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Magnetic Prospection


K. Löcker, E. Nau, W. Neubauer, A. Hinterleitner. Magnetic Surveys of Early and Middle Neolithic settlements in Austria. Archeo Sciences, revue d´archéométrie, Suppl. 33, 2009, 101-104.

1.5 M

Archaeological Stratigraphy


On many archaeological excavations world-wide latest technological equipment is in use for digital documentation of the excavation process. As Ddigital cameras, total-stations, computer hard- and software may speed up the documentation and enhance the quality as well. We worked for years mainly at the site Schwarzenbach-Burg on the problem of a complete digital documentation of the archaeological stratification destroyed by the excavation process. Our practical field-work showed that there is still no profound theoretical background defining the practical framework of documentation and therefore the efficient use of latest technology. As any archaeological excavation deals with a unique stratification - a four dimensional phenomenon - the complete three-dimensional documentation of any unit of stratification and its order in the time arrow by the means of a stratigraphic sequence is of crucial importance for a complete recording of the archaeological excavation process.

630 K


Any archaeological site shows a stratification formed by single 3D volumes, the deposits and specific 3D surfaces of human origin as pits, ditches or wall-surfaces known as the units of stratification. Excavation forms the main data retrieval process in field archaeology - a destructive process to be documented in three dimensions. To reconstruct fully the part of the site as destroyed by excavation these units have to be documented in 3D. The outstanding importance of a 3D documentation of the stratification by the means of the single surfaces indicates the use of terrestrial 3D laser scanners combined with digital imagery as a standard documentation tool. They provide high topographic detail and texture for the efficient digital documentation and monitoring of the excavation process. This monitoring demand opens a wide field of future development – hardware and software - to integrate laser scanners in the daily archaeological work flow.

746 K


The Harris Matrix - formulated by Dr. Edward C. Harris in 1973 - is the established way of representing the archaeological stratigraphy of an excavation. The Harris Matrix is a sequential diagram defining stratigraphic relations between stratigraphic units. It is an important method to document the stratification that is destroyed by the excavation process and hence a vital tool for stratigraphic analysis. Although the Harris Matrix has become a quasi standard of archaeological stratigraphy, only a few software tools exist to create and edit these diagrams. An evaluation of these tools showed that they do not completely comply with the theory or suffer from poor usability. Therefore we decided to develop a new application addressing these issues, called Harris Matrix Composer (HMC). Dr. Harris was involved in the evaluation of early prototypes to guarantee compliance with his theory. User tests were undertaken to discover and handle usability problems. The HMC provides a graph editor with an intuitive graphical user interface for creating and editing a Harris Matrix throughout the entire excavation process. It supports valid Harris Matrix creation and indicates invalid units and relations. The theory has been extended to allow for temporal relations as well. Furthermore units can be grouped into structural entities called phases and into periods, assigning them to a certain historical epoch. A powerful interface to a GIS system, like ArcGIS, will be developed to access single surface maps and related databases for visualization and stratigraphic analysis by selecting units of the Harris Matrix. In this way the HMC becomes also a unique tool for the management and retrieval of digital archaeological data.

1.3 M

  • Wolfgang Neubauer. From Practice to Theory – Expanding the stratigraphic recording into real 3D. ViaVIAS 02, 2008, 31-36.
  • Wolfgang Neubauer, Michael Doneus. Digital recording of stratigraphic archaeological excavations using terrestrial 3D laser scanners. ViaVIAS 02, 2008, 45-52.
  • Christoph Traxler, Wolfgang Neubauer. The Harris Matrix Composer – a new tool to manage archaeological stratigraphy. VMMS Cyprus 2008. In press.
  • Wolfgang Neubauer, Laser Scanning and Archaeology – Standard Tool for 3D Documentation of Excavations. GIM international – The global magazine for Geomatics. Vol. 21, issue 10, 2007, 14-17.
  • Doneus, M. & Neubauer, W.,. Laser scanners for 3D documentation of stratigraphic excavations. In: Baltsavias et al. (eds) Recording, Modeling and Visualization of Cultural Heritage, Taylor & Francis, London, 2005, 193-203.
  • Doneus M., Neubauer W., 3D laser scanners on archaeological excavations. In: Dequal S.: (Ed.) Proceedings of the XXth International Symposium CIPA, Torino 2005. The International Archives of Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences, Vol. XXXVI-5/C34/1, 2005, 226-231.

Geophysical Prospection, Geodesy & Photogrammetry
VIAS-Vienna Institute for Archaeological Science
Universität Wien

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