Schlagwort-Archive: Digital Archaeology

Public Archaeology : archaeology for the public or with the public? 

Citizen Science; Amateur Archaeology; Crowd-sourced data; scatter vision; tunnel vision

As part of the “CAA Webcasts” series, an exciting lecture on “Public Archaeology” by Dr. Karl Hjalte Maack Raun from the Museum Horsens in Denmark took place on January 21, 2022. The German sectoin of the international “Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology” has been offering participation in virtual lectures and short tutorials on the CAA-de website for some time, which concisely present special topics in the field of digital archaeology and archaeoinformatics.

The talk was looking at the current practice of archaeology in Denmark and focuses on the trajectory of incorporative and interdisciplinary archaeology in Denmark, for and with the public. Thus also question best-practice for future archaeological institutions and how to progress archaeological knowledge. Related to this, it was discussed how to diversify vision from scattered or tunneled vision, towards something that incorporates a multidimensional and interdisciplinary approach in order to create archaeology, for and with the public. Furthermore, the talk was questioned what the existential purpose and intent of archaeology really is: documentation or mediation.

The speaker Karl Hjalte Maack Raun received his PhD in 2017 from Heidelberg University at the Cluster of Excellence Asia and Europe in a Global Context as a member of the junior research group Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage with the topic: LiDAR based semi-automatic pattern recognition within an archaeological landscape. As an archaeoinformatician, he is now researching landscape archaeological issues at the Museum Horsens of the Ministry of Culture Denmark, especially in the context of numerous systematic site surveys.

The slides from the talk can be downloaded from the following link: Public Archaeology talk by K.H.M. Raun, January 2022

2 PhD positions in Digital Archaeology at Leiden University

The Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University is a partner in the new university-wide Data Science research programme that advocates the use of data science in various fields of research.
As part of this programme, we are hiring two PhD students in Digital Archaeology for the research projects ‘Automating archaeological object detection in remotely sensed data’ (vacancy no 16-453) and ‘Big data in archaeology: harnessing the hidden knowledge in the “graveyard” of Malta reports’ (vacancy no 16-454). We welcome applications by candidates from archaeology with advanced knowledge in digital image analysis and text mining, respectively.
Both positions are available from 1 April 2017 for a period of four years. The deadline for applications is 15 January 2017. Please feel free to forward this announcement to potential candidates.

Pattern recognition and archaeology – Semi-automated detection of ground monuments in airborne laser scan data (LiDAR)

In recent years, LiDAR scanning has become a widely used tool for understanding both the cultural and natural landscape surrounding us. The result of this is, that new 3-dimensional point based LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data is consistently being generated in a more precise and detailed version of raw point cloud form.

Airborne laser scan data includes information about the ground surface as well as the existing vegetation allowing to virtually remove for instance forests to reveal hidden structures. Even ground monuments which are heavily eroded and/or very flat can be detected by this approach. (Interpolated) surface models are often used to visualize the findings.

Available LiDAR scans of the Bavarian State Office for Surveying and Geoinformation for the district of Lower Franconia with its 8531 km2 as our test area accumulates to 2.8 TB of data. An editor familiar with the data can process approximately 30 km2 per day, resulting in 1.2 years for a one-time analysis of Lower Franconia and already ten years for the state Bavaria. Continuous and iterative explorations increase the amount of data to be handled and lead to time frames not feasible for research.

In order to cope with the increasing amount of spatial and radiometric information, a systematic and semi-automated process needs to be defined in order to control and handle these accumulated amounts of otherwise unrestrained information. Thus the collaborate project intends to focus on the development of technologies and methodologies for the creation of an interactive research data gateway.

The utilization of LiDAR data provides a novel approach for locating and monitoring cultural heritage in the landscape, especially in areas of logistical complications, e.g. forest, rough terrain, and remote areas. However, the utilisation of LiDAR presently lacks standardised approaches for proper handling, developing, and processing within the field of cultural heritage management. Further, a majority of stakeholders within the field of archaeology and cultural heritage management encounters various problems regarding macro- and micromanagement when handling and processing LiDAR data, often resolving in quantitative assessment being impractical or impossible. Thus, in order for LiDAR data to become a truly competent method for heritage management, a large scale quantitative approach for handling, developing, and processing needs to be formed and defined. Such is the background, premise and resolve for this project.


Figure 1: On the left no archaeological ground monuments can be seen in the aerial image of the forest nearby Urphar (at River Main, District Unterfranken in Germany). With the point signature finds of ceramic shards of the late Bronze Age are marked in Geographic Information System (GIS). The sits information is taken from the databases of the Bavarian State Office for the Preservation of Historical Monuments, which is a partner of our project. The right picture shows the LIDAR scan of the so called DGM1 ground surface of the Bavarian State Office for Surveying and Geoinformation in the same area without any disturbing vegetation. It uncovers a group of prehistoric grave hills. These were previously unknown because they are heavily eroded and very flat. The funnel in the center of each burial mounds gives information about illegal grave robberies.



The sub-project, LiDAR based semi-automatic pattern recognition within an archaeological landscape, is focused on adapting and creating semi-automatic procedures for handling and processing LiDAR data within cultural heritage monument detection and large scale cultural heritage management.

Particular emphasis is on the implementation of pattern recognition algorithms for semi-automatic detection within 3dimensional vector and 2dimensional raster data.

In doing so, the effort of this project will be focused on pattern recognition algorithms in order to define quantitative methods of handling and processing 3dimensional LiDAR data and subsequent 2dimensional raster by implementing standardised and state of the art systematic and semi-automated approaches for cultural heritage detection and management.

Besides state of the art algorithms for automatic procedures of cultural heritage detection and management, the result of the project will also be focused on key technologies regarding data life cycle in joint collaboration with the Software Methods Group (SWM) and the KIT (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology). The joint collaboration will be focused on data sustainability, and optimizing visualisation procedures for differentiated fields of focus.



In addition to the Bavarian State Offices for Sites and Monuments (Bayerisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege) and the Environment (Bayerisches Landesamt für Umwelt), we would particularly like to thank the Bavarian State Office for Surveying and Geoinformation (Bayerisches Landesamt für Vermessung und Geoinformation) for providing access to unpublished data like the DTM1s. Without the cooperation of these authorities this project and associated project, Transformation of Settlement Sites from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages in Lower Franconia, would not have been possible.

MSc-Studiengang “Digital Archaeology” an der Universität Leiden

Im September 2016 startet der neue Masterstudiengang Digital Archaeology an der Fakultät für Archäologie der Universität Leiden (NL). Der Studiengang ist eine Spezialisierung innerhalb des einjährigen, englischsprachigen MSc-Programms Archaeology (60 ECTS). Er richtet sich an Studierende mit einem BA/BSc-Abschluss in einer archäologischen oder verwandten Disziplin und Interesse an den folgenden Themen der Digitalen Archäologie:

  • Vermessung, Prospektion und Geophysik,
  • Fernerkundung und digitale Bildverarbeitung,
  • 3D-Modellierung und virtuelle Rekonstruktion,
  • Räumliche Analyse und Statistik,
  • Modellierung und Simulation,
  • Datenmanagement

Die Bewerbung um einen Masterstudienplatz ist ab sofort möglich (siehe Archaeology Master programme).