Kythera Island Project

Geographic Information Systems/Science (GIS)

Principal Investigators:
Andrew Bevan (UCL)
James Conolly (UCL)


Digital techniques have become important components of most archaeological projects, especially landscape surveys, but the degree to which GIS is embedded in KIP research is unusual. It has been used to store, manage and analyse information from all aspects of the project since 1998 and has four goals:

  1. to integrate the findings of different KIP researchers within a common spatial framework.
  2. to develop specific analysis methods suitable to the nature of survey data.
  3. to interrogate existing intensive survey techniques by exploring their results quantitatively.
  4. to provide analytical tools for aspects of botanical study, geoarchaeology and archival research.
Digital Elevation Model of the survey area
Digital Elevation Model of the survey area (10m grid)

The menu above right offers some brief examples of KIP GIS analysis. Additional collaborative work is on-going with KIP botanists (e.g. remote sensing of vegetation cover), geoarchaeologists (e.g. modelling geomorphologically altered landscapes, surface visibility, terracing) and historical geographers (e.g. Venetian land use and demography).

A final exciting aspect of the role of GIS within KIP has been the way in which people's practical experience during the field project has translated into a long-term interest in, or professional commitment to, GIS. Two to four people a year during the 1998-2001 KIP field seasons were involved in database entry, tract digitising and daily report and map-making. Work was conducted on a series of networked laptop computers, principally within three software environments: Access (Microsoft), Arcview (ESRI) and AutoCAD (AutoDesk). For many people, this was early exposure to the practical use of GIS and at least seven have gone on to further postgraduate study (MSc/PhD) and/or professional careers in GIS.

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