Archiv der Kategorie: Lehre

Ph. D. Project: Towards a conceptual reference model for archaeological information within the context of Geographic Information System

The aim of the thesis is to contribute to the development of a conceptual reference model for archaeological information by investigating the underlying principles of archaeological information, in the context of Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
Data are the basis of any scientific empirical investigation. They are the formalized reinterpretable representation of information acquired through observation or measuring processes. Archaeological data occupy in this context at twofold hand a rather peerless position within sciences. The often-unique character of the data acquisition process (e.g. excavation), due to its destructive and consequently unrepeatable nature, makes out of archaeological data an irretrievable documentation of past human presence, looming furthermore archaeology’s epistemological foundation. Moreover, it is particularly the complex ontic nature of an archaeological object, that shapes the archaeological data in a distinctive manner. Both aspects allow qualifying archaeological data as being spatio-temporal, imperfect, heterogeneous, multiscale and multimodal.
Albeit long-term investigations and recent research progresses, Geographic Information Systems are still immature in handling archaeological data. One major reason for this inability stems from the inchoate and insufficient conceptual framework to which GIS applications may refer within archaeology. Information Systems and as such Geographic Information Systems need to be tailored in respect to ontic and epistemic information characteristics to become fully exploitable within their application domain. This requires a consistent conceptual model of the domain knowledge. Since the way in which data are conceptualized, is pivotal as to how an Information System might fulfil its functions. It defines its informative, memorative but also its active functions by means of information retrieval, access, handling and analysing – an often highly underestimated fact.
In striving for a conceptual reference model conceptual modeling is deployed- a common method within computer science. Conceptual modeling seeks representing real world phenomena by an abstraction process in form of a conceptual model. Thereby domain specific concepts and their mutual relation, as well as their behavioural and structural aspects need to be identified, defined and constructed. Considering the increasing importance of Information Systems, and GIS in particular, within archaeology, one might thus be surprised, although the fundamental importance of a conceptual framework, that the investigations in this sense have been minor within archaeology.

Scrutinizing archaeological objects from a conceptual perspective requires reasoning about their ontic nature. This gives rise to a range of issues including: What defines an archaeological object? How does it behave in space? How does it evolve over time? Does change affect an object’s identity? These are some of the questions investigated in the context of the thesis. Thereby the study expects contributing to an enhanced conceptual understanding of archaeological data.

Introduction to Digital Humanities – Seminar 2015 at Heidelberg University
Old concept – but still actual for the forthcoming semester:
Digital Humanities is a discipline concerning the use of digital methods and computational science in the field of humanities. The following course consists of a theoretical understanding and practical implementation. In the theoretical part, the participants will get an overview of the core areas of Digital Humanities: What are Digital Humanities? In addition, the participants will get introduced to basic methodological research approaches and concepts. The practical part will be dedicated to the basics of text annotation by XML according to the TEI standards, and annotation of HTML-based hyper images. In collaboration with the Heidelberg Research Architecture (HRA), the learned methods will be applied to use-cases created during the course, or use-cases brought to the course. Special IT skills are not required. However, students should be willing to familiarize themselves with complex digital issues and applications.

13.-14.02.17, Universität Heidelberg, Blockseminar: QGIS for Archaeology and Spatial Humanities – cumulative cost surface and route network analyses

QGIS for Archaeology and Spatial Humanities: cumulative cost surface and route network analyses

Dozenten: Prof. Carlo Citter (Università di Siena) und Dr. Armin Volkmann (Universität Heidelberg)

Termine: Zweitägiges Blockseminar am Mo. und Di., 13. und 14.02.2017 von 10 bis 16 Uhr

Veranstalter: Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage am Cluster of Excellence Asia and Europe in a Global Context der Universität Heidelberg in Kooperation mit dem Zentrum für Digitalität in den Geistes- und Kulturwissenschaften -mainzed

Veranstaltungsort: Universität Heidelberg, Seminar-Raum 112, Karl Jaspers Centre, Voßstr. 2, Gebäude 4400, 69115 Heidelberg

Veranstaltungssprachen: englisch und deutsch

Vorkenntnisse: GIS-Grundkenntnisse sind nicht zwingend erforderlich; der Kurs gibt u.a. eine knappe GIS-Einführung: siehe Vorbereitungsliteratur

Voraussetzung: Die Bereitschaft zur Einarbeitung in komplexe, digital basierte Fragestellungen muss vorhanden sein; eigenes Internet fähiges Laptop muss mitgebracht werden auf dem die aktuelle QGIS Version 2.18 bereits für das jeweilige Betriebssystem installiert worden ist; Download ausschließlich via OSGeo4W Network Installer mit den Erweiterungen Saga, Python, GRASS, GDAL ist obligatorisch

Download unter:


Zielgruppe: Studierende (BA und MA) sowie Doktoranden der Archäologischen Wissenschaften und geschichtlich/räumlich orientierten Disziplinen

Zielsetzung: Einführung in die Arbeitsweise von Geografischen Informationssystemen (GIS); praktische Arbeit mit der Open Source QGIS; selbständige GIS-basierte Projektentwicklung

Beschreibung: The course aims to give the students practical knowledge of GIS-based spatial analyses in archaeology. The teachers will give the students access to a moodle platform where they can find literature, examples and video tutorials. The main goal is to help a researcher to evaluate which is the best analysis to run according to a given dataset and a precise historical question. Spatial analyses are often complicate algorithms that produce always an output. The crucial step for an archaeologist is to critically evaluate the available dataset. An output can be formally correct, though historically useless, and sometimes even misleading. Archaeologists should avoid any determinism cause-effect relationship between input data and output.

In particular, the lectures and seminar will focus on the making of a cumulative cost surface to evaluate settlement location, route network and resource exploitation. A further set of analyses will investigate the morphology of a landscape beyond slope and aspect. We shall focus on the potential of each cell of the DEM (digital elevation model) for human movement, settlement, exploitation. In addition a special attention will be paid to the flow and persistence of water.

Teilnehmerzahl: max. 15-20

Verbindliche Anmeldung per eMail an: v3a[at]


Bill, Ralf: Grundlagen der Geo-Informationssysteme [2010]. Berlin 2012.

Burrough, Peter A./McDonnell, Rachael A./Lloyd, Christopher D.: Principles of Geographical Information Systems. Oxford 2015.

Conolly, James/Lake, Mark: Geographical Information Systems in Archaeology. Cambridge 2008.

Kappas, Martin: Geographische Informationssysteme. Braunschweig 2012.

De Lange, Norbert: Geoinformatik in Theorie und Praxis. Heidelberg 2013.

Volkmann, Armin: Tutorial Georeferenzierung von historischen Karten mit QGIS – Ein Bilderbuch. Wissenschaftsblog archäologiedigitale Oktober 2014 (ISSN 2197-7453), 11 Seiten.

Volkmann, Armin: Archäologische Fundkartierung und Zeichnungs-Georeferenzierung mit QGIS. HeiDOK Heidelberger Dokumentenserver. Heidelberg 2015.

Volkmann, Armin: Geografische Informationssysteme in den Digital Humanities. In. F. Jannidis/H. Kohle/M. Rehbein (Hg.), Digital Humanities – Eine Einführung (Stuttgart 2017), 300-315.