Humanities

ARCH6083 Archaeological Mapping with GIS

Module Overview

Having successfully completed the module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of mapping using Geographic Information Systems, ‘geomatic’ survey methods and the creation and documentation of spatial datasets for archaeology. You will be able critically to analyse your own and others applications of such mapping and survey technologies.

Co-ordinator: Dr David Wheatley

Module Details

Title: Archaeological Mapping with GIS
Code: ARCH6083
Year: 1
Semester: 2

CATS points: 20 ECTS points: 10
Level: Postgraduate Taught

Aims and objectives

Aims

The aims of this module are to:

  • introduce you to the theory and practice of mapping archaeological data and ‘geomatic’ survey.
  • introduce you to the specifics of using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software and Global Positioning System (GPS) hardware and software.

Objectives

Knowledge and Understanding
Having successfully completed the module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of mapping using Geographic Information Systems, ‘geomatic’ survey methods and the creation and documentation of spatial datasets for archaeology. You will be able critically to analyse your own and others applications of such mapping and survey technologies.

Key Transferable Skills
The module also develops transferable (key) skills that will help you to:

  • plan, implement and write-up a short project;
  • present methodology and results in a coherent, structured report;
  • solve problems by referring to documentation and online sources;
  • survey with a GPS
  • use GIS software for mapping and presentation

Syllabus

This module aims to acquaint you with Geographic Information Systems and their use for mapping archaeological sites and landscapes, and the broader context of their application to a range of archaeological research and management problems. Students will gain practical experience of how to design, implement and document spatial databases for archaeology. You will also be introduced to the acquisition and processing of spatial data from remote-sensing and from ‘geomatic’ survey methods such as differential GPS.

Learning and teaching

Study time allocation

Contact hours: 18
Private study hours: 182
Total study time: 200 hours

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching Methods Include

  • lectures on the theory and practice of GIS mapping and ‘geomatic’ survey;
  • practical classes in which you will be encouraged to develop practical ability to design and implement spatial databases, and to conduct a ‘geomatic’ survey;
  • seminars with researchers who are actively engaged in the research and
  • development of new approaches to archaeology using related technologies.

Learning Activities Include

  • participation in group supervised practicals and in self-study.
  • use of online learning resources
  • use of library resources
  • preparation, design and participation in presentations of specific aspects relating to the module.

Innovative or Special Features

  • The module has extensive online support in the form of course documentation, example data, module specific and general tutorials, links to other online resources, an online reference database that can be augmented by students as the module progresses, and a module discussion list.
  • The computing laboratory has a range of manuals, tutorial texts and CD-ROMs relevant to topics covered on this module.
  • The module is optionally supported by a number of specialist visits/ visiting speaker seminars forming part of the Archaeological Computing Systems module.

Resources and reading list

Wheatley D & Gillings M 2002 Spatial technology and archaeology. (London: Taylor & Francis.)

Burrough, P. A. and R. A. McDonnell 1998. Principles of geographic information systems. (Oxford, Oxford University Press).

DeMers, M. N., 1997, Fundamentals of geographic information systems. New York, John Wiley & Sons

Gillings, M. and A. L. Wise, 1998 GIS guide to good practice. Archaeology Data Service (Oxford, Oxbow)

Worboys, M. F., 1995, GIS : A Computing Perspective. London, Taylor & Francis.

You will be using ArcGIS throughout this unit so you may choose to buy an appropriate ArcGIS guide. As these change very rapidly it is best to contact the module convener direct for current suggestions.

Also look through:

CSA Newsletter (CAD sections)

Internet Archaeology

Assessment

Assessment methods

Methods of Assessment: Informal

Informal feedback assessment will be provided to you as you progress through the module. This is aimed at highlighting areas needing special additional attention and identifying new lines of inquiry and development. Specifically, informal feedback assessments will be provided via:

  • Discussion list supervised by module convener
  • Tutorials
  • Supervised practicals

Methods of Assessment: Formal
  • Assessment method and contribution to final mark (%)
  • Essay (c. 3000 words), 60%
  • Assessed Practical 1 (c. 1500 words), 20%
  • Assessed Practical 2 (c. 1500 words), 20%

Relationship between the teaching, learning and assessment methods and the planned learning outcomes

All teaching and learning outcomes are assessed in the course of the module via three formal assessments – two practical projects accompanied by appropriate documentation and an essay dealing with the background context of your activities. The successful submission of these assignments is supported by the teaching and learning methods described above. At all stages support will be given to assist in preparation for and of the assignments and feedback will be provided following each submission. Formal training in skills specific to each assignment, including the structuring of research documents, the documentation of practical computing work and other skills, will be provided as required either within the module itself or as an element of the first semester research skills courses.

The assessments relate to your learning outcomes in combination as well as specifically. The module knowledge and understanding outcomes will be demonstrated in assessments by a critical awareness of what, how and why GIS mapping and ‘geomatic’ survey techniques have been applied to archaeology. You will have a systematic understanding of these techniques and be able to apply these to your own research to a professional standard. In terms of cognitive skills your assessments will be expected to demonstrate your own advanced evaluation of GIS methodologies and research approaches and also to develop creative, appropriate applications of your computing knowledge. Throughout the assessment process, both formal and informal, you will be expected to deal with complex issues in a systematic way and to work through the design and implementation of your assessment goals creatively and autonomously.