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Encyclopedia > Computational archaeology

Computational archaeology describes computer-based analytical methods for the study of long-term human behaviour and behavioural evolution. As with other sub-disciplines that have prefixed 'computational' to their name (e.g. computational biology, computational physics and computational sociology), the term is reserved for (generally mathematical) methods that could not realistically be performed without the aid of a computer. Computational biology is an interdisciplinary field that applies the techniques of computer science and applied mathematics to problems inspired by biology. ... Computational physics is the study and implementation of numerical algorithms in order to solve problems in physics for which a quantitative theory already exists. ... Computational sociology is a recently developed branch of sociology that uses computation to analyze social phenomena. ...


Computational archaeology may include the use of geographical information systems (GIS), especially when applied to spatial analyses such as viewshed analysis and least-cost path analysis as these approaches are sufficiently computationally complex that they are extremely difficult if not impossible to implement without the processing power of a computer. Likewise, some forms of statistical and mathematical modelling, and the computer simulation of human behaviour and behavioural evolution using software tools such as Swarm or Repast would also be impossible to calculate without computational aid. The application of a variety of other forms of complex and bespoke software to solve archaeological problems, such as human perception and movement within built environments Alabamausing software such as University College London's Space Syntax program, also falls under the term 'computational archaeology'. GIS redirects here. ... A viewshed is an area of land, water, and other environmental elements that is visible from a fixed vantage point. ... For Wikipedia statistics, see m:Statistics Statistics is the science and practice of developing human knowledge through the use of empirical data expressed in quantitative form. ... Mathematics is commonly defined as the study of patterns of structure, change, and space; more informally, one might say it is the study of figures and numbers. Mathematical knowledge is constantly growing, through research and application, but mathematics itself is not usually considered a natural science. ... A mathematical model is an abstract model that uses mathematical language to describe the behaviour of a system. ... It has been suggested that simulation software be merged into this article or section. ... Human Behaviour is Icelandic singer Björks first solo single, taken from the album Debut. ... Swarm is the name of a multi-agent simulation package, useful for simulating the interaction of agents (social or biological) and their emergent collective behaviour. ... The Recursive Porous Agent Simulation Toolkit (Repast) is an agent-based modeling toolkit. ... Affiliations University of London Russell Group LERU EUA ACU Golden Triangle G5 Website http://www. ... The term space syntax encompasses a set of theories and techniques for the analysis of spatial configurations. ...


Computational archaeology is also known as archaeological informatics (Burenhult 2002, Huggett and Ross 2004) or archaeoinformatics.

Contents

Origins and objectives

In recent years, it has become clear that archaeologists will only be able to harvest the full potential of quantitative methods and computer technology if they become aware of the specific pitfalls and potentials inherent in the archaeological data and research process. AI science is an emerging discipline that attempts to uncover, quantitatively represent and explore specific properties and patterns of archaeological information. Fundamental research on data and methods for a self-sufficient archaeological approach to information processing produces quantitative methods and computer software specifically geared towards archaeological problem solving and understanding. Archaeology or sometimes in American English archeology (from the Greek words αρχαίος = ancient and λόγος = word/speech) is the study of human cultures through the recovery, documentation and analysis of material remains, including architecture, artefacts, biofacts, human remains, and landscapes. ... A scale for measuring mass A quantitative property is one that exists in a range of magnitudes, and can therefore be measured. ... In general, information processing is the changing (processing) of information in any manner detectable by an observer. ... Computer software (or simply software) refers to one or more computer programs and data held in the storage of a computer for some purpose. ...


AI science is capable of complementing and enhancing almost any area of scientific archaeological research. It incorporates a large part of the methods and theories developed in quantitative archaeology since the 1960s but goes beyond former attempts at quantifying archaeology by exploring ways to represent general archaeological information and problem structures as computer algorithms and data structures. This opens archaeological analysis to a wide range of computer-based information processing methods fit to solve problems of great complexity. It also promotes a formalized understanding of the discipline's research objects and creates links between archaeology and other quantitatice disciplines, both in methods and software technology. Its agenda can be split up in two major research themes that complement each other: For the scientific journal named Science, see Science (journal). ... Processual archaeology is a form of archaeological theory which arguably had its genesis in 1958 with Willey and Phillips work, Method and Theory in American Archeology in which the pair stated that American archeology is anthropology or it is nothing (Willey and Phillips, 1958:2). ... Flowcharts are often used to represent algorithms. ... A binary tree, a simple type of branching linked data structure. ...

  1. Fundamental research (theoretical AI science) on the structure, properties and possibilities of archaeological data, inference and knowledge building. This includes modeling and managing fuzziness and uncertainty in archaeological data, scale effects, optimal sampling strategies and spatio-temporal effects.
  2. Development of computer algorithms and software (applied AI science) that make this theoretical knowledge available to the user.

There is already a large body of literature on the use of quantitative methods and computer-based analysis in archaeology. The development of methods and applications is best reflected in the annual publications of the CAA conference (see weblinks at bottom). At least two journals, the Italian Archeologia e Calcolator and the British Archaeological Computing Newsletter, are dedicated to archaeological computing methods. AI Science contributes to many fundamental research topics, including but not limited to: Inference is the act or process of deriving a conclusion based solely on what one already knows. ... Fuzzy measure theory considers a number of special classes of measures, each of which is characterized by a special property. ... “Uncertain” redirects here. ... Sampling is that part of statistical practice concerned with the selection of individual observations intended to yield some knowledge about a population of concern, especially for the purposes of statistical inference. ...

AI science advocates a formalized approach to archaeological inference and knowledge building. It is interdisciplinary in nature, borrowing, adapting and enhancing method and theory from numerous other disciplines such as computer science (e.g. algorithm and software design, database design and theory), geoinformation science (spatial statistics and modeling, geographic information systems), artificial intelligence research (supervised classification, fuzzy logic), ecology (point pattern analysis), applied mathematics (graph theory, probability theory) and statistics. This article is about the field of statistics. ... Bayesian refers to probability and statistics -- either methods associated with the Reverend Thomas Bayes (ca. ... Probability is the likelihood that something is the case or will happen. ... Fuzzy measure theory considers a number of special classes of measures, each of which is characterized by a special property. ... “Uncertain” redirects here. ... GIS or Geographic Information Systems has over the last 10 years become an important tool in archaeology. ... Stratification gooberini went to lousville to dance on a praire and then he went down the hill to hang out with jarry. ... In archaeology, an artifact or artefact is any object made or modified by a human culture, and often one later recovered by some archaeological endeavor. ... Visibility graph analysis (VGA) is a method of analysing the inter-visibility connections within buildings or urban networks. ... Archaeological field survey is the methodological process by which archaeologists (often landscape archaeologists) collect information about the location, distribution and organisation of past human cultures across a large area (e. ... In science, a process is any method (or event) that results in a transformation in a physical or biological object, a substance or an organism. ... This article is about the general term. ... Predictive modelling is the process by which a model is created or chosen to try to best predict the probability of an outcome. ... Cultural resources management (CRM), also referred to as Cultural heritage management (CHM) is a branch of archaeology concerned with the identification, maintenance, and preservation of significant cultural sites. ... For other uses, see Scientific classification (disambiguation). ... AI redirects here. ... Rescue excavation in Southwark, London by the Museum of London Excavation is the best-known and most commonly used technique within the science of archaeology. ... This article is about the simulation technology. ... Interdisciplinary work is that which integrates concepts across different disciplines. ... Computer science, or computing science, is the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and their implementation and application in computer systems. ... This article is about computing. ... Geoinformation is a shorter name of Geographic Information. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... A geographic information system (GIS) is a system for managing data that has a spatial specialized form of an information system. ... AI redirects here. ... Fuzzy logic is derived from fuzzy set theory dealing with reasoning that is approximate rather than precisely deduced from classical predicate logic. ... For the journal, see Ecology (journal). ... Applied mathematics is a branch of mathematics that concerns itself with the mathematical techniques typically used in the application of mathematical knowledge to other domains. ... A drawing of a graph. ... Probability theory is the branch of mathematics concerned with analysis of random phenomena. ... This article is about the field of statistics. ...


Training and research

Scientific progress in archaeology, as in any other discipline, requires building abstract, generalized and transferable knowledge about the processes that underlie past human actions and their manifestations. Quantification provides the ultimate known way of abstracting and extending our scientific abilities past the limits of intuitive cognition. Quantitative approaches to archaeological information handling and inference constitute a critical body of scientific methods in archaeological research. They provide the tools, algebra, statistics and computer algorithms, to process information too voluminous or complex for purely cognitive, informal inference. They also build a bridge between archaeology and numerous quantitative sciences such as geophysics, geoinformation sciences and applied statistics. And they allow archaeological scientists to design and carry out research in a formal, transparent and comprehensible way. In language and logic, quantification is a construct that specifies the extent of validity of a predicate, that is the extent to which a predicate holds over a range of things. ... Intuition has many meanings across many cultures, including: quick and ready insight seemingly independent of previous experiences and empirical knowledge immediate apprehension or cognition knowledge or conviction gained by intuition the power or faculty of attaining to direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought and inference. ... This article is about the branch of mathematics. ... This article is about the field of statistics. ... Flowcharts are often used to represent algorithms. ... Cognitive The scientific study of how people obtain, retrieve, store and manipulate information. ... Inference is the act or process of deriving a conclusion based solely on what one already knows. ... ‹ The template below has been proposed for deletion. ... Geoinformation is a shorter name of Geographic Information. ... This article is about the field of statistics. ...


Being an emerging field of research, AI science is currently a rather dispersed discipline in need of stronger, well-funded and institutionalized embedding, especially in academic teaching. Despite its evident progress and usefulness, today's quantitative archaeology is often inadequately represented in archaeological training and education. Part of this problem may be misconceptions about the seeming conflict between mathematics and humanistic archaeology. Humanism is a system of thought that defines a socio-political doctrine (-ism) whose bounds exceed those of locally developed cultures, to include all of humanity and all issues common to human beings. ...


Nevertheless, digital excavation technology, modern heritage management and complex research issues require skilled students and researchers to develop new, efficient and reliable means of processing an ever-growing mass of untackled archaeological data and research problems. Thus, providing students of archaeology with a solid background in quantitative sciences such as mathematics, statistics and computer sciences seems today more important than ever. The term archaeological excavation has a double meaning. ... Cultural resources management (CRM), also referred to as Cultural heritage management (CHM) is a branch of archaeology concerned with the identification, maintenance, and preservation of significant cultural sites. ...


Currently, universities based in the UK provide the largest share of study programmes for prospective quantitative archaeologists, with many institutes in Italy developing a strong profile quickly (see links at the bottom). In Germany, the country's first lecturer's position in AI science ("Archäoinformatik") was established in 2005 at the University of Kiel.


The most important platform for students and researchers in quantitative archaeology and AI science is the international conference on Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA) which has been in existence for more than 30 years now and is held in a different city of Europe each year. Vienna's city archaeology unit also hosts an annual event that is quickly growing in international importance (see links at bottom).


Employment opportunities

As a general rule, the archaeological job market has insufficient capacities to offer employment for all of the subject's graduates. Training in AI science will provide students with knowledge and skills related to a number of key qualifications and technologies that are sought for in many sectors of today's job market. In archaeology itself, prospective fields of work include heritage management, archaeological IT consulting and software development, digital excavation management, digital archives and museums, digital publishing (e.g. Internet Archaeology), and teaching and training quantitative archaeologists. Internet Archaeology http://intarch. ...


See also

  • Burenhult 2002: Burenhult, G. (ed.): Archaeological Informatics: Pushing The Envelope. CAA2001. Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology. BAR International Series 1016, Archaeopress, Oxford.
  • Huggett and Ross 2004: J. Hugget, S. Ross (eds.): Archaeological Informatics. Beyond Technology. Internet Archaeology 15. http://intarch.ac.uk/journal/issue15/
  • Schlapke 2000: Schlapke, M. Die "Archäoinformatik" am Thüringischen Landesamt für Archäologische Denkmalpflege, Ausgrabungen und Funde im Freistaat Thüringen, 5, 2000, S. 1-5.
  • Zemanek 2004: Zemanek, H.: Archaeological Information - An information scientist looks on archaeology. In: Ausserer, K.F., Börner, w., Goriany, M. & Karlhuber-Vöckl, L. (eds) 2004. Enter the Past. The E-way into the four Dimensions of Cultural Heritage. CAA 2003, Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology. BAR International Series 1227, Archaeopress, Oxford, 16-26.
  • Archaeological Computing Newsletter journal homepage
  • Archeologia e Calcolatori journal homepage
  • Computational archaeology

Internet Archaeology http://intarch. ...

External links

Studying AI science

Research groups and institutions

  • University College London: Material Culture and Data Science Research Group
  • University of Southampton: Archaeological Computing Research Group
  • University of Birmingham: HP Visual and Spatial Technology Centre Archaeological Computing Division
  • Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas (FORTH), Center for Cultural Informatics
  • Alexandria Archive Institute (AAI)
  • Internet and Open Source for Archaeology is a portal dedicated to the collection and creation of resources to help archaeologists eveluate open source alternatives to proprietary software.

Important conferences

  • Computer Applications and quantitative methods in Archaeology (CAA)
  • "Workshop Computer und Archäologie" at Vienna

Archaeological IT service providers

  • Archaeology Data Service
  • Oxford ArchDigital
  • Intrasis GIS
  • ArcTron (in German)
  • Open Context: experimental system for archaeological data-sharing

  Results from FactBites:
 
Archaeology (5987 words)
Archaeology (or archeology) is the scientific study of human cultures through the recovery, documentation and analysis of material remains, including architecture, artifacts, biofacts, human remains, and landscapes.
The next major figure in the development of archaeology in the UK was Mortimer Wheeler, whose highly disciplined approach to excavation and systematic coverage of much of the country in the 1920s and 1930s brought the science on swiftly.
It was now possible to study archaeology as a subject in universities and even schools, and by the end of the 20th century nearly all professional archaeologists, at least in developed countries, were graduates.
Computational archaeology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1277 words)
Computational archaeology describes computer-based analytical methods for the study of long-term human behaviour and behavioural evolution.
computational biology, computational physics and computational sociology), the term is reserved for (generally mathematical) methods that could not realistically be performed without the aid of a computer.
Computational archaeology may include the use of geographical information systems (GIS), especially when applied to spatial analyses such as viewshed analysis and least-cost path analysis as these approaches are sufficiently computationally complex that they are extremely difficult if not impossible to implement without the processing power of a computer.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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