8-9 and 14 November 2018 – GIS days

GIS days

UvA and VU

3 EC

N.B. UPDATED PROGRAMME! ARCHON organises a GIS course at University of Amsterdam and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam on 8-9 and 14 November for RMA and PhD students in archaeology. Important: attendees must bring their own laptop!

The course will consist of

  • a one-day introductory course in QGIS on 8 November by Jitte Waagen (at UvA);
  • a special topics session on 9 November where you can bring your own data and discuss your project with teachers and other students, led by Philip Verhagen (at UvA).
  • an open afternoon seminar on 14 November, where researchers from the Netherlands will present on-going GIS projects (at VU), with a keynote lecture by dr. Laure Nuninger (CNRS/University of Bourgogne-Franche Comté, France);

Attendance is free of charge for ARCHON members.

The deadline for registration is November 2; please register by sending an email to the ARCHON coordinator (secretary@archonline.nl) with the subject heading ‘ARCHON GIS days’, and specify whether you want to  sign up for the whole event, only for the QGIS course or only for the seminar + special topics session.

ARCHON students can obtain

1 ECT by attending the QGIS course on 8 Nov and finishing the accompanying assignments OR by participating in the seminar and the special topics session on 9 and 14 Nov;
2 ECTS by attending both;
3 ECTS by also handing in a written report.


8 Nov 09:00 – 12:30 Introduction to QGIS; Data editing
13:30 – 17:00 Basics of data analysis; Visualisation and mapping

9 Nov 09:00 – 12:30 Special topics: viewsheds, least-cost paths, predictive modelling
13:30 – 17:00 Bring Your Own Data

Venue: University of Amsterdam, Turfdraagsterpad 9, 1012 XT Amsterdam, room BG3.09

14 Nov 13:00 – 17:00 GIS-day 2018, with presentations by Laure Nuninger, Mark Groenhuijzen, Maurice de Kleijn, Jitte Waagen and Marina Gavryushkina

Venue: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV Amsterdam, room HG10A-00


Laure Nuninger (CNRS/University of Bourgogne-Franche Comté, Besançon, France)

Considering variations among regional case studies : settlement pattern and land use dynamic during antiquity

The structure and evolution of settlement systems are objects of study for archaeologists and geographers. The increase or decrease of the number of settlements is frequently used to assess the interactions between ancient societies and their environment. Behind this quantitative indicator, the pattern and the spatial extent of a settlement can vary and relate to different rates of  “human pressure” on the environment. That’s why, on the past ten years, spatial analysis of settlement patterns has progressed substantially, paying much more attention to the role of socio-cultural factors and the analysis of settlement pattern dynamics. After, a brief  story of the interdisciplinary research conducted through several projects from the 90’s, this presentation will focus on the quantitative and qualitative indicators developed to characterise the spatial and hierarchical structure of a settlements’ scatter. A particular attention will be devoted to the conceptual framework facilitating comparisons between various chrono-cultural contexts.

Mark Groenhuijzen (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

Modelling movement in the Dutch part of the Roman limes: the role of graph models and cost functions

Least-cost path (LCP) modelling has become a consistent part of the archaeological study of movement, but the exact implementation varies throughout its application (e.g. Herzog 2014). Researchers often make implicit choices early in their studies using LCPs but fail to acknowledge the extent to which these choices influence their results. One of the issues raised is the manner in which LCP modelling is implemented in GIS applications, and the readily available GIS tools often operate as a black box. Another concern is that the direct use of rasters mostly allows only for the movement in eight directions (i.e. the neighbouring cells), while better results can be achieved from allowing ‘knight’s moves’ or even more complex moves. White (2012) has developed a method to calculate LCPs over a network rather than a raster that would be able to overcome these and other issues, but that has not been developed further.

Using a case study in the Dutch part of the Roman limes, this paper presents a comparison between LCPs calculated over a regular raster-based network (using eight directions), networks that include knight’s moves and more complex moves, and a network based on a hexagonal grid (an approach more frequently used in ecological studies). Furthermore, this paper gives attention to the role of the cost function that is used for modelling movement through the landscape.

Maurice de Kleijn (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

Simulating past land use patterns; The impact of the Romans on the Lower-Rhine delta in the first century AD

This presentation introduces a modelling framework to simulate past land-use patterns. The simulation framework can be used to test hypotheses on human interactions with the natural landscape in the past and is able to address the interrelationship between various socio-cultural drivers and the biophysical environmental. The framework simulates land-use patterns based on estimated regional demands for various types of use and local assessments of suitable locations for these uses. To balance the demand for land for different types of use with the supply of suitable locations a logit-type approach is applied that simulates the competition for land.

The proposed model is used to test the impact of the Roman military and vici inhabitants on the land use for the Lower-Rhine delta. It re-evaluates the hypothesis that 50% of the cereals consumed by the Romans in AD 70 and AD140 were produced locally. The results show that for AD 70 it is likely that the cereals could be produced locally, but for AD 140 this is less probable. The research provides interesting leads that could inform new hypotheses for the region. In addition this presentation demonstrates the potential and applicability of this approach for other areas.

Jitte Waagen (University of Amsterdam)

Drones and droughts

The drought of last summer led to attention for the archeological traces in the landscape that suddenly became visible. Alterted by the circulation images from England in particular, journalists asked about the situation in the Netherlands. It is clear that the Netherlands does not have a basic infrastructure (anymore) for aerial photography. Previously, the UvA did have an infrastructure with the work of Willy Metz. Due to an initiative of glider pilots in the Noordoostpolder we spontaneously started working together. We opened a database and a separate email address. Enthusiastic glider pilots, drone pilots and even a KLM pilot decided on invitation to send various photos to a UvA database. We now have approx. 200 images of different quality in the database. It is expected that 2018 will not be the last dry summer and that such a situation is likely to return in 2019. That provokes the question: how to proceed?

In this presentation I will explain the state of the project at the moment, and look forward to the possibilities for further development in the near future. In particular, the technical aspects of the project will be discussed, with regard to the collection of drone data, photogrammetric processing of aerial photographs, processing of such in GIS and research possibilities in the context of spatial analysis and predictive maps.

Marina Gavryushkina (Leiden University)

Pushing Possibilities: 3D GIS Spatial Analysis of Chlorakas-Palloures, Cyprus

                Advances in digital recording technology have made it common practice to document three-dimensional data during excavations by generating photogrammetry models alongside traditional plan and section drawings. Digital models of excavated sites certainly provide a useful tool for visualizing archaeological materials and engaging the public. Yet, the analytical potential of this documentation approach is yet to be fully explored. In this paper I discuss whether and how photogrammetry models can be combined with spatial data recorded using a Total Station to create a volumetric 3D GIS representation of an excavation that supports intra-site stratigraphic analysis.

                Using the capabilities of ESRI ArcScene, I modeled three adjacent excavation trenches at the Chalcolithic site of Chlorakas-Palloures, Cyprus using three different methods for recreating the depth of stratigraphic deposits. Along with being able to depict features and materials found within the interior of the trench, the resulting models can be joined with the excavation database and easily queried within an intuitive, user-friendly interface. This approach makes it possible to find spatial correlations between stratigraphic units within different trenches that may have been overlooked during excavation.

                The results illustrate how 3D data recorded in the field can be utilized to aid stratigraphic analysis beyond the capabilities of 2D plan and section drawings. Although more research is required in order to better capture the depth of stratigraphic layers for the purposes of volumetric modeling, this promising approach may be particularly helpful for analyzing sites with complex stratigraphy and extensive post-depositional processes.