Alexandru MORINTZ
(“V. Parvan” Institute of Archaeology, Bucharest, Romania)

Outline: The objective is the presentation of the basic principles of topography with the help of a story. The idea is to make these principles accessible and friendly to the archaeologists who mainly have humanistic training.

Abstract: The purpose of this presentation is that of presenting the basic principles of topography in an accessible and friendly manner. I know the shock felt by many archaeologists who, wishing to know more of the topographies’ mysteries,  watched with despair the pages full of formulas, chained in a language that has not been deciphered yet! I also know the arid character of many topography text books … Because of all this, I propose a different approach to topography, reducing the information to its essence and highlighting its principles with practical applications, realized by a cute character! The description and definition of the methods used by this character will be presented disguised as dialogues. The first topographer uses only extremely simple instruments, made of wood, rope and nails. With their help he can establish a right angle, a horizontal and vertical line, things that stay at the base of solving any topographic problem. It may seem unbelievable, but the total station functions on the same basic principles! The learning of basic principles of topography with the imaginary help of the first instruments in the field can present a special interest for the archaeologists for at least two reasons: on one hand, the re-evaluating of some artifacts whose use is difficult to establish; on the other hand, the analysis of an archaeological site through the lens of the topographic notions accessible to the ones who led to the creation of the site.

Keywords: right angle, straight line, height line, plumb bob