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Archaeology in the Digital Era

Archaeology in the Digital Era: Papers from the 40th Annual Conference of Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA), Southampton, 26-29 March 2012

Graeme Earl
Tim Sly
Angeliki Chrysanthi
Patricia Murrieta-Flores
Constantinos Papadopoulos
Iza Romanowska
David Wheatley
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  • Book Info
    Archaeology in the Digital Era
    Book Description:

    The Conference on Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology is the leading conference on digital archaeology, and this volume offers a comprehensive and up-to-date account of the state of the field today. It features a selection of the best papers presented at the fortieth annual conference in 2012 and explores a multitude of topics of interest to all those working in digital archaeology.

    eISBN: 978-90-485-1959-0
    Subjects: Sociology, Archaeology, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Foreword
    (pp. 11-12)
    Graeme Earl

    This volume consists of a selection of the peer-reviewed papers presented at the Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology 2012 conference hosted by the Archaeological Computing Research Group at the University of Southampton, UK between 26th and 30th March 2012. The conference included 53 sessions divided between the themes of simulating the past, spatial analysis, data modelling and sharing, data analysis, management, integration and visualisation, geospatial technologies, field and lab recording, theoretical approaches and the context of archaeological computing, and a general theme. In addition there were 12 workshops. A total of 380 papers and posters were presented, and...


    • Disciplinary Issues: Challenging the Research and Practice of Computer Applications in Archaeology
      (pp. 13-24)
      Jeremy Huggett

      In 1967 George Cowgill suggested that the earliest use of electronic data processing in European archaeology was by Peter Ihm and Jean-Claude Gardin in 1958/1959 and in the USA by James Deetz in 1960 (Cowgill 1967, 17). Since then, activity in archaeological computing has grown substantially, especially sine the first personal computer revolution in the 1980s, and the annual Computer Applications in Archaeology (CAA) conference has been meeting since 1973. It is surprising, then, that a series of presenting examples of archaeological computing in a recent issue of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics (IEEE) Computer Society magazineComputerwere...

    • Paperless Recording at the Sangro Valley Project
      (pp. 25-30)
      Christopher F. Motz and Sam C. Carrier

      The Sangro Valley Project (hereafter abbreviated SVP) was founded in 1994 and is now managed by Oberlin College in collaboration with the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici dell’Abruzzo and the University of Oxford. The project operates a summer field school in Italy for Oberlin and other students; it employs a multi-disciplinary team of specialists from Canada, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The project’s goal is to characterize and investigate the nature, pattern and dynamics of human habitation and land use in thelongue duréewithin the context of a Mediterranean river valley system—the Sangro River valley...

    • ‘Tangible Pasts’: User-centred Design of a Mixed Reality Application for Cultural Heritage
      (pp. 31-39)
      Angeliki Chrysanthi, Constantinos Papadopoulos, Tom Frankland and Graeme Earl

      This paper presents the preliminary results of a tangible prototype interface for cultural heritage dissemination in a Mixed Reality (MR) environment. This research project was developed in parallel to our research work, which is related to several aspects of computer visualisation, interpretation and presentation of archaeological material, with the purpose to explore available MR platforms from a human and user-centred perspective. The design of this application, which utilises available technologies, was structured around three main research questions: a) How can we provide an intuitive user-friendly application for cultural heritage, which blends virtual imagery with the actual world, where users operate...

    • The Virtual Museum: a Quest for the Standard Definition
      (pp. 40-48)
      Laia Pujol and Anna Lorente

      According to V-Must, a Network of Excellence² funded by the 7thEU Framework Programme and purposefully devoted to the development of a specific research field about virtual museums (VM), these

      “are personalized, immersive, interactive experiences that enhance our understanding of the world around us.”

      The broadness of this definition, along with the diversity of the included typology³, gives an idea of the disparity of concepts gathered under this label. The VM arose spontaneously from a mixing of traditional museum practices, semiotic modes, market tensions and diverse technological possibilities (Lorente and Kanellos 2010). On the other hand, in most cases, the...

    • Can you Hack (the) Communication?
      (pp. 49-54)
      Hugh Corley

      Fully digital field-data recording has yet to be adopted by the vast majority of archaeologists. As has been the case for many years, archaeologists operate a hybrid recording environment where some of the information is born digital and the rest is captured onto paper (May 2004b). As cited elsewhere (Andrew 2000; Backhouse 2006), this separates excavation data collection from its interpretation. Digital systems supported by appropriate procedures can enhance interpretation in the field, improve data quality and accelerate projects to completion. However, the benefits of any system will be difficult to realise without good communication. This paper will explore these...

    • Identifying and Tracing Archaeological Material with RFID Tags
      (pp. 55-64)
      Ana María López, Ana María Salinas, Eduardo Pascual, Guillermo Ignacio Azuara, Gloria Fernández, Elena Gallego and Francisco Burillo

      When traceability is present in a productive process, it means that, at every step in the process, information about every product is collected and attached to it without ambiguity. We know all the production parameters of a specific item or group of items and also who is responsible for this information and when and where these data were collected. This knowledge is always available because it is precisely documented.

      Archaeological research is divided in several steps. It is also a chain process that, in the context we work, starts at the excavation site where the findings are unearthed. These elements...

    • Matera Città Narrata Project: a Multimedia and Multi-Platform Guide for Mobile Systems
      (pp. 65-73)
      Eva Pietroni

      Matera Città Narrata project has been realized in 2009-2011 by CNR ITABC and it was supported by the Regional Promotion Agency (APT) and the Basilicata Regional Government. Its aim is to provide the tourists visiting the city with cultural contents related to the places, the history and the intangible heritage in order to enhance their cultural experience and encourage them to remain and spend a longer time in this wonderful city and in the surrounding landscape.

      Matera seems, or better is, an enormous sculpture, a city modeled in the calcareous rock of the deep canyon called Gravina, where thousands of...

    • Evaluating Virtual Museums: Archeovirtual Case Study
      (pp. 74-82)
      Sofia Pescarin, Alfonsina Pagano, Mattias Wallergård, Wim Hupperetz and Christie Ray

      Evaluation activities are highly useful since they can improve and enhance the research domain. This is true also of the newly born field of Virtual Museums. Developing a good framework for analysis and evaluation can have a significant impact on the production phases of a virtual museum so that certain outcomes, such as knowledge exchange, cognitive improvement, and cultural heritage communication can be better achieved. Up to now, the field has produced insufficient extensive studies on the effectiveness of such virtual applications analysed on the basis of cross-comparative methods of evaluation; nothing really explicative has been done that has taken...


    • Extracting Scar and Ridge Features from 3D-scanned Lithic Artifacts
      (pp. 83-92)
      Eitan Richardson, Leore Grosman, Uzy Smilansky and Michael Werman

      Much of what is known today about prehistoric periods derives from the study of stone artifacts manufactured during the Paleolithic period that spans over 99.5% of human history. The gradual evolution of stone technology from rough and simple forms to highly sophisticated and refined objects marks the cognitive evolution of the human brain, as well as the development of manual, technical and social skills. Prehistoric stone tools were manufactured by knapping flakes from a stone core and creating a scared surface. The surface that is created after removing a flake is called ascarand the boundary of the scar...

    • Retracing Prehistoric Population Events in Finland Using Simulation
      (pp. 93-104)
      Tarja Sundell, Juhana Kammonen, Martin Heger, Jukka U. Palo and Päivi Onkamo

      The first pioneers settled in the Finnish region circa 11,000 BP following the retreat of the continental ice sheet after the last glaciation. According to archaeological finds, the region has been continuously inhabited ever since. Finland’s prehistoric population events and settlement history have been studied by a number of archaeologists (e.g. Siiriäinen 1981; Meinander 1984; Nuñez, M. 1987; Huurre 1990,2001; Lavento 1997,1998,2001; Carpelan 1999a, 1999b; Edgren 1999; Halinen 1999, 2005; Nuñez & Okkonen 1999; Mökkönen 2002, 2011; Pesonen 2002, 2005; Takala 2004; Rankama & Kankaanpää 2008; Saipio 2008; Tallavaara, Pesonen & Oinonen 2010; Tallavaara & Seppä 2012).

      On the other...

    • SteppingIn - Modern Humans Moving into Europe - Implementation
      (pp. 105-117)
      Fulco Scherjon

      Modern humans, not only archaeologists, are intrigued by questions about our origins. One of those questions is simply put: “how did modern humans colonize Europe around 40.000 years ago?”. It is one of those key fundamental questions in paleoanthropology and paleolithic archaeology (Roe 2009, 5). It seems a question that is easily answered but upon closer inspection one that generates a myriad of other questions about the influence of paleoclimates, possible routes into Europe, seafaring capabilities, Neanderthals, extinction of multiple large animal species, the need for and use of language, the flexibility and effectiveness of toolsets, and about the working...

    • Geospatial Virtual Heritage: A Gesture-Based 3D GIS to Engage the Public with Ancient Maya Archaeology
      (pp. 118-130)
      Heather Richards-Rissetto, Jim Robertsson, Jennifer von Schwerin, Giorgio Agugiaro, Fabio Remondino and Gabrio Girardi

      Cultural heritage plays an important role in understanding and shaping our past, present, and future and influences identity, community, and political and social processes. For these reasons, among others, it is important to engage and educated the public about the past. Cultural heritage includes both the tangible (e.g. artefacts, architecture, and landscapes) and intangible (e.g. cosmology, folklore, and oral histories) expressions of human culture (Vecco 2010). There are many ways to engage the public in cultural heritage, including on-site visits to monuments and archaeological sites, videos, documentaries, books/articles, songs, games, and re-enactments as well as websites, blogs, and even virtual...

    • Integration of 3D Laser Scanning and Virtual Reconstructions as Research and Educational Tools for Representing the Past. The Case Study of Roman Baths of Edeta
      (pp. 131-142)
      Vito Porcelli, Fernando Cotino Villa, Josep Blasco i Senabre, Vicent Escrivá Torres and Julian Esteban Chapapría

      Computer Graphics has completely converted the traditional archaeological recording system. Currently, “Digital Archaeology” would be the best term to refer to it (Earl et al. 2012). Whether the information concerns spatial data or physical remains, drawings or pictures of the sites, they are archived and processed as digital information.

      Thanks to the scholars involved in the process of preservation and conservation of the site, the archaeological data derived from the Roman Baths ofEdetahave been recorded following this digital methodology. The work has culminated with the introduction of realistic virtual restoration of the edifices, principally focusing on educational purposes....

    • Reconstructing the Baths of Caracalla
      (pp. 143-146)
      Taylor A. Oetelaar

      The digital reconstruction of the Baths of Caracalla began because I required an accurate representation of the air volume inside thecaldariumor room with hot baths to create a mesh for a computational investigation of its thermal environment. This, however, quickly evolved into an interesting, yet difficult, reconstruction of the entire bathing complex for the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH) project,Rome Reborn; the goal of which is to rebuild the city of Rome digitally as it existed in the fourth century CE. The baths’ reconstruction requires careful attention to many different facets, from room dimensions...

    • Instruments and Methods for the Survey and Analysis of Amphitheatres
      (pp. 147-153)
      Martina Ballarin, Francesco Guerra and Luigi Sperti

      A natural instrument of gaining knowledge is measurement; it is an action that associates quantity information with quality information in order to define a shared and intersubjective knowledge of the real environment (Achille and Monti 2001, 78-90).

      Many of the numerous on-going and past research activities have had, and still have, the purpose of studying, exploring and developing the techniques for dimensional survey and 3D reconstruction of objects and surfaces. Special attention has been given to the metrological aspects of the problem, by comparing the “traditional” survey methods and more recent applications.

      With the purpose of achieving the most accurate...

    • Why Hunter and Gatherers did not Die More Often? Simulating Prehistoric Decision Making
      (pp. 154-163)
      Florencia Del Castillo and Juan A. Barceló

      Prehistoric hunter-gatherers have been studied many times from the point of view of animal foraging behavior, stating that human agents also forage in such a way as to maximize their net energy intake per unit time. In other words, it is assumed they should find, capture and consume food containing the most calories while expending the least amount of time possible in doing so. The understanding of many ecological concepts such as adaptation, energy flow and competition hinges on the ability to comprehend what food items such human agents selected, and why (Grove 2009, Winterhander and Smith 1981, Smith 1983)....

    • Reconstruction of Ruined Archaeological Structures Using Structural Analysis Methods
      (pp. 164-176)
      James Miles, Aykut Erkal, Dina D’Ayala, Simon Keay and Graeme Earl

      The historic environment provides a unique record of past human activity. The vision, abilities and investment of successive societies have formed the distinctive qualities of this environment. Therefore, it is a valuable resource, providing a sense of continuity and identity (Heritage 2008). Amongst the cultural heritage components, historic buildings have a significant place. Thus, documentation of heritage buildings is critical for their protection and restoration (Yastikli 2007). In archaeology, various methods are used. Computerized recording equipment and three-dimensional plotting are widely used tools (Sinning-Meister, Gruen, and Dan 1996; Park et al. 2007). However, documentation can be challenging work depending on...


    • Telling the Story of Ancient Coins by Means of Interactive RTI Images Visualization
      (pp. 177-185)
      Gianpaolo Palma, Eliana Siotto, Marc Proesmans, Monica Baldassari, Clara Baracchini, Sabrina Batino and Roberto Scopigno

      Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) is a computational photography method that, stating from a set of images taken from a single view under varying lighting conditions, encodes the subject’s surface shape and colour to enable the interactive re-lighting of the subject from any direction. RTI encodes this redundant data, the same scene sampled under many different lighting conditions, in a compact way, using view-dependent per-pixel reflectance functions.

      The virtual examination and study of Cultural Heritage artefacts is taking advantage from the use of the RTI techniques. In this field the way light interacts with the object is very important because the...

    • IBISA 3D: Image-Based Identification/Search for Archaeology Using a Three-dimensional Coin Model
      (pp. 186-193)
      Sylvain Marchand

      IBISA (Image-Based Identification/Search for Archaeology) is a software system (Marchand et al. 2009) that manages databases of digital images of archaeological objects, and allows the user to perform searches by examples. The objects are only required to be quasi flat (approximately two-dimensional) and produced from matrices via some striking / stamping / casting process. The original matrices are generally lost now, but many objects with their prints can still be found, with many similarities among them. The IBISA system was originally designed to work with ancient (Greek, Roman) coins. In this numismatic context, the matrix is then a die. By...

    • Using Image Analysis to Match a Coin to a Database
      (pp. 194-198)
      Sebastian Zambanini and Martin Kampel

      Determining the type of an ancient coin is in general a time consuming task and needs a lot of numismatic experience. Therefore, an automatic method for this task would be of high usage for the numismatic community. 2D images can serve as input for such a system as they are easy and cheap to produce and are widely available in museum databases and digital online archives. Potentially, such a methodology is able to act as a supporting tool for numismatists and can thus enable a much faster processing of coins. In the long run, an automatic image based coin range...

    • Pompeii Revived: Scanning Mission - Insula V 1
      (pp. 199-207)
      Nicolò Dell’Unto, Matteo Dellepiane, Marco Callieri, Anne-Marie Leander, Stefan Lindgren and Carolina Larsson

      Three-dimensional digital surveys have become, in the last few years, a standard tool for cultural heritage studies. The advancements in both the scanning devices and the computers used in data processing and visualization have enabled the cultural heritage operators to carry out large-scale surveys and data gathering campaigns.

      This technological advancement, however, cannot, by itself be a game-changer in the field of cultural heritage studies.

      In order to effectively use all the data produced by these technologies, it is necessary to carefully consider all the aspects of the digitization campaign and the available tools for the processing of the data,...

    • A Metrology Tracking System Used as a 3D Drawing Tool for Faster Excavation Recording
      (pp. 208-215)
      Maarten Smeets, Wouter Yperman and Geoff Avern

      In the very competitive field of commercial archaeology excavations are conducted within pressing time frames. Any new method, technique or technology which significantly reduces the total time of a project should have a considerable impact upon commercial archaeology.

      For over a decade a number of researchers have investigated ways to improve the speed and quality of excavation recording using various 3D data acquisition methods; such as photogrammetry (Barcelo, et al., 2002), orthocorrection of photographs (Reali & Zoppi, 2001), tracing from photomosaics (Avern, 2001a), using total station points for drawings (Schaich, 2002), 3D Modeling (Avern, 2001b) and laser scanning (Doneus &...


    • From the Slope of Enlightenment to the Plateau of Productivity: Developing Linked Data at the ADS
      (pp. 216-223)
      Michael Charno, Stuart Jeffrey, Ceri Binding, Doug Tudhope and Keith May

      The Archaeology Data Service (ADS) is hosted by the Department of Archaeology at the University of York in the UK, and is funded partly by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council and partly by project-based funding drawn from academia, the European Union, National and Local Government archaeology services and commercial archaeology. The core objective of the ADS is to support research, learning and teaching with high quality and dependable digital resources. It does this by preserving digital data for the long term, and by promoting and disseminating a broad range of data in archaeology. The ADS promotes good practice...

    • Reflections on the Rocky Road to E-Archaeology
      (pp. 224-236)
      Geoff Carver and Matthias Lang

      This paper considers some of the problems encountered during theArcheoInfproject. These problems reflect the social contexts within which arcaelogy and archaeological computing are performed.

      Funded by the Deulsche Forschungs-gemeinschaft (DFG),ArcheoInfis a collaborative project involving the following institutions:

      Archäologisches Institut und Sammlung der Gipsabgüsse der Georg-Augest-Universität Göttingen,

      Institut fur Archäologische Wissenschaften der Ruhr-Universität Bochum,

      Fachbereich Vermessung und Geoinformatik der Hochschule Bochum,

      Universitätsbibliothek Bochum,

      Lehrstuhl für Softwaretechnologie in der Fakultät für Informatik der Technischen Universität Dortmund,

      Universitätsbibliothek Dortmund.

      ArcheoInf² (cf. Carver, Lang, and Türk 2012) is intended to provide a long-term data repository combining primary archaeological archaeological Data...

    • Least-cost Networks
      (pp. 237-248)
      Irmela Herzog

      Many archaeological least-cost path (LCP) studies deal with networks, i.e. the aim is to reconstruct a network of routes (e.g. van Leusen 2002, 16-12-16-18; Bell et al. 2002). This paper discusses a set of models each minimizing costs in some sense but resulting in a different network topology. Unfortunately, most push-button GIS software packages do not support different LCP network models, and hardly any information can be found in the documentation of the software concerning the models and algorithms used for calculating least-cost networks. Consequently, most archaeologists applying this software are not aware that different models exist and that the...

    • Linking Roman Coins: Current Work at the American Numismatic Society
      (pp. 249-258)
      Ethan Gruber, Gilles Bransbourg, Sebastian Heath and Andrew Meadows

      This paper describes a series of related initiatives to publish Roman coins—the basic material of the discipline of Roman numismatics that works to place coins in their historical and economic context—on the Internet using practices and methods that draw on the “Linked Data” approach to access and re-use of internet-based resources. The components of the work described here are:, a digital resource that establishes stable URIs for numismatic concepts, with a current focus on both Greek and Roman coins; Numishare, a software platform for the management of numismatic data that supports linked data approaches; Online Coins of...

    • GeoDia: or, Navigating Archaeological Time and Space in an American College Classroom
      (pp. 259-268)
      Adam Rabinowitz

      There is an inherent tension in archaeology between the complexity, uncertainty, and incompleteness of the evidence and the relatively clear and simple narratives that present the results of archaeological research to the public. This tension has been exacerbated by digital approaches to archaeology: on one side, field researchers struggle to represent and share complex datasets and the processes that generated them for the benefit of other researchers, while on the other, three-dimensional reconstructions and museum websites elide complexity and process to present a seamless, coherent vision of the past for the benefit of lay audiences. The archaeological computing community should...


    • Dating Historical Rock Art on Marble Surfaces by Means of a Mathematical Model for Natural Erosion Processes
      (pp. 269-278)
      Paolo Emilio Bagnoli

      In the last fifteen years several rock-art sites have been discovered in the mountain chain of the Apuan Alps (the famous white marble mountains) along the northwestern coast of Tuscany. These rock-art sites bear figurative engravings depicting billhooks (Italian “pennato” or “roncola”, a sort of curved hand knife used for woodcutting) as their most often reoccurring subject. The billhook engravings, which were etched out life-size, though in contour only, and are extremely worn, are found mainly on horizontal flat marble surfaces at high positions overlooking the lower peaks. Recent studies (Bagnoli, Panicucci and Viegi 2005) have come to the conclusion...

    • Cultural Heritage Application Schema: a SDI Framework within the Protected Sites INSPIRE Spatial Data Theme
      (pp. 279-290)
      Antonio Uriarte González, César Parcero Oubiña, Alfonso Fraguas Bravo, Pastor Fábrega Álvarez, Juan Manuel Vicent García, Esther Pérez Asensio, Carlos Fernández Freire and Isabel del Bosque González

      This paper presents a proposal of application schema about cultural heritage under the INSPIRE Directive (Directive 2007/2/EC), which establishes an Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community. We use the termapplication schemain the way INSPIRE does, as the formal description of a conceptual data model about a certain part of the real world.

      This model develops the INSPIRE Data Specification on Protected Sites (INSPIRE Thematic Working Group Protected Sites 2010) for the topic of cultural features. According to INSPIRE principles, the background objective is to provide a basic interoperable framework for describing, organising and sharing georeferenced information...

    • Old Places, New Ideas: New Routes into Canmore, the National Inventory of Scotland
      (pp. 291-298)
      Susan Hamilton, Rebecca Jones and Peter McKeague

      The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) maintains the National Inventory and hosts the National Collections of the archaeological and built heritage of Scotland, including its maritime waters. In the last twenty five years, the Inventory’s database has evolved from a paper-based card-index system, partly based on a reference system developed by the former Archaeology Branch of the Ordnance Survey supplemented by the paper catalogues to the RCAHMS Collections, to an Oracle database and ArcGis Geographic Information System with well-established online search facilities through Canmore (

      The transition from card-index to database has been progressive,...

    • ADS easy: an Automated e-archiving System for Archaeology
      (pp. 299-306)
      Ray Moore, Catherine Hardman, Julian Richards and Lei Xia

      The growing dependence on digital data in archaeology has raised awareness of the need for long-term preservation of the datasets resulting from archaeological research. The Archaeology Data Service (ADS) is the mandated repository for many organisations within both commercial and academic sectors within the UK, providing archiving services for the digital outputs of archaeological fieldwork and research² ( The ADS has been able to harness over fifteen years of experience in preserving and disseminating archaeological digital data, to develop an online system that will both streamline and enhance elements of the archiving process. It is hoped thatADS easy,...

    • Archaeology in Broad Strokes: Collating Data for England from 1500 BC to AD 1086
      (pp. 307-312)
      Chris Green

      Beginning during the second half of 2011,Landscape and Identities: the case of the English landscape 1500 BC to AD 1086(or EngLaId for short) is a five-year project funded by the European Research Council, based at the University of Oxford. The central concept of EngLaId lies in bringing together as many large spatial datasets as possible in order to try to understand identity, continuity and change in the English landscape from the middle Bronze Age to the Domesday book.

      Inspiration for this project came from several previous similar surveys of England’s archaeology, all of which took a particular period...

    • Beyond Inspire: Towards Delivering Richer Heritage Data in Scotland
      (pp. 313-319)
      Peter McKeague and Mike Middleton

      In 2007 the European Parliament published Directive 2007/2/EC establishing an Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community (INSPIRE) in the official Journal of the European Union (European Communities 2007). The Directive covers 34 Spatial Data themes, grouped in three Annexes, including the Protected Sites theme in Annex I. which covers aspects of the historic environment. The INSPIRE Directive was adopted as a Statutory Instrument by both the United Kingdom and Scottish Parliaments in 2009 with a view to developing the metadata, Web Map and Web Feature Services, to an agreed timetable, over the next decade. The Scottish Government and...

    • SEAD - The Strategic Environmental Archaeology Database Inter-linking Multiproxy Environmental Data with Archaeological Investigations and Ecology
      (pp. 320-331)
      Philip Iain Buckland

      SEAD, the Strategic Environmental Archaeology Database, is an open access archive for environmental archaeology and Quaternary science data. It aims to provide easy access to the raw data from a variety of investigation types where, primarily, biological or physical proxy data have been used to study the past. As an environmental archaeology database, the focus naturally leans towards the human and cultural aspects of prehistory, but the “natural”, Quaternary science, background data essential in the interpretation of these phenomena are considered fundamental to the long-term usefulness of the system. Modern calibration and environmental survey data (e.g. insect pitfall traps, vegetation...

    • Obscura itinera: a GIS-based Approach to Understand the pre-Roman and Roman Transhumance Pathways in Umbria and Sabina Regions (Central Italy)
      (pp. 332-339)
      Paolo Camerieri and Tommaso Mattioli

      Horizontal transhumance is the seasonal migration of people with their domestic livestock between fixed summer and winter pastures, in Italy’s south-central regions from the higher Apennines mountains to the southern lower valleys in Puglia region (Fig. 1).

      Here the transhumance pathways, the so-called ‘tratturi’ in modern Italian language (and their branches, ‘tratturelli’ or ‘bracci’), are a kind of very long ‘green highways’ with a considerable width, sometimes up to 100 mt, a strip of land not cultivated but left as enclosed tracts of pastures to allow the sustenance of the flocks during the long-distance journey (Fig. 2).

      The most significant...

    • Transparency, Testing and Standards for Archaeological Predictive Modelling
      (pp. 340-347)
      William Wilcox

      In late 2011, the words ‘archaeological predictive modelling’ followed by the name of each of the countries of Europe were entered into the Google search engine. Thirty six countries (72%) had reference to research into archaeological predictive modelling within that country, fourteen countries (28%) had no reference to archaeological predictive modelling (Fig. 1) and twelve countries (24%) had reference to the technique being used (in part) for cultural heritage management. However, just because there was no reference to research into, or the use of, archaeological predictive modelling on the internet, does not mean that it does not exist in that...


    • Zooming Patterns Among the Scales: a Statistics Technique to Detect Spatial Patterns Among Settlements
      (pp. 348-356)
      Alessio Palmisano

      During the last years digital technologies have been used in Archaeology for the documentation, the management and the representation of archaeological data. A consequence of this phenomenon is the increasing popularity of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) as powerful tool for the organization and the visualization of archaeological data in relation with the correspondent spatial information, while less attention is paid to the application of spatial statistics for detecting specific patterns of such datasets.

      Recently, however, GIS has been used by archaeologists not only for data management, but also for analysing data and their spatial references. Thus, researchers can detect particular...

    • The Long and Winding Road: Combining Least Cost Paths and Network Analysis Techniques for Settlement Location Analysis and Predictive Modelling
      (pp. 357-366)
      Philip Verhagen, Tom Brughmans, Laure Nuninger and Frédérique Bertoncello

      When thinking about socio-cultural factors influencing settlement location choice, the accessibility of places in the landscape is a potentially important variable to take into account. Among the possible factors determining settlement location, access to resources and ease of movement in the landscape may have been important elements. For example, settlements might be preferentially located in areas that offer good access to prime agricultural land, and that allow them to interact easily with neighbouring settlements. How to define accessibility in such a way that it might be used as a variable for site location analysis and predictive modelling is however still...

    • Can Infovis Tools Support the Analysis of Spatio-Temporal Diffusion Patterns in Historic Architecture?
      (pp. 367-378)
      Jean-Yves Blaise and Iwona Dudek

      There are books analysts can rely on in order to analyse pieces of historic architecture in space (dictionaries, maps, etc.) or to spot the time slots they can be connected with (literature about History and History of Architecture). There are also some books that relate changes in shapes over time to a context, and thereby provide means for relations assessment: a typical example is Viollet Le Duc’s encyclopaedia of architecture.

      But in all three cases, graphics used almost never fully integrate the time parameter and the spatial features. They rather put them side by side, like in the classic timeline+...

    • Introducing the Human Factor in Predictive Modelling: a Work in Progress
      (pp. 379-388)
      Philip Verhagen, Laure Nuninger, François-Pierre Tourneux, Frédérique Bertoncello and Karen Jeneson

      Archaeological predictive modelling has a long history of application, especially in cultural resources management (see Judge and Sebastian 1988; Verhagen 2007; Kamermans et al. 2009). Despite its popularity for archaeological heritage management, it has also been the subject of substantial criticism from academic researchers (van Leusen 1996; Wheatley 2004; van Leusen and Kamermans 2005: Kamermans 2007). The goals of predictive modelling in heritage management are the accurate and cost-effective prediction of the location of archaeological remains within a limited region. However, academic researchers are usually more interested in finding explanations of why archaeological remains are concentrated in particular parts of...

    • Changing Settlement Patterns in the Mediterranean Context: a Case Study of Menorca (Balearic Islands) from Prehistory to the 19th Century AD
      (pp. 389-399)
      Monica De Cet, Rainer Duttmann, Simón Gornés, Joana Gual, Johannes Müller, Roberto Risch, Elena Sintes and Bianca Willié

      The application of geographic information systems (GIS) is a powerful tool for investigating the complexity of socio-archaeological entities. Recent developments in the application of GIS software in archaeology have, in fact, led to the creation of a reference framework incorporating the methodological insights achieved in spatial archaeology during the last twenty years (Lock and Stančič 1995; Lock 2000; Wheatley and Gillings 2002; Conolly and Lake 2006; Verhagen et al. 2007). Spatial analysis, network analysis, map algebra, location models and prediction are some of the most important advancements and means used by archaeologists in the spatial decoding of past human behaviour....

    • A New Method of Spatial Analysis Based on the Extraction of Proximity Graphs
      (pp. 400-413)
      Diego Jiménez-Badillo

      This paper introduces the Relative Neighbourhood (RN) method of spatial analysis, a series of procedures oriented to extract relational networks from point sets, which can be used to discover meaningful association patterns among archaeological artefacts or sites.

      We illustrate the application of the RN method using a group of Aztec offerings, an interesting case of spatially symbolic contexts. These comprise groups of objects whose arrangement and meaning are determined by symbolic ideas expressed through the spatial ordering of different categories of artefacts. In such deposits, the specific location of each object -as well as its spatial association with the rest...

    • Bayesian Spatial Modelling of Radiocarbon Dated Archaeological Artefacts Using R-INLA
      (pp. 414-419)
      Juhana Kammonen, Tarja Sundell, Petro Pesonen, Markku Oinonen and Päivi Onkamo

      In this paper, we present spatial analysis with the R-INLA software using a set of radiocarbon dates and a dataset from Typical Comb Ware (TCW) from the Finnish National Archaeological Database. The data is the same as used previously by Kammonen et al. (2012) in spatial analysis with MCMC methods of the WinBUGS software. The results are compared with those of the previous approach. In addition, performance of the R-INLA software is assessed with a simple benchmark test in laptop computer environment.

      During recent years, the archaeological record of eastern Fennoscandia, especially the territory of Finland and ceded Karelia (Fig....

    • From Space to Graphs to Understand Spatial Changes Using Medieval and Modern Fiscal Sources
      (pp. 420-427)
      Xavier Rodier, Mélanie Le Couédic, Florent Hautefeuille, Samuel Leturcq, Bertrand Jouve and Etienne Fieux

      Among all the documents available to historians and archaeologists to reconstruct the dynamics of land use during mediaeval and modern times (13th- 18thcenturies), there is a category of sources that is particularly rich in spatial organization data, namely land registers includingterriers(fieldbooks) and cadastres, commonly called “compoix” in the south of France. For France alone, there are several tens of thousands of fiscal registers prior to the 19thcentury, the oldest going back to the 13th century. These documents, drawn up for the purpose of levying taxes on land ownership (private for theterriers, public for the cadastres),...

    • Exploring the Effects of Curvature and Refraction on GIS-based Visibility Studies
      (pp. 428-437)
      Mariza Kormann and Gary Lock

      The justification and attractiveness of performing visibility studies using GIS is that it is an attempt to model human visual perception and understand situated visual experiences and their significance to past landscape settings (Wheatley 2004). Much work on visibility has focused on the placement of monuments in the landscape. Archaeological features may be several kilometres away from the observer and the drop in visibility may severely affect how monuments are perceived at distance, especially on approach. The motivation for visibility research is that the analysis of visibility patterns can shed light on human occupation and landscape use and exploitation, and...

    • Process Formalization and Conceptual Modelling in the Study of Territorial Dynamics
      (pp. 438-448)
      Laure Saligny, Xavier Rodier, Estelle Gauthier, Nicolas Poirier, Murielle Georges Leroy, Frédérique Bertoncello and Olivier Weller

      This paper is the outcome of collaboration as part of the ArchaeDyn programme funded by France’s ANR (ANR-08-BLAN-0157) (Gandini et al. 2012). The ArchaeDyn programme was launched in 2004 to study territorial dynamics from Neolithic to Modern times. The programme is conducted by three workgroups focusing on separate themes: (i) the movement of raw materials and manufactured objects, (ii) agricultural areas; (iii) settlement patterns and territories.

      All three workgroups exploit archaeological inventories collated as part of other scientific programmes. The ArchaeDyn members have implemented an analytical approach for sharing these datasets and producing indicators and analytical models with which to...


    • Defining and Advocating Open Data in Archaeology
      (pp. 449-456)
      Stefano Costa, Anthony Beck, Andrew Bevan and Jessica Ogden

      ‘Open’ is increasingly invoked as an attractive thing to be, across a host of human behavioural domains from scientific practice to corporate responsibility to governmental action (to name but a few). The concept readily suggests notions of public accountability, transparency of practice, plurality of opinion and scientific repeatability, thus providing a catchy banner for the advocacy of a range of perceived public goods. In contrast, while being ‘closed’ might occasionally carry positive connotations of increased security, it is less marketable and causes significant problems for a domain whose advances are predicated on a developing and accessible corpus. Some aspects of...

    • The Evolution of Territorial Occupation: Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis. Uncertainty and Heterogeneity of Data in Archaeology
      (pp. 457-469)
      Lucile Pillot and Laure Saligny

      The study of the evolution of human site-occupation is a common issue of current research programs in archaeology. Many studies seek to understand the settlement pattern over time using many inventories of occupied places (Poirier 2010 ; Gauthier et al. 2012 ; Nuninger et al. 2012). The main purposes of these studies are to observe spatial organizations, to identify any possible spatial patterns or particularities for each period of time and to put forth new theories. Archaeologists have long used methods for analyzing point patterns (Orton 2005) and produced indexes and maps of change between two chronological periods in order...

    • Visualising Time with Multiple Granularities: a Generic Framework
      (pp. 470-481)
      Iwona Dudek and Jean-Yves Blaise

      Investigating the evolution of historic artefacts most often starts with the cumbersome task of putting together various pieces of information, each with its specific characteristics in terms of precision, scope and reliability. Naturally, time slots are among the main clues analysts expect to spot when filtering and cross-examining these pieces of information.

      In order to proceed to any type of reasoning (teleological or causal) one has to place all the data and pieces of information. But due to the very nature of historic data sets – heterogeneity, uncertainty, missing data, uneven distribution in time (etc.) – time points and intervals the analyst...