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Chronology, uncertainty and GIS : a methodology for characterising and understanding landscapes of the ancient Near East.

Lawrence, D. and Bradbury, J. and Dunford, R. (2012) 'Chronology, uncertainty and GIS : a methodology for characterising and understanding landscapes of the ancient Near East.', eTopoi : journal for Ancient Studies., Special Volume 3 . pp. 1007-1014.


Modern archaeological research is confronted with a legacy of projects which stretch back to the early 20th century. Alongside this, massive amounts of disparate data are being generated by on-going excavation and survey. Scholars are also beginning to use satellite imagery to interpret and re-interpret archaeological data-sets both old and new. In the Near East this disparity is compounded by the diversity of dating schemes and interpretative frameworks used by archaeologists studying the region. Faced with these issues, how is it possible to combine such data into a coherent and comprehensive format, adding value to both old and on-going research projects? The Fragile Crescent (AHRC) and Vanishing Landscape (Leverhulme) Projects (Durham University) aim to draw together data derived from archaeological surveys and satellite imagery analysis into a single analytical framework. The projects have developed a methodology for understanding, analysing and presenting disparate chronological, morphological and methodological data across the Ancient Near East. This paper will illustrate how researchers have been able to revitalise old data, adding value through new approaches towards archaeological sites and landscapes via satellite imagery, remote sensing and spatial analyses. We will examine how integrating multiple chronological systems and concepts of ‘uncertainty’ into a single GIS/Database framework can allow for a robust and detailed multi-scalar archaeological landscape analysis. Using case studies from the Fragile Crescent/Vanishing Landscape Projects we will discuss how this methodology has led to new interpretations of urban and non-urban landscapes of the Ancient Near East.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:The paper has been published under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License:
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:16 November 2017
Date of first online publication:2012
Date first made open access:No date available

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