ARCHAEOLOGICAL MODELLING

About me

I’m a PhD student at the University of East Anglia (UK) studying Landscape Archaeology. My research is on the distribution of archaeological artefacts and settlement in East Anglia, concentrating on the differences between early, middle and late Anglo-Saxon periods. I’m interested in the environmental factors which affected the positions of settlement between these historic periods and to search for areas of abnormally high or low concentrations of archaeology. The datasets and techniques I use are identical to those used for archaeological predictive modelling, which some countries and regions incorporate into their cultural heritage management (CHM) strategies. The use of these techniques for academic research is normally not criticised but their use for heritage management is.

Article 5 of the Valletta Agreement (1992) states that; ‘Governments have a duty to see that the interests of archaeology and of development are judiciously weighed against each other’. As a result, some countries have turned to archaeological predictive modelling as part of their cultural heritage management. For inductive predictive modelling, the location of archaeology artefacts and settlement is predicted on the basis of various factors, which broadly fall into two categories; environmental and social. Whilst datasets for environmental factors are available, social datasets are not.

The main criticisms are that predictive models used for CHM are self fulfilling, environmentally deterministic and the datasets they are based on are biased. Exponents of their use for CHM say that such models same time and simplifies administration.

I feel that there should be a place to discuss (and hopefully reach agreement on) these fundamental differences and hence I offer this blog. If your research is in this area or you work in cultural heritage management and use such maps I would like to hear your views on this subject.

 

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April 21, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment