Scripting the spatial analysis of archaeological datasets

Author(s): Andrew Bevan

Year: 2015


For some time, interpreted languages such as Python, Matlab and R have made it easy to document and run computational function calls either line-by-line or in a script. While the spatial functionality provided within these environments has long been seen as inferior to GIS packages, it has now reached considerable maturity. The open source, multi-purpose and often ‘bleeding edge’ nature of these working environments also mean that there are often considerable analytical advantages to using them instead of mainstream GIS. This often means that while visualisation and querying of spatial data in archaeology might still first be explored via earth viewers and traditional GI systems, entire final spatial analytical workflows can now be conducted and shared via scripts in a manner similar to standard statistical and non-spatial methods. This should have considerable implications for how we teach students, make working notes, conduct peer review and archive spatially-explicit archaeological research, and this paper considers these issues via a series of practical examples in R.

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Cite this Record

Scripting the spatial analysis of archaeological datasets. Andrew Bevan. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397307)