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).