Michael DONEUS
(University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria)

Keywords: LiDAR, harris matrix, topography, chronology

Detailed topographic models derived from high-resolution airborne laser scanning (ALS) have become an essential source for archaeologists and heritage managers. So far, ALS is the only prospection technique, which can give detailed information on archaeological structures surviving under canopy on a regional and national scale. Additionally, ALS-derived digital terrain models come as 3-D datasets and a set of 2-D visualizations, which can be directly integrated with any other geographical data source and mapped in a GIS environment.
In current practice, archaeological structures from ALS-based DTMs are mapped on different levels ranging from a site-based strategy (i.e. identifying and inventorying a distinct group of structures as a site) to a detailed interpretation of each individual archaeologically relevant feature in spatial databases. While all of these approaches aim at a more or less coherent map of archaeological sites and structures, they cannot account for the complex sequence of (pre-)historic occupation of woodland, where areas have become repeatedly subject to a variety of uses. Any systematic mapping of these kind of ‘palimpsest’ landscapes will result in a multitude of intersecting lines squares, curvilinear and round features representing its long-term use. In order to understand this ‘palimpsest’, functional units need to be identified and chronologically put in order.
The presentation will demonstrate the use of a harris matrix to build a coherent chronological model of all mapped features from a complex case study. Each intersection displays a temporal succession of its features and therefore functions as a node within a stratigraphic sequence. Linking the resulting harris matrix with the GIS-based interpretation map, a relative sequence of archaeological structures can be inferred and functionally interpreted. The result is a diachronic sequence of human activity in a dynamic landscape.

Relevance for the conference: Temporal relations are derived from digital terrain models and visualized
Relevance for the session: Visualizing time in a landscape based on a combination of ALS-derived DTMs and a harris matrix
Innovation: Linking GIS with harris matrix and creating a 4D-analysis of a complex landscape
• So far unpublished – First ideas on the topic in: Doneus M., Kühtreiber T., 2013. Airborne laser scanning and archaeological interpretation – bringing back the people. In: Opitz R., Cowley D., Interpreting archaeological topography – airborne laser scanning, 3D data and ground observation. Oxbow Books (Oxford), 32-50.