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GIS Guide to Good Practice
Section 2: A brief introduction to GIS and Archaeology

2.3 The early years and spatial statistics

The first archaeological use of GIS was in North America, where it developed within the requirements of cultural resource management based on the predictive modelling of site location (Kohler and Parker 1986). The statistics involved were well suited to raster data models and effective methodologies and results were rapidly accumulated (Kvamme and Kohler 1988; Kvamme 1990; Warren 1990). More recently there has been interest in these approaches in The Netherlands (Brandt et al. 1992; van Leusen 1996), and Wheatley (1996) has incorporated cultural data to overcome a major criticism concerning the emphasis on environmental data and the resultant accusations that such studies fostered an uncritical environmental determinism.

Although it has been recognised for a long time that the GIS environment is an ideal medium for the development of new approaches to spatial analysis there are very few formal statistical methods generally available (Openshaw 1991; Fotheringham and Rogerson 1994), since most commercial GIS packages lack the most basic statistical facilities. Within archaeology there is an emphasis on cell-based manipulation as an extension of the earlier work, for example auto-correlation (Kvamme 1993), statistics and simulation (Kvamme 1996), perhaps within the wider procedures of cartographic modelling (Tomlin 1990, generally; van Leusen 1993).


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Archaeology Data Service
© Mark Gillings, Peter Halls, Gary Lock, Paul Miller, Greg Phillips, Nick Ryan, David Wheatley, and Alicia Wise 1998

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