(Unité Mixte de Recherche 7041 – équipe Archéologies environnementales, université Paris-1, France)

Purpose : This paper presents an application (Le Stratifiant), using a common software (Excel), which makes it possible to automatically create stratigraphic diagrams whilst taking uncertain relationships into account. It also makes it possible to treat indications of absolute time (terminus post quem, terminus ante quem) by means of the stratigraphic relationships.
Methodology/Approach/Results : Le Stratifiant corresponds to the following choices and characteristics :

  • possibility of processing two levels of relations: normal, or uncertain ;
  • a particular representation of the « matrix » in order to avoid ambiguities, and to represent more easily different types of relationship (certain and uncertain);
  • processing of indicators of dating (terminus post quem, terminus ante quem) provided by historical evidences and post-excavation analysis, in order to assign a bracket of dating to each stratigraphic unit, and to visualise these brackets ;
  • detection of logical faults and conflicts, and clarification of these faults and conflicts, in order to help the archaeologist to control his recording ;
  • possibility of modifying the graph obtained automatically.

The algorithm used by le Stratifiant is inspired by the MPM graph, (Méthode des potentiels Métra), a graph of scheduling of tasks for the modelling of production process, perfected by the mathematician Bernard Roy in 1958.
The application is developed on a pre-existing software (Microsoft Excel). This choice allows us to benefit from all the possibilities of this common software, like import – exports files and communication with data bases.
Tests are in progress on real data and excavations. These tests are to find and solve bugs, and to define development prospects.

Keywords: archaeological stratigraphy ; Harris Matrix computerized application