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Geospatial Analysis Center

GIS and Archaeology

Maps play an important role for archaeologists. GIS technology is increasingly being use in the field as it becomes easier to use and capable of greater analysis. Archeologists are using GIS to increase their capability to collect, manage, analyze and communicate their findings. GIS is a useful tool for everything from mapping patterns at archeological sites to cataloging artifacts, and is increasingly used to analyze spatial patterns.

Following are recent examples of how GIS is integrated into various aspects of the field of Archaeology:

  • Oregon State University researchers used GIS to study the distribution of late Holocene winter village sites in the Lower Salmon River Canyon
  • GIS is being used to analyze artifact depositional patterns and catalog artifacts at an ancient Mayan cave site in Belize called Actun Tunichil Muknal
  • Researchers in the ancient Roman city of Uthina in Tunisia are using map-based analysis with ArcGIS software to visualize data to aid in creating and testing hypotheses about the city's structure
  • GIS is being used to map agricultural fields in a study of a pre-Columbian irrigation system in New Mexico
  • Santa Cruz County in Arizona is using GIS technology to model archaeological sensitivity to help in the process of developmental planning for a new National Heritage Area
  • The Washington State Department of Archaeology created a GIS tool that provides current data on archaeological site locations during disasters such as oil spills

Site exploitation map in Holocene winter village

Site exploitation map in Holocene winter village.


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