Chair: Irmela Herzog, Germany
Distribution maps are very popular in archaeology showing, on a small scale, the scatter of finds within a site or, on a larger scale, all sites within a region, a country, or a continent. Nowadays it is fairly easy to create such a distribution map. A few clicks in a GIS system, and the map is finished. But once the map has been created, what does it tell us? In computer archaeology, the analysis of such maps has a long tradition. Statistical methods were often used in the 1970s and the 1980s to deal with spatial distribution data in archaeology. The basis of statistical analysis is normally a model, but the processes involved in archaeological site formation and detection are often complicated, and therefore appropriate models are usually sophisticated. Whereas statistical spatial analysis has not been broadly accepted in archaeology, some archaeological researchers still use these methods. Are those researchers behind the times, or are they better trained in these methods than others? Many other archaeologists utilize the functions their GIS systems support and proudly present the pretty pictures. Key words in this context include: analysis of the find or site density, site catchment, (inductive) predictive modelling. This session intends to bring together people employing various methods for archaeological distribution map analysis. The aim is to show which questions can be answered and which remain unanswered when using these methods, and to discuss the advantages of each approach or technique as well as the limitations.