The Tell el Daba Archaeological Information System: adding the fourth dimension to legacy datasets of long term excavations (A puzzle in 4D)


Archaeological research is dealing with the documentation and analysis of archaeological entities in space and time. During this process information is linked with a specific location and a time stamp. An archaeological Information System (AIS) organizes archaeological entities and associated information according to their specific location using a Geographical Information Systems (GIS). To end up with a stratigraphic sequence of these entities, AIS has to be accompanied by the fourth dimension – time. For this purpose the GIS-based AIS is supplemented with a time-steering tool – namely Harris Matrix Composer+ - to enable spatio-temporal analysis. Most archaeological data are based upon already excavated sites. It is crucial for the comparability of archaeological datasets to integrate these existing data for contemporary archaeological data analysis. The long-term excavation at Tell el Daba was chosen as a case study to evolve existing datasets within recent analysis tools using a georeferenced 4D-AIS. The basic research question is to examine the possibility of reconstructing undocumented and missing information. This approach of reverse excavating provides the chance to compare datasets of different provenience.

10th International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East (ICAANE)