Bronze Age Landscapes

Principal investigator: Bjoern Menze
Level: External project (International)

Our project aims at studying Bronze Age monumentalised and agricultural landscapes with a focus on field systems and related earthworks using novel computational tools applied to resources that are available as digital data sets at a national scale. We have a chronological focus on the Bronze Age, considering not only field systems, but also their organization with other features of the Bronze age landscape, such as barrows and settlements. For this project, that is a collaborative effort with Andrew Bevan from UCL and a graduate research project at the UCL Institute of Archaeolgy, we intend to make systematic use of digital resources, such as digitized 'grey' literature, GIS resources (as in my prior work on near Eastern landscape features [1,2]), and archaeological meta data sets and inventories.

As my own background is in computer science - I am teaching at the Department of Informatics at the Technical University of Munich [3] - strong emphasis will be on the development of new computational and statistical tools for 'digital' archaeology research. These new tools and methods will help in formalizing what has so far been a qualitiative understanding of the archaeological record by dedicated experts, and developing means for testing these formalized statistical models on data sets that are available at national scale. As such, I expect the main methodological contributions of this work in offering a case study that illustrates how archaeological expertise can be enhanced and leveraged by making use of the massive and unique archaeological data collections that sets English archaeology apart from the archaeological research in other European countries.

Access to PAS will allow us to consider the large PAS collection of metal finds in this analysis and to integrate with them with the digital sources mentioned. Full references to and PAS will be given, no sensitive spatial information will be distributed publicly. If desired, all final data sets resulting from this research will be made available to, as will be the computational routines for processing and analyzing them.

[1] Menze, Muhl, Sherratt. Detection of ancient settlement mounds: archaeological survey based on the SRTM terrain model. PE & RS 2006
[2] Menze, Ur. Mapping patterns of long-term settlement in Northern Mesopotamia at a large scale. PNAS 2012

Referee: Andy Bevan (UCL)

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