Computational Archaeology

Computational ArchaeologyDr. Christoph Rinne | Tel. 880.3378 | Room: 136a | Current Lectures (UnivIS)

⇐ Professorship of Prehistoric Archaeology & Professorship of Historic Archaeology

The field Computational Archaeology (germ. Archäoinformatik), at the Institute for Pre- and Protohistory at Kiel University, encompasses teaching and research of archaeology in the context of digital information technology. The integration of information technology and archeology is actively implemented in the working group "Initiative for Statistical Analysis in Archeology Kiel (ISAAK)":

For the training this encompasses generating digital research data at excavations, eliciting material studies and scientific evaluations to the ideal visualization of results. Aside from the core functions of archaeology- documenting, eliciting, evaluating and conveying - the development of new techniques is the main objective of theoretical computational archaeology. Theoretical Computational Archaeology can generate models based on abstractions of archaeological findings. These models, in turn, help with the interpretation of archaeological facts. An example would be the analysis of radiocarbon dates from a series of archaeological layers using Bayes' theorem (Bayliss et al. 2007). There are two online data bases from Kiel for European radiocarbon dates. These databases provide not only a filter for attributes and a spatial filter (Mini-GIS), it can calibrate selected data and the data and graphics are downloadable.

  • RADON. Data bases for Central European and Scandinavian radiocarbon dates for the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age.
  • RADON-B. Data base for radiocarbon dates of the European Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age.

The practical and applied Computational Archaeology is concerned with developing its own programs and establishing existing hard- and software into the manifold processes of archaeological research and monument preservation. Included is the development of data models for the creation of databases for  knowledge networking  or the development of archive processes for digital documents, for example cidoc .

At the institute in Kiel special emphasis is placed on the teaching and practice of statistical methods in archaeology, accentuated by the complex digital documentation at many national and international excavation projects, the geophysical prospection, strategies for the acquisition of digital data in research projects via automatic processes (e.g. nonek) or a basic training in the development of concrete databases (RADON). In addition to this current research topics, basic soft- and hardware skills form part of the archaeological training (Software-Box).

Equipment at the institute

The institute has its own PC lab with 10 workstations for the students, an A3 scanner, a printer and a comprehensive software offer. In addition to this, the server offers storage space for smaller projects, a digital diathek and a digital catalog of the in-house teaching collection, server-based databases, server-based software such as R-Studio and much support in the background. In addition there are three research terminals and a book scanner in the library itself.

The institute also has an extensive equipment pool, among other things. With 8 tachymeters, 8 notebooks for field work, one-differential GPS, two gradiometers for geophysical prospecting (1 probe, 4 probes), a multicopter for aerial photography with NOIR and RGB and much more.

The institute is part of the graduate school Human Development in Landscapes and the Johanna-Mestorf-Akademie, which allows the students and research projects to use a further equipment pool. These include, for example, A 11-gauge magnetometer and differential GPS for prospecting very large areas, a portable xRFA device for material analyzes (X-ray fluorescence analysis), or a digital microscope for various surface surveys, 3D surveying and documentation. For usage analysis.

Vermessung Es Rossells 2015 Magnetik Reesholm 2015 PC Labor UFG Kiel 2014 Prospektion Closos en Can Gaià 2014 Prospektion Es Rossells 2014


Software in the PC lab

We strive to provide up-to-date software for training and ongoing research. At the same time, we are deliberately apply free software, which is available for our students without extra cost, even outside the university. The handling of the software mentioned here is taught in various exercises.

A selection of available software

area software
OS Windows 7
office MS Office 2010, Libre Office, ABBYY FineReader
databases MS Access 2010, SQLite
CAD, GIS Auto CAD 2010, ArcGIS 10, Quantum GIS, SpatiaLite
3D, visualisation MeshLab, AgiSoft PhotoScan
statistic R, R-Studio, Capca, WinBASP, Past, Canoco 4.5
network analysis NodeXL, Gephi
archaeology specific OxCal, Stratify, TachyCAD, PhotoPlan, …
grafic, metadata Gimp, Inkscape, Irfan View, XnView, GeoSetter, ImageMagick, Adobe Creative Suite (1x)
editing notepad++


Softer run on our server

area software
databases MySQL, Postgres & PostGIS
statistic R-Studio

Tutorials not only for the PC Lab

In many cases basic skills in dealing with modern IT will be expected. Appart from out scientific training we offer numerous IT tutorials in German for the PC lab and beyond:

  • TPC 6.1 Backup auf dem eigenen PC. Aufgabenplanung, Batch-Datei und freie Software. PDF
  • TPC 5.1 RStudio - Statistik mit R im Browser. Eine knappe Anleitung für den ersten Einstieg. PDF
  • TPC 4.4 ArchCAD: LISP-Routine für Standardaufgaben in der Vermessung auf archäologischen Ausgrabungen (Befundnummer, Profile, Funde, Koordinatenbeschriftung) PDF ZIP
  • TPC 4.3 LayerErstellen: LISP-Routine zur einheitlichen Anlage definierter Layer je Planum (Layerpaket). PDF ZIP
  • TPC 4.2 Kartieren in AutoCAD mit LISP. Aus Koordinatenlisten werden Befehle zum Einfügen von Blöcken mit Attribut generiert. PDF ZIP
  • TPC 4.1 Einführung in AutoCAD und AutoLISP (die Präsentation ist etwas out of fashion). PDF
  • TPC 3.3 Einführung MS Access 2010 einschließlich VBA : Erstellen einer archäologischen Fundplatzdatenbank PDF
  • TPC 3.2 Einführung in SQLite als Backend für MS Access PDF
  • TPC 3.1 Einführung in SQLite mit dem SQLite Manager unter Firefox PDF
  • TPC 2.1.1 OxCal 4x mit einer eigenen Installation von Firefox 16 PDF
  • TPC 1.1 WinBASP unter Win x64 in einem virtuellen PC PDF
  • Einführung zu Zotero, eine frei verfügbare Literaturdatenbank

In collaboration with members of the German Society for Prehistory and Early History (DGUF) a handbook for students of archaeological subjects has been developed.

  • Die Software-Box: Tipps zur Computer- und Software-Ausstattung fürs Studium PDF