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GIS and Archaeology: Using ARC/INFO to Increase Our Understanding of Ancient Jordan

"The utility of geographic information systems in the modern world is well known, but their capabilities also make them ideal for analyses of ancient civilizations and they are becoming common tools for archaeologists around the world. The country of Jordan, with world famous archaeological sites such as Petra and Jerash, is rich in antiquities, and as attention in the region turns from conflict to cooperation the discovery and management of these cultural resources is becoming increasingly important. The Madaba Plains Project has been involved in the archaeology of Jordan since 1968, discovering hundreds of archaeological sites during surveys of the Madaba region and conducting excavations at the sites of Tell Hesban, Tell el-Umayri, and Tell Jalul. Since 1991, the Madaba Plains Project, in cooperation with the Advanced Resource Technology Group and the Near East Studies Department at the University of Arizona, has incorporated an ARC/INFO based GIS as an integral component of the project. This paper looks at the ways this cooperative venture has used GIS to further archaeological research in Jordan, including the construction of environmentally based site probability models, the use of an erosion model to track the introduction of terrace agriculture during the Iron Age, and spatial analysis of pottery sherds from the surface of an excavation site.

Author(s):  Christopherson, Gary L.; D. Philip Guertin, & Karen A. Borstad
Format:  Presentation
Source:  Presented at: ARC/INFO User Conference, 1996