(Kantonsarchäologie, Kanton Aargau, Departement Bildung, Kultur und Sport, Brugg, Switzerland)

Keywords: Maps, GIS, Landscape, Geology, LiDAR, Building activity, “Archäologischer Verdachtsflächenkataster”, sites, information sources

Archaeology on the run: The Archaeological Department of the canton Aargau (Switzerland) has always been condemned to “react”: to perform salvage excavations under extreme pressure, as relentless building activity revealed new archaeological sites while threatening to unravel them.
We are trying to turn the tables: Advancing understanding of our landscape and its settlement patterns is allowing the Department to produce a Prospective Action Cadastre (“Archäologischer Verdachtsflächenkataster”, in our jargon). Known or suspected archaeological sites are marked for prospective action in this Cadastre.
As soon as building activities are planned in the neighbourhood of such areas (ominously named “Verdachtsflächen”), soundings take place. This enables us to get ready to act: to excavate, to apply for special cantonal credits if necessary etc. Starting in 1898 all finds and sites in the canton Aargau have been charted (location as precise as possible, site specifics, dating). The charting was marked by hand on maps, the corresponding information was written on paper. A comprehensive computer database, introduced in 2000, was revolutionary for the recording of all cantonal archaeological sites (in GIS), as well as of all excavations and inventory data. An even more powerful database in 2010 (imdas pro) allows all these sections to be combined and will be the main tool for archiving all archaeological documents and recordings of the canton.
In combination with maps giving detailed information about landscape, geology, water sources, agriculture, orography, exposition etc., the pattern of the ancient settlements can be identified, relevant for the Prospective Action Cadastre.

With the systematic charting of archaeological sites in combination with the understanding of the landscape and settling of the aboriginal inhabitants, it is possible to foresee future excavation projects.

HEIERLI J.(1898), Die archäologische Karte des Kantons Aargau nebst allgemeinen Erläuterungen und Fundregister. Argovia 27, 1898, 1-100