Geomatics and Archaeology

The capture, processing, analysis and presentation of geospatial data

A person surveying a ditch with a GPS

Measured survey

GPSAt Cotswold Archaeology we use Leica Global Positioning System (GPS) instruments to capture spatial information for site plans and earthwork surveys. Digital measured survey complements hand-drawn and written records to form part of the primary site archive. It allows for accurate site plans to be produced and edited quickly, which is crucial for informing excavation strategy and providing a snapshot of site progress for managers, curators and clients.

Total Station

Total stationTotal Station survey produces results to the same degree of accuracy and precision usually associated with engineering specification and allows for survey in a built environment where satellite signals are obscured by tall buildings. The instruments are often deployed on burial sites where the recording of grave goods requires a greater level of accuracy than can be consistently achieved with a GPS instrument. Total Stations are also used in conjunction with other measured survey methods such as photogrammetry for historic building recording.

From site to office

The data captured on site is quality assured, processed, analysed and presented by our in-house Geomatics team. Our post-excavation team will then assign archaeological phases (e.g. late Bronze Age, early Iron Age etc.) to the recorded features using dating evidence provided by the finds recovered during the excavation, and careful stratigraphic analysis. Once assigned, the phases are exported from an access database and joined to the spatial data (the features) in GIS to generate phased plans and spatial distribution plots.

The phased plans are vital for providing a visual account of how the site has changed over time. The Geomatics team are able to provide individual plots of each phase of the site ready to be used by the Illustration team to produce report and publication figures.

Spatial analysis

Using GIS software we provide a number of valuable outputs for the interrogation and illustration of site data. These include spot date plans, contour maps and artefact distribution plots for spatial analysis.

You can view this article as an interactive story map that shows the use of GIS in action.

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