M. Kucera ,  W. Neubauer ,  S. Müller ,  M. Nowak ,  J. Torrejón-Valdelomar ,  M. Wallner ,  A. Hinterleitner ,  A. Lenzhofer ,  C. Traxler (2020)

The Tell el-Daba Archaeological Information System: Adding the Fourth Dimension to Legacy Datasets of Long-Term Excavations (A Puzzle in 4D)

communication medium

Old Excavation Data. What Can We Do? - Proceedings of the Workshop held at the 10th International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East (ICAANE) in Vienna


Archaeological research relies on the documentation and analysis of archaeological entities in space and time, i.e. the stratigraphic ordering of these units, resulting in a stratigraphic sequence. A GIS-based Archaeological Information System (AIS) organises archaeological entities and associated attributable information according to its specific three-dimensional geographical position based on the framework provided by a Geographical Information System (GIS). To compile a stratigraphic sequence of these entities located in space, the GIS-based AIS must be extended by a fourth dimension – time. The paper presents the associated extension of ArcGIS (ESRI) by a stratigraphic sequence composer with an integrated interval-based time model as the basic digital environment for spatio-temporal analysis of archaeological excavation datasets. The long-term excavation at Tell el-Daba, Egypt was chosen as a case study to evaluate the applicability of various digital analysis tools using a geo-referenced 4D AIS on non-digital and incomplete excavation datasets. As most existing archaeological excavation datasets are based upon long-term inconsistent and analogue data, it is crucial to integrate and handle such data to ensure their accessibility for state-of-the-art archaeological spatio-temporal data analysis.

research topic

research groups



GIS-based archaeological information system (AIS), 4D GIS, spatio-temporal analysis, legacy dataset, comparability, Allen‘s interval algebra, stratigraphic sequencing tool