Using 3D GIS Platforms to Analyse and Interpret the Past

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter


The diffusion of digital technologies has strongly affected the way scholars and researchers use and perceive the archaeological information detected during the field investigation process. Archaeologists are still only beginning to realize the full potential of these applications beyond the attraction of providing visually engaging documentation and focus on the analytical and interpretive power. Today, digital instruments are used in archaeology at any level, and their employment increases the possibilities to document and visualize the information detected during investigation campaigns. In particular, the recent development of powerful visualization platforms, such as virtual reality or the three-dimensional Geographic Information System (3DGIS), and the introduction and diffusion of digital acquisition tools have provided the opportunity to fully visualize and study in three dimensions (3D) the spatial and temporal relations between the fragmented information detected on-site.
The combination of these technologies and the construction of more and more functional field workflows of data acquisition allow for defining new solutions to manage and analyse large three-dimensional data sets of archaeological information, opening new discussions concerning the theoretical and methodological implications connected with the introduction of these new approaches in the field, and highlighting archaeological information previously impossible to detect.
These new and non-conventional field documentation strategies give new possibilities and dimensions on how to approach the material and inevitably provide archaeologists with the opportunity to formulate new research questions. This chapter will discuss how the development and use of such new simulation systems are affecting the way archaeologists retrieve and analyse material detected in the field in support of more accurate archaeological interpretations.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Archaeology


  • 3D GIS, GIS, Archaeological Practice, Archaeological Methods and Theory.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDigital Methods and Remote Sensing in Archaeology
Subtitle of host publicationArchaeology in the Age of Sensing
EditorsMaurizio Forte, Stefano Campana
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-40658-9
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-40656-5
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Publication categoryResearch

Publication series

NameQuantitative Methods in the Humanities and Social Sciences
ISSN (Print)2199-0956
ISSN (Electronic)2199-0964

Related research output

Maurizio Forte, Nevio Danelon, Elisa Biancifiori, Nicolo Dell'Unto & Nicola Lercari, 2015, Çatalhöyük 2015 Archive Report: by members of the Çatalhöyük Research Project. Haddow, S. (ed.). p. 215-247

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in Report

Ashley Lingle, Nicolo Dell'Unto, Lindsay Der, Sean Doyle, Kathryn Killackey, Arkadius Klimowicz, Lynn Meskell, Phil Parkes & Burcu Tung, 2015, Çatalhöyük 2015 Archive Report: by members of the Çatalhöyük Research Project. Haddow, S. (ed.). p. 275-289

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Related activities

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2018 May 14

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

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