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Conceptual data modelling in an archaeological GIS

By Paul Rivett


Recent discussion of archaeological GIS method and theory has centred around a debate concerning the use of the technology. This paper argues that key problems in this debate can be overcome by looking at how data are defined and structured with regards to the overall project. It specifically deals with two points. First, that an appropriate theoretical framework needs to be developed and that this should occur at the level of the data. Second, recent debate has overlooked the importance of database design and data structure at the conceptual level. Conceptual data models provide a link between reality as it is perceived by humans and the way in which reality will be represented in the database. A spatially extended entity relationship (SEER) conceptual data model is developed for an archaeological GIS which will make explicit any relationships (both spatial and non-spatial). A hermeneutic methodology is outlined that will ensure that the conceptual model developed will accurately reflect the dynamic nature of the data. The data itself comes from a case study on the distribution of archaeological sites in Northeast Thailand. 1

Year: 2009
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