Archaeological space – concepts of space and time in archaeology


Methods provided by archaeological sciences - in the first place archaeological prospection – enable the spatio-temporal analysis of archaeological evidence at the scale of landscapes. The resulting datasets represent the archaeological record of observed phenomena initiated or influenced by human activity in relation to other environmental parameters. For the traceable and reproducible analysis and interpretation of these observed phenomena, a clear definition of spatial and temporal relations and the respective characteristics and attributes of spatiality and temporality are crucial. An axiomatic definition of the four-dimensional archaeological space is fundamental and must include the necessary theoretical framework. This space consisting of three spatial dimensions and one temporal dimension has to be defined and constructed in order to enable the spatio-temporal analysis of archaeological landscapes. Time is therefore an intrinsic parameter of archaeological space and has to be characterized and defined in detail regarding its archaeological value and meaning. This is demanding for a closer understanding of temporal relations of events and processes represented by stratigraphic units (SU). Spatio-temporal analysis is therefore the analysis of the superposition of SU in the archaeological space represented by stratigraphic sequences. For this purpose the correct synchronization of various observed phenomena is within the focus of research. To synchronize events manifested within the archaeological record and observed at different localities, the speed of propagation of any exchange between these two sites is a necessary parameter, whereas each event is represented by a time interval. A first step towards a valid definition of time in archaeology is to differentiate between absolute time lines related to calendar dates and relative time lines related to the subjective perception of time of investigated cultures and the causal relevance for later events. The second step is to include these concepts together with the three spatial dimensions in the superordinate archeological space. Relevance for the conference: An accurate definition of the characteristics of archaeological space including temporal and spatial dimensions is fundamental for the correct analysis of content related to archaeology and cultural heritage. Relevance for the session: As the sessions deals with the visualization and theoretical concepts of time in archaeology supplementary remarks regarding the overall theoretical framework of spatiality and especially temporality are demanding. Innovation: Time and the spatial dimensions and respective attributes must be included within a superordinate archaeological space. References: • Günzel, St. (2010)(editor), Raum. Ein interdisziplinäres Handbuch. Springer Verlag GmbH Deutschland, 2010. • Crema, E. R., Bevan, A., & Lake, M. W. (2010). A probabilistic framework for assessing spatio temporal point patterns in the archaeological record. Journal of Archaeological Science, 37, 1118–1130. 2010.

Congress Visual Heritage 2018. Hosted by CHNT. November 15-15, 2018. City Hall, Vienna, Austria
Matthias Kucera
Matthias Kucera
Vice Director, Senior Researcher