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Current issues in Computer Applications in Archaeology


Compulsory attendance


Admission requirements

Computertoepassingen 1, Computertoepassingen 2 and Archeologische methoden en technieken 1 obtained.


Human activity has a spatial dimension. Space is becoming a defining feature in innovative archaeological research. This course will offer an introduction to a range of current analytical methods applied to past built and non-built environments, including Space Syntax, GIS applications and 3D visualisation. Through a well-balanced combination of method and theory with practical applications the course will not only offer practical skills but ensure a good understanding of the contributions these methods can make to archaeological interpretations.
The first part of the course will focus on Space Syntax methods of spatial analysis. This provides a rigorously analytical approach to the social meaning of space in practical and phenomenological aspects. It will offer an introduction to Space Syntax and will allow participants to apply their acquired skills to the archaeological record of their choice.

The second part of the course will focus on 3D visualisation applied to archaeology, with particular focus on the built environment. Reconstructing ancient sites and lifestyles has moved far away from early computer-game visualisations into increasingly lifelike reality-based interactive engagements with recreated past worlds. The main techniques to obtain 3D models will be presented and the first steps in 3D modelling will be taught through practical lessons. Aims and current issues of 3D visualisation techniques will be presented and discussed through a selection of case studies.

Course objectives

  • Raise awareness of the significance of space for all human activity;

  • Acquire good understanding of Space Syntax’ Methods and Theories, and the practical use of space syntax analysis tools;

  • Learn basic skills on how to make 3D visualisations;

  • Acquaintance with the main techniques of 3D data acquisition and 3D modelling and how to apply them to archaeology.

Ects distribution

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 7×2 hours of lecture;

  • 280 pages of literature;

  • Practical work.


Course schedule details can be found in the bachelor 3 time schedule.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures;

  • Practical exercises.

Assessment method

  • Student presentation of case studies:

    • one application of Space Syntax
    • one 3D-model.
  • Paper, which consists of writing a subsidy/grant application.

Assessment deadline

The paper needs to be handed in by 1 March 2013.

Reading list

  • S. Bafta, Space Syntax: A Brief Introduction to its Logic and Analytical Techniques. Environment and Behavior 35 (2003), 17-29;

  • Selection of articles from B. Frischer (ed.), Making History Interactive: Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA 2009). Oxford: Archeopress (2010).

  • Additional literature will be indicated during class.


Register for this course via uSis.
Instructions for registration can be found in the uSis manual.

Contact information

For more information about this course, please contact mw dr J.J. Stöger.