Historical Spatial-Data Infrastructures for Archaeology: Towards a Spatiotemporal Big-Data Approach to Studying the Postindustrial City

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Department of Social Sciences


While the use of geographic information systems (GIS) has become commonplace within the discipline of archaeology, the potential of a big-data approach to GIS is yet to be fully exploited within historical archaeology. Archaeologists inspired by developments in the social sciences and humanities have recently called for new ways of conceptualizing GIS as a process that is more theoretically satisfying and methodologically effective in its applications to archaeology. We respond to these calls by proposing a new approach for GIS in historical archaeology, an historical spatial-data infrastructure (HSDI). We outline the progression from historical GIS to the construction of an HSDI and present a series of case studies that demonstrate how using a spatiotemporal big-data-based approach expands the scale of archaeological inquiry to studying the postindustrial city.

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© 2020, Society for Historical Archaeology. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1007/s41636-020-00245-5

Publication Title

Historical Archaeology