ID20: Geospatial technologies in mountain archaeology
Geospatial technologies in mountain archaeology
Assigned to Synthesis Workshop
5. Probing the past, predicting the future – developing adaptive strategies in mountain regions under future climates
GIS, spatial analysis, remote sensing, LiDAR, landscape modelling, photogrammetry, SfM, pattern recognition
The use of computational methods to acquire, analyse and model spatial data is commonplace in modern archaeology. However, the application of these methods to mountain environments require specific adjustments. In this session we will investigate the recent developments in geospatial technologies for mountain archaeology. We accept papers focusing on the use of GIS for remote sensing, spatial analysis and landscape modelling. We are also interested in contributions addressing the use of photogrammetry and airborne laser scanner for modelling land surface and detecting archaeological features.
Abstract ID 480 | Date: 2022-09-13 16:00 – 16:10 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: SOWI – Seminar room SR1 |
Department of Historical and Classical Studies, NTNU, Trondheim, Norway.
Keywords: Glacial Archaeology, Climate Change, Site Monitoring
FONNSAT was a pilot project, carried out by the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) and NTNU. The project was financed by the Directorate for Cultural Heritage in Norway (Riksantikvaren). The aim of the project was to combine available satellite products with other datasets and expert knowledge into tools for managing archaeological ice patches. In this presentation, I will describe the methodology employed with examples and results from this pilot project. Satellite monitoring will be an important method in the future as more widespread melting and loss of sites is predicted.
Abstract ID 686 | Date: 2022-09-13 16:10 – 16:20 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: SOWI – Seminar room SR1 |
Carrer, Francesco (1); Cavulli, Fabio (2); Armigliato, Alessandro (1)
1: Newcastle University, United Kingdom
2: University of Naples Federico II, Italy
Keywords: Spatial Analysis, Excavation, Intra-Site, Upland, Dolomites
Upland archaeological contexts are often characterised by ephemeral structures and complex biographies, which largely prevent the interpretation of their function and abandonment. This is primarily associated with the seasonal use of some of these sites, which affects the representativity and quantity of the material culture recorded during archaeological investigations. Besides, specific taphonomic conditions of the uplands can be detrimental for the preservation of these contexts and their spatial organisation. Intra-site spatial analysis represents a useful tool to overcome these limitations. Applications to ethnoarchaeological contexts have shown that these methods can identify meaningful spatial patterns of artefacts and ecofacts within seasonal settlements. Spatial interpolation has been used to map geochemical markers of human activity, and to compare them with the known intra-site activity areas. Less work has been done on spatial variability and local association within excavation grids, to explore clustering or dispersion of specific markers. All these ethnoarchaeological case studies have enabled different methods and approaches to be tested. However, they have been rarely applied to real archaeological case studies. In this paper, some of these methods will be combined and applied to an early-medieval archaeological site excavated in the upland sector of the Belluno Dolomites (Italian Alps).
The site is located in Busa delle Vette, within the Dolomiti National Park, at 1850 m above the sea level. Archaeological investigations carried out between 2016 and 2018 as part of the UPLanD project, uncovered a dry-stone hut which underwent several phases of reconfiguration and abandonment. A large number of artefacts (potsherds, metal objects) and ecofacts (charred seeds, charred wood, animal bones) were recovered during the excavation. The interior of the hut was characterised by a dark-earth-looking deposit, that were sampled for botanical and geochemical analysis. Debris counting and soil sampling were based on an excavation grid of 0.5×0.5 m resolution, which produced a remarkable spatial dataset.
Spatial analysis has been applied to identify patterns in the archaeological record, which might provide some useful information on the history and function of this structure. The results of this case study will influence other intra-site analysis in upland contexts. The technical and interpretative solutions implemented in this case study will contribute to advance intra-site spatial analysis in mountain archaeology.
Abstract ID 866 | Date: 2022-09-13 16:20 – 16:30 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: SOWI – Seminar room SR1 |
Newcastle University, United Kingdom
Keywords: Soil Erosion, Rusle, Landscape Modelling, Historic Character, Apennines
Developing more sustainable agricultural systems represents a challenge and urgent global venture. Over the long term, rural activities have given rise to a wide variety of historic landscapes. Historic Landscape Characterisation (HLC) uses a qualitative but formalised method to map historic landscapes' chronological and spatial complexity. Meanwhile, in environmental studies, the diachronic land-use-land cover (LULC) analysis has helped illustrate how different anthropogenic activities have altered the soil erosion rate in specific areas. Modelling can provide a quantitative and consistent approach to estimating soil erosion under a wide range of conditions. RUSLE (Revisited Universal Soil Loss Equation) model has been applied to infer soil loss at a regional scale. RUSLE modellers use LULC as a proxy to calibrate the soil erosion vulnerability.
This study proposes an innovative methodology that combines both the historical/cultural and the environmental values of LULC to inform the development of a model to evaluate the increasing/decreasing soil erosion rate. The diachronic analysis of historical features (mapped as HLC types) informs the estimation of LULC, which characterised a landscape. At the same time, these features had an impact on local soil erosion rates. In this study, the HLC types have been employed to define the C and P factors, the two most challenging factors to be determined in the RUSLE equation.
The methodology proposed has been tested in the Tuscan – Emilian Apennines historical landscape (Vetto – Italy). Environmental sustainability and historic landscape conservation are typically treated as two separate fields. Still, this research proposes a new way to embrace cultural and natural values as components of the same landscape management plans
Abstract ID 441 | Date: 2022-09-13 16:30 – 16:40 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: SOWI – Seminar room SR1 |
Ullrich, Burkart (1); De Neef, Wieke (2); Fediuk, Annika (1); Royar, Niklas (1); Rücker, Carsten (3); Blum, Jonas (4); Turck, Rouven (4)
1: EASTERN ATLAS, Germany
2: Ghent University, Belgium
3: BASE, Deutschland
4: University of Zurich, Switzerland
Keywords: Mountain Archeaology, Near Surface Geophysics
This paper introduce in the application of cutting edge geophysical survey technologies in alpine archaeology on the example of the ancient mining site „Les Tseppes" in Valais, Suisse. In 2020, the Prehistoric Archaeology Division at the University of Zurich, in collaboration with the municipality of Trento (VS), the Vallis Triensis Association and the Cantonal Archaeology Department of Valais, launched a research project on iron ore mining in Trento, Les Tseppes. By means of remote sensing, intensive archaeological prospection, near surface geophysical surveys as well as small-scale targeted excavations, the first discovered findings on the local smelting and melting of the iron on site are being investigated. The aim is to capture as completely as possible the chaine operatoire that has developed and probably changed under the specific conditions of the site. The paper introduce in methodology and application of archaeo-geophysics and present the results of the magnetometer, Ground Probing Radar (GPR) and Electrical Resistivity Tomography / Induced Polarization (ERT/IP) surveys to explore smelting sites, furnaces and mining galleries at „Les Tseppes in detail.
Abstract ID 242 | Date: 2022-09-13 16:40 – 16:50 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: SOWI – Seminar room SR1 |
Ryan, Jennifer Angelica (1); Sweeney, Daniel (2); Dudley, Meghan (3); Bauer, Kajetan (4)
1: US Forest Service, United States of America
2: US Forest Service, United States of America
3: University of Oklahoma
4: Penn State University
Keywords: Stone, Alignments, Montana, Everywhere
As archaeologists, we know that hunter gatherer cultures around the world have made their homes in mountain landscapes since time immemorial. We are good at understanding how hunter gatherers moved through the landscape to procure resources. We are beginning to understand how populations used the mountain environment both logistically and tactically.
Due to the subtle nature of the hunter gatherer archaeological record in the mountains, we have been less successful at understanding how this terrain became entangled into peoples' worldviews, stories, and histories. However, In the northern Rocky Mountains that compose the continental divide in Montana, USA, Archaeologists with the US Forest Service have identified a new archaeological feature type. In consultation with our First Nations partners, we believe that studying this feature type will provide a window into the cultural role that mountain environments played in the lives and histories of Indigenous peoples, past and present.
We hypothesize that these sites, which consist of an isolated stone circle in shallow depositional context with external stone features that align to cardinal directions and landscape features, provide tangible and complimentary evidence for Indigenous people's oral histories. Using GIS spatial analyses, including viewshed analyses and landscape level least-cost path models, we present current hypotheses of the roles these sites played in the socialization of mountain landscapes.