GIS in Archaeology
"...archaeologists who wish to understand GIS have been faced with a number of options, none of them particularly satisfactory or convenient. They could read introductory texts derived from other fields or disciplines, such as soil science or economic geography. Alternatively, the curious coud be directed towards the proprietary manual accompanying a given piece of software and then decide how best to translate this information into a specific archaeological context. Although some manuals are excellent, this leaves the archaeologist to fashion an application of GIS that is sensitive to the unique requirements of the discipline, in the process adding an extra burden to the already non-trivial task of getting to grips a complex technology." (Wheatley & Gillings, 2002: 2)
GIS has become an important and widely-used tool in archaeological analysis. However, for archaeologists that have little GIS training or time it can be difficult to get started on a project, as the quote above explains. As GIS becomes an ever bigger part of archaeology (and as more faulty studies are performed) more notice is being paid to the methods and techniques required for a proper and valid analysis. I have put together a list of some of the more useful resources that should help any archaeologist to get an understanding of the use and aplications of GIS in archaeology, as well as how to perform a thorough and accurate GIS analysis. This list is primarily made for those with access to the WWC library and archaeology lab.
- Spatial Technology and Archaeology: The Archaeological Applications of GIS. By David Wheatley and Mark Gilling. Published in 2002 by Taylor & Francis.
- Description on back cover: "This book provides a single source 'starting point' for archaeologists interested in GIS. It gives essential grounding in GIS: where it came from; what it consists of; what it does. It begins with an examination of spatial databases, the acquisition and compilation of spatial data, and the basic principles of manipulating data with GIS. The ways in which GIS can most usefully be applied to a variety of archaeological situations are then explored. The uses of GIS as a tool for management of archaeological resources, elementary statistical analysis and the use of trend surface and interpolation procedures are discussed. Predictive modelling and the analysis of visibility and intervisibility are also explained. The final chapter is developed to newer developments in the field, including three-dimensional and object-oriented GIS, context-aware fields computing and the wider implicaitons of these for archaeology. The approach is light, and technical detail is kept to a minimum. Throughout the text careful use is made of worked case-studies, geared explicitly around the unique requirements of arcaeological data. The books provides a single reference source for archaeologists - students, professional archaeologists, and academics in archaeology - and those in anthropology or related disciplines."
- This book is available from the WWC library (930.1028 W557s)
- Geographical Information Systems in Archaeology. By James Conolly and Mark Lake. Published in 2006 by Cambridge University Press.
- Description on back cover: "Geographical information systems have moved from the domain of the computer specialist into the wider archaeological community, providing it with an exciting new research method. This clearly written but rigorous book provides a comprehensive guide to the archaeological uses of GIS. Topics covered include: the theoretical context and and basics of GIS; data acquisition inclusing database design; creation of elevation models; exploratory data analysis including spatial queries; statistical spatial analysis; map algebra; spatial operations including the calculation of slope and aspect; filtering and erosion modelling; methods for analysing regions; visibility analysis; network analysis including hydrological modelling; the production of high-quality output for paper and electronic publication; and the use and production of metadata. Offering an extensive range of archaeological examples it is an invaluable source of practical information about GIS for all archaeologists, whether engaged in cultural resource management or academic research. This is an essential handbook for both the novice and the advanced user.
- This book is available from the WWC library (930.10285 C753g)
- Practical Applications of GIS for Archaeologists: A Predictive Modelling Toolkit. By Konnie Wescott and R. Joe Brandon. Published in 2000 by Taylor & Francis.
- Description on back cover: "GIS is the most powerful technological tool to be applied to archaeology since the introduction of carbon 14 dating. The most widespread use of GIS technology has been for the prediction of archaeological site locations. This book focuses on the use of GIS for archaeological predictive modelling. The contributors include internationally recognized researchers who have been at the forefront of this revolutionary integration of GIS and archaeology, as well as first generation researchers who have begun to critically apply this new technology and weigh its theoretical implications."
- This book is available from NetLibrary.
There are many journal articles and papers containing case studies and applications of GIs in archaeology. A small sample of these are available for reference in a binder in the archaeology lab. Due to copyrights I can not link to digital copies of the files here.
- GIS and Archaeology (hosted by Stanford University's Libraries and Academic Information Resources)