Integrated spatio-temporal documentation and analysis of archaeological stratifications using the Harris Matrix


The Harris Matrix (HM) is the fundamental diagrammatic representation of relative time for an archaeological site and the de facto standard for the representation of a stratigraphic sequence – the backbone for archaeological stratigraphy. It displays all uniquely identified units of stratification in a sequential diagram representing their relative temporal succession. The Harris Matrix Composer is a widely used application in the archaeological community to efficiently create and analyse HMs. However, it does not support explicit dating of HM units, which is an important information for post- excavation investigations of an archaeological site. In this paper we describe an integrated approach for a combination of stratigraphic and chronologic relations. The implicit, chronologic sequence given by the HM becomes explicit as scientists are enabled to define a hierarchical time model and assign units of the HM to temporal intervals or provide exact dating. The system maintains a consistent visual representation, which means that a correct stratigraphic layout is preserved while units are aligned to intervals of the time model. Evaluation of a real-world use case showed that this combined visualisation makes the scientific analysis and interpretation more efficient and reliable.

Congress Visual Heritage 2018. Hosted by CHNT. November 15-15, 2018. City Hall, Vienna, Austria