Cristina Corsi1 / Frank Vermeulen2

(1University of Cassino, Italy / 2Ghent University, Department of Archaeology, Belgium)

In this paper we wish to query the meaning of the use of computer technologies to study historical cartographic documents in an archaeological project. After reviewing some of the applications which are currently in use in the context of European archaeology, a case study from Corsica will be presented. On-going interdisciplinary research on the site of the Roman town of Mariana is taken as an example for discussing problems and possibilities offered by the GIS-integration of historical maps, old site plans and early aerial photographs with new survey data and excavation evidence. Issues concerning digitalization and rectification of old cadastral and topographic maps are assessed, while interpretative mapping is evaluated. The resulting hypotheses and models concerning the exact location of old “excavations” and the major topographic elements of the Roman town and its hinterland (circuit wall, gates, public centre, road network, cemeteries, land division) procure new guidelines for on-going fieldwork on the site and for the management and valorisation of the archaeological and landscape values of the ancient town area. The latter is of particular importance with respect to the planned on-site museum development and for the protection of the regional cultural heritage.

Keywords: Historic cartography – GIS – Integrating methods