Existing Environment' - Click the three dots, then find the interpreter. Should be somewhere like /Users/christopherchute/anaconda3/envs/catalhoyuk/bin/python.


  1. Create and activate conda environment as described above.
  2. Run python --name=NAME --batch_size=128 --data_dir=data/wb130k.


  1. Locate your trained model in ckpts folder.
  2. Run python --ckpt_path=ckpts/NAME/best.pth.tar --data_dir=data/wb130k/ --phase=test --name=wb130k_test --gpu_ids=0,1,2,3 --batch_size=256 --prob_threshold=0.4.


  1. cd into this project's root directory.
  2. Run tmux new -s tb for a new tmux session named tb.
  3. Run source activate res to set up the virtual environment.
  4. Run tensorboard --logdir=. --port=5678.
  5. Hit ctrl-b, d to detach from the tmux session. Later run tmux a -t train to re-attach.
  6. (Local) Run ssh -N -f -L localhost:1234:localhost:5678 <remote_host>.
  7. (Local) In a web browser, go to http://localhost:1234.


+ args: Command-line arg parsing
+ ckpts: Holds model checkpoints
+ data: Placeholder for CIFAR dataset
+ data_loader: Wraps CIFAR data loader
+ logger: Logs training info to the console and TensorBoard
+ logs: Holds logs produced by the logger
+ optim: Optimizer and learning rate scheduler
+ saver: Saves and loads model checkpoints
+ scripts: Scripts for miscellaneous tasks
+ util: utility functions

- Training
- Test inference