Back to Introduction to Themes
Geospatial Analysis of Aguadas Ezgi Akpinar Ferrand, Benjamin Thomas III, Nicholas P. Dunning (June 2012)
Geovisualization and Analysis of Agudas: Natural or Human-made Ponds in the Southern Maya Lowlands
Water has been a principal concern for Maya people inhabiting much of the Yucatan Peninsula for millennia. As a result, studies of water management in the Maya region contribute significantly to our understanding of ancient Maya civilization and its environmental adaptations. Aguadas, water storage ponds of varying size, have been an understudied aspect of Maya water management systems. Recognizing the origins and functions of aguadas provides a more complete picture of ancient Maya water management strategies. In this study, we analyze aguadas geovisually and geospatially in the southern Maya lowlands.
Introduction to Remote Sensing data for Global Archaeology Toby Wilkinson (July 2009)
Introduction to Remote Sensing data for Global Archaeology
This document briefly introduces some of the key sources of spatial data from remote sensing sources, and a few other data types which have been particularly useful for archaeological research, and in particular, in the construction of .
Virtual globes, geotagging and global landscapes Toby Wilkinson (July 2007)
Virtual globes, geotagging and global landscapes: visualisation and database technologies in the age of the Internet
This paper raises a series of broad issues about a particular set of new technologies which have become available for Mapping Human History from Space, namely: virtual globes, such as Google Earth and NASA's WorldWind, and their relationship to online archaeological datasets. First, some of technical background to these visualisation programs is explained, especially how they stand in relationship to previous GIS approaches. Issues with the increasing trend within archaeology, to publish site locations and other archaeological information using online databases are raised; and the possibilities and problems for a global archaeological atlas and the integration of multiple databases are explored. Finally the paper touches on the possible future research applications of initiatives which use novel visualisation and integrative databases.
Quantitative approaches to the remote sensing of ancient settlements Björn Menze (July 2007)
Quantitative approaches to the remote sensing of ancient settlements in the Near East using ASTER and SRTM data
Tells, the characteristic settlement mounds of the Near East, are visible remains of the first human settlement system. Often piled up to considerable heights by the debris of millennia of settlement activity, they provide characteristic physical signatures, such as specific elevation profiles or soil changes, which – potentially – can be detected in data available from space-borne sensors. Using methods from pattern recognition and statistical learning, we systematically evaluated digital elevation models and multispectral imagery to provide means for a machine based detection and mapping of these archaeologically relevant settlement sites.
Tellspotting Andrew Sherratt (2006)
How do we know where sites are? In the arc from south-east Europe to north-west India, early farming sites often form prominent mounds (known from the Arabic term as tell settlements). Such sites were often occupied over many millennia, and some of them grew into major cities during the Bronze Age – though thereafter settlement tended to shift to new locations away from the mounds. These early settlement-mounds form characteristic features of the landscape, and in fact are visible from space. Release of data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission in 2000 has provided the opportunity to identify the positions of many known archaeological sites of this type and to recognise others. Tellspotting is now not only an agreeable hobby, but has a high-tech methodology: an invaluable tool in reconstructing settlement-history and a means of inventorizing these outstanding sources of archaeological information.
Sites and Landscapes in 3D Andrew Sherratt and Francesco Menotti (2006)
Sites and Landscapes in 3D (VRML images)
If we have elevation data (conventionally represented by contour-lines) and satellite imagery, why not combine the two? This allows a site to be represented not just in a vertical view, but as it is seen from different viewpoints. Why not combine them all, so that it can be examined from all angles, flown over, walked through? These are some examples of famous areas and sites. A hint of the future, when such representations will be routine.
Panoramas Andrew Sherratt and Toby Wilkinson (2005)
Understanding the setting of an archaeological site has two components: an experience of its location, from a human standpoint (standing, sitting, observing), and an appreciation of its position (on a map, an aerial photograph, or a satellite image). The first gives a situated view of the landscape, unlike the abstract, distanced view. Panoramas thus offer a natural complement to the vertical or near-vertical views which predominate on these web-pages.
Virtual Survey: a semi-automated tellspotting algorithm Björn Menze (2005)
Virtual Survey: a semi-automated tellspotting algorithm
Following the observation that prehistoric and early historic settlement-mounds (tell settlements) in parts of the Near and Middle East can be recognized in the SRTM 90m terrain model (Sherratt, Antiquity 2004) an algorithm has been developed to do this automatically, using current techniques of computer modeling.
Andean Civilizations: Peru, South America Andrew Sherratt and Francesco Menotti (2004)
Andean Civilizations: Peru, South America (from Space)
Few areas of the world include such spectacular environmental contrasts as the Andean coast of South America, with its coastal deserts and riverine oases, mountains and inter-montane valleys, and tropical rainforest interior. This complexity underlay the formation of the New World's indigenous civilisations, from the first temple-builders to the Inka. These developments are usefully seen by satellite, which reveals for instance the astonishing phenomenon of the Nazca lines – "seen" by shamans in spirit-flight, long before the first satellite was launched.
Sites from Satellites Andrew Sherratt (2004)
Sites from Satellites
The resolution of satellite-imagery in the public domain is constantly improving. Although images with the resolution hitherto obtainable by aerial photographs are still expensive, imagery with a resolution of 15m or better is routinely available for most parts of the world, thanks principally to NASA. For some areas, this is already better than most maps. It is especially useful in areas with strong vegetational contrasts depending on water-sources. Selected key sites are presented here, as they can be seen from space.


How to cite this page: 'Visualisation & Technology Theme', ArchAtlas, Version 4.1,, Accessed: 22 February 2019