SOAN 4750: GIS and Mediterranean Archaeology


Fall Semester, 2006

Lead Instructor: Michael L. Galaty

Office: Sullivan-Harrell 343

Telephone: 601-974-1387


Office Hours: MWF 11-12, or by appointment


Participating Faculty (2006)


Prof. P. Nick Kardulias (Wooster): Tel. 330-263-2474; Archaeology Lab: 330-263-2413


Prof. Kenny Morrell (Rhodes): Tel. 901-843-3821; (c) 901-830-4094


Fall 2006 Class: T and Th 1-2:40 pm CST

Olin 103

In the Eastern Time zone (Wooster), the class meets: 2-3:40


*Changes to the syllabus may be necessary on occasion.*



This course is the seminar associated with CGMA, a Collaboratory for GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and Mediterranean Archaeology funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and headquartered at DePauw University (under the direction of Profs. Pedar Foss and Rebecca Schindler) ( The CGMA project has used an inter-institutional, interdisciplinary program of undergraduate seminars, summer research internships, student-faculty workshops, and work-study grants to construct a Web-based Geographic Information System for archaeological field survey projects: MAGIS ( Being the first Mediterranean-wide GIS registry of this kind, it provides a functional framework for broad studies of the interactions of humans and their environment in antiquity. This class is designed to teach you the methods and theory of regional analysis in archaeology, as well the practical requirements of using GIS and other spatial technologies. The CGMA project specifically and Mediterranean archaeology generally provide our launch points for the course.



This upper-level undergraduate seminar (limit: 3-4 students at each of the campuses) has been held every fall term since 2003. The primary locus of instruction and the supervising professor rotate annually. For the fall of 2006, the class is offered through Millsaps College.


Sessions are held in person at the institution of the supervising professor, and conducted in real time over the Internet for students from the other institutions. A course delivery system (‘CDS’) developed by the Technology Center of the Associated Colleges of the South serves as the means to webcast class sessions to the other institutions, to post discussion questions and answers, results of the practicum, and as a forum for communication between the students at participating institutions.


Course Description:

This course introduces advanced undergraduates to methods, theories, and practice in primary (field or lab) and secondary (library) research in archaeological survey; and archaeology and information technology, especially GIS.


There are three major pedagogical components: (a) weekly lectures on history, method, and theory, while students engage in readings and discussion; (b) a multi-stage practicum on survey and GIS which students on each participating campus do in small groups; and (c) a final exam.


The supervising professor and all participating students meet twice a week for instruction, problem-solving, and real-time discussion; students also share ideas, questions, problems, research strategies, and results over the CDS. Once during the term, participating faculty and students, as well as visiting experts, meet for a workshop at that year’s host institution.


NOTE: Students who successfully complete the course are eligible to apply for work-study on the project the following Spring term, and for a research internship during the following summer, funded through the CGMA grant and the participating institutions.



25%     participation

15%     in-class and CDS (Web) discussion

10%     mid-term workshop at Millsaps

30%     group practicum

20%     final exam



Textbook: Wheatley, D. & Gillings, M., Spatial Technology and Archaeology (London, Taylor & Francis 2002), ISBN: 0415246407


Additional readings available on-line and through the CDS


Each library should have copies of some recent survey publications from the Mediterranean area to which students can refer as models. They need not be the same at each campus.


Schedule (two ca.100-min. meetings per week; note that we will rarely use the whole period):

All readings are available on-line, on electronic reserve through the CDS (under Course Materials, Course Readings), or on reserve at the library of each school. Do all readings before the class period on which they are listed.


Week 1:


Tuesday, 29 Aug.



Thursday, 31 Aug.: Review of Archaeological Concepts I

The archaeological record and its components

Spatial attributes of the material record

Processual vs. post-processual archaeology


Week 2:


Tuesday, 5 Sept.: Archaeological Concepts II

Scientific method and research design


Excavation and Survey


Binford, Lewis R., “The Archaeology of Place,” Journal of Anthropological Archaeology (vol. 1, 1982), 5-31.


On this day, the practicum assignment is introduced. Each group of students presents Stage 1 of the practicum two weeks later.


Thursday, 7 Sept.: Low Technology: Using a map and a compass

We will examine USGS quad sheets and discuss different locational systems, including Range/Township and UTM.


Week 3:


Tuesday, 12 Sept.: High Technology: The GIS Framework


Wheatley & Gillings, Ch. 1, “Archaeology, Space and GIS,” 1-21.


Wise, A. and Miller, P., “Why metadata matters in archaeology,” Internet Archaeology (vol. 2, 1997)


CGMA Grant in .pdf format, at:


Thursday, 15 Sept.: The MAGIS Solution


Alcock, S. and Cherry, J., “Introduction,” in Side-by-Side Survey: Comparative Regional Studies in the Mediterranean World (Oxbow 2004), 1-9.


Week 4:


Tuesday, 19 Sept.: Approaches to archaeological survey: theory and technique.


Flannery, K., (ed.) The early Mesoamerican village (San Diego 1976) 1-8, 131-136, 159-162, 283-286, and 369-373.


Ammerman, Albert J., “Surveys and Archaeological Research,” Annual Review of Anthropology (vol. 10, 1981), 63-88.


Thursday, 21 Sept.: Presentations of Practicum Stage 1: Formulating research questions, choosing an area and developing a survey strategy.

Each campus team has 15 min. to present the first stage of their practicum, with the rest of the time for questions, critiques and discussion.


Week 5:


Tuesday, 26 Sept.: Approaches to archaeological survey: motive and meaning.


Barker, G., “Approaches to Mediterranean Landscape History,” Ch. 1 in A Mediterranean Valley (Leicester 1995) 1-16.


J. L. Davis (ed.), “Introduction” and Ch. 10 in Sandy Pylos (Texas 1998) xxix-xliii, 273-291.


Thursday, 28 Sept.: Presentations of Practicum Stage 2: Developing a collection strategy and designing a database.

Each campus team has 15 min. to present this stage of their practicum, with the rest of the time for questions, critiques and discussion.


Week 6:

Tuesday, 3 Oct.: Archaeological methods: sampling, data collection and databases.


Plog, S., F. Plog, and W. Wait, “Decision Making in Modern Surveys,” in M. Schiffer (ed.), Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory vol. I (New York 1978) 383-421.


Barker, G., “The Biferno Valley Survey: Methodologies” Ch.3 in A Mediterranean Valley (Leicester 1995) 40-61.


Thursday, 5 Oct.: Archaeological survey data analysis and interpretation.


Adovasio, James M., Gary F. Fry, Joel D. Gunn, and Robert F. Maslowski, “Prehistoric and historic settlement patterns in western Cyprus (with a discussion of Cypriot Neolithic stone tool technology),” World Archaeology (volume 6, number 3, 1975), 339-364.


Alcock, Susan E., “Breaking up the Hellenistic world: survey and society,” in I. Morris (ed.), Classical Greece: ancient histories and modern archaeologies (Cambridge 1994) 171-190.


Week 7:


Tuesday, 10 Oct: Reading and critiquing archaeological survey publications.

Cherry, J., “Regional survey in the Aegean: the “new wave” (and after),” in P. Nick Kardulias (ed.), Beyond the site: regional studies in the Aegean area (Lanham1994) 91-112.


Thursday, 12 Oct.: Using Google Earth


Workshop at Millsap, October 13-15

           Meeting of CGMA board

           Training in GPS and ArcGIS 9


Week 8:


Tuesday, 17 Oct:  NO CLASS—Wooster and Rhodes on break


Thursday, 19 Oct:  Archaeology and technology: GIS I (a case study). V. Gaffney and Z. Stancic, GIS approaches to regional analysis: a case study of the island of Hvar (Ljubljana 1991). Text at:


Week 9:


Tuesday, 24 Oct: NO CLASS—Millsaps on break


Thursday, 26 Oct.: Presentations of Practicum Stage 3: Conducting the survey.

Each campus team has 15 min. to present this stage of their practicum, with the rest of the time for questions, critiques and discussion.


Week 10:


Tuesday, 31 Oct.: Archaeology and technology: GIS II (data categories).


Wheatley & Gillings, Ch. 2, “The Spatial Database”, 23-58.


Ramenofsky, A. F., “The illusion of time,” Wandsnider, L., “Regional scale processes and archaeological landscape units,” in A. Ramenofsky and A. Steffen (eds.) Unit issues in archaeology: measuring time, space, and material (Salt Lake City 1998) 74-102.


Thursday, 2 Nov.: Presentations of Practicum Stage 4: Mapping the results (on paper).

Each campus team has 15 min. to present this stage of their practicum (having posted scanned maps), with the rest of the time for questions, critiques and discussion.


Week 11:


Tuesday, 7 Nov.: Archaeology and technology: GIS III (map data).

Wheatley & Gillings, Ch. 3, “Acquiring and Integrating Data”, 59-87.


Tartaron, Thomas F., Richard M. Rothaus, and Daniel J. Pullen, “Searching for prehistoric Aegean harbors with GIS, geomorphology, and archaeology,” Athena Review (volume 3, number 4, 2004).


Thursday, 9 Nov.: Archaeology and technology: GIS IV (data management).

Wheatley & Gillings, Ch. 4, “Manipulating Spatial Data”, 89-106.


Week 12:


Tuesday, 14 Nov.: Archaeology and technology: GIS V (data visualization)

Wheatley & Gillings, Ch. 5, “Digital Elevation Models” and Ch. 10, “Visibility analysis and archaeology,” 107-124, 201-216.


M. Harrower, J. McCorriston, and E. A. Oches, “Mapping the Roots of Agriculture in Southern Arabia: the Application of Satellite Remote Sensing, Global Positioning System and Geographic Information System Technologies,” Archaeological Prospection (vol 9, 2002) 35-42.


Thursday, 16 Nov.: Presentations of Practicum, Stage 5: Integration of the survey map and database in a GIS.

Each campus team has 15 min. to present this stage of their practicum (having posted files to the CDS), with the rest of the time for questions, critiques and discussion.


Week 13:


Tuesday, 21 Nov.: Archaeology and technology: GIS VI (data quantification).

Wheatley & Gillings, ch. 6, “Beginning to Quantify Spatial Patterns”, pp. 125-146;


Gillings, M. and K. Sbonias, “Regional Survey and GIS: the Boeotia Project,” in M. Gillings, D. Mattingly and J. van Dalen (eds.), Geographical Information Systems and Landscape Archaeology (Oxbow 1999) 35-54.


Thursday, 23 Nov.: No class—Thanksgiving


Week 14:


Tuesday, 28 Nov.: Archaeology and technology: GIS VIII (interpolation and prediction).

Wheatley & Gillings, Chs. 8-9, “Location Models and Prediction” and “Trend Surface and Interpolation”, 165-200.


M. A. Dann and R. W. Yerkes, “Use of Geographic Information Systems for the Spatial Analysis of Frankish Settlements in the Korinthia, Greece,” in P. N. Kardulias (ed.), Beyond the Site: Regional Studies in the Aegean Area (University Press of America 1994) 289-311.


Thursday, 30 Nov.: Practicum Stage 6: A short report describing the process and principal results of the practicum.  A 5-page, co-authored written report is due at this time as well.

Each campus team has 15 min. to present their final reports (having posted illustrations), with the rest of the time for questions, critiques and discussion.


Week 15:


Tuesday, 5 Dec.: In-class final exam


Supplementary bibliography:

In addition to the following books and articles, which you may find useful, your professor should have available various manuals to help you use ArcGIS 9.


Athanassopoulos, Effie, and LuAnn Wandsnider (eds.), Mediterranean Archaeological Landscapes: Current Issues (University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 2004).


Braudel, Fernand, The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II (Harper-Row, New York, 1949).


Farley, J.A., W., Frederick Limp, and J. Lockhart, “The archaeologist’s workbench: integrating GIS, remote sensing, EDA and database management,” in Allen, Green, and Zubrow (eds.), Interpreting space: GIS and archaeology (London 1990) 141-164.


Kvamme, Kenneth L., “Recent directions and developments in Geographical Information Systems,” Journal of Archaeological Research (vol. 7, no. 2, 1999) 153-201.


Robinson, Jennifer, and Ezra Zubrow, “Between spaces: interpolation in archaeology,” in M. Gillings, D. Mattingly and J. van Dalen (eds.), Geographical Information Systems and Landscape Archaeology (Oxbow 1999) 65-83.


Trigger, Bruce G., “The determinants of settlement patterns,” in K. C. Chang (ed.), Settlement Archaeology (Palo Alto 1968) 53-78.


Trump, David, The Prehistory of the Mediterranean (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1980).


Witcher, R. E. , “GIS and landscapes of perception,” in M. Gillings, D. Mattingly, and J. van Dalen (eds.), Geographical Information Systems and Landscape Archaeology (Oxbow 1999) 13-22.



The group of students on each of the three campuses is responsible for designing, implementing, and analyzing a survey of part of their campus or town (e.g., tombs in a local cemetery; distribution of trash vs. trashcans on campus); groups will decide during the first weeks of class. There are several stages to the project. As the course unfolds, groups are responsible for reporting on their progress to the rest of the class. Reports (illustrated, when possible) on each stage should be posted to the CDS twenty-four hours before the assignment is due. Reports should include not just a description of the progress made but also the rationales for specific decisions. Students may look for specific advice and direction from the class professor, or from the CGMA representative on their own campus.


Stage 1: Formulating research questions, choosing an area and developing a survey strategy.
Each group decides on particular questions about human activity or organization that they might be able to answer through the collection of artifactual evidence on the ground. Then they determine the limits of their survey region. This decision should be based on specific research questions that the group wants to answer. The group must also decide on a sampling strategy for that area.


Stage 2: Developing a collection strategy and designing a database.

After selecting their question(s), an area and a sampling strategy, groups decide on a collection strategy. They then design data sheets for the field as well as a computer database.


Stage 3: Conducting the survey.

Students implement the survey they have designed. They then report back to the class on their field experience: what worked and what did not.


Stage 4: Mapping the results.

After data collection is completed and entered, each group creates a preliminary map or maps (on paper) of their survey area. Special consideration should be given to the mode and manner of visualization.


Stage 5: Integrating the survey map and the database in a GIS.

After a tutorial in using ArcGIS at the fall meeting, students create a GIS for their survey. They should note both the problems that they encounter as well as new questions that came up during the process. Using the GIS as both a tool and an environment, they should sort, visualize, manipulate, and explore their data towards answering their initial research question(s).


Stage 6: Writing and delivering a short report describing the process and principal results of the practicum.

It is the responsibility of all archaeologists to disseminate their results. Each group must prepare and present a short report (10 minutes, ca. 5 pages) that summarizes their practicum, from start to finish. It should explain the data (what are the significant patterns?) and interpret it as well (what do those patterns suggest or mean in the context of understanding human activity, society, and the landscape?).


Final Exam

The final exam will test you on the concepts and principles of regional archaeological survey and analysis as discussed over the course of the semester.  It will be an essay exam and will be taken in-class at the computer.  You will have a choice of questions.


Course Delivery System (CDS):

Located at:, the CDS is a venue for real-time synchronous broadcasting of the course lecturers, with a real-time chat feature for students and faculty, and the ability to post outlines, instructions, images, and links for use before, during and after class. Both the faculty and students use this venue to conduct the class, record what happens in the class, and as a forum for questions and discussion. Designed for inter-institutional courses offered by the ACS in classics and archaeology, the ACS Tech Center has generously volunteered the server for the use of the CGMA course. Logins and passwords will be distributed to each student and faculty member for the CDS.


Web-sites of interest:

CASA: Center for Applied Spatial Analysis:

GIS Guide to Good Practice (1998)

GIS in Archaeology Bibliography (1995)

Madaba Plains Project: Archaeological Survey Manual (Oct. 1997):

VISTA: Visual and Spatial Technology Centre (2003)


Technical requirements for conducting the course


1. The room should have one computer for each student in the class. The computer should be fitted with the browser and media software listed as required on the Course Delivery System Requirements Page (

2. The room should have a speakerphone, so that there is a means of communication between the instructor and students in case the network goes out, as well as a means for students to call in when they need to deliver a report. In case of network outage or computer problems, we conduct the class via conference-call.

3. The room should have a large table, and enough space for students to gather around and spread out books and maps



For the class practicum and class assignments, students need regular access (either on their own machines or in labs) to:

1. High-speed Internet

2. At least one hand-held GPS receiver (any brand will do; this is for training and practicum purposes).

3. Access to a basic flatbed scanner, to turn paper map documents to digital raster maps.

4. Software for the practicum: word-processing software, drawing software (e.g., Illustrator or Canvas), database software (e.g., Filemaker), and GIS software (ArcGIS 8.x or above).