The research programme lines Archaeological Remote Sensing and Archaeological Geophysical Prospection produce new complex three dimensional datasets of archaeological landscapes, which demand adequate integrated archaeological interpretation and the development of novel concepts of dynamic analysis of archaeological landscapes including temporal relations and attributes. Therefore the main challenge for the programme line Archaeological Interpretation, Spatial Analysis & Virtual Archaeology is the transformation of the acquired and processed complex physical data into interpretative archaeological information that is accurate, readable and ready for other archaeologists to use to derive and integrate spatial and temporal information to gain information of the fourth dimension - the time.
The large existing prospection data-archives from the partners form an important input for the LBI. Together with the new datasets from the other programm lines these archives demand adequate data management and appropriate archaeological interpretation. Based on this needs PL3 develops an integrative platform for the researchers of the LBI and the partners to work in close collaboration on data management and integrated archaeological interpretation. The main platform for an integrated interpretation and data management will be a GIS-based archaeological information system, extended by appropriate, easy-to-use tools for dynamic visualization and spatial analysis for an integrated archaeological interpretation, archiving, data retrieval and long term maintenance.
Both, integrated interpretation of the data and spatial analysis for landscape archaeology, involve the development of appropriate spatial analysis algorithms for landscape archaeology and their application within the case studies. Such fundamental research will lead into the specification and implementation of general purpose tools for the spatial analysis applied to archaeological landscapes based on GIS technology. The specification of these specific GIS-tools will be derived from the prospection experts' interpretation process and downgraded to an integrated, easy-to-use multi-purpose toolbox for the archaeologist, to provide a common graphical interface for the communication between the prospection experts and the archaeologists experienced in specific spatial or temporal aspects of the landscape under research.
The GIS system will be extended by a user interface to a research-wiki, which will ensure the quality management of the empirical improvements. The implementation of a web-based application following the wiki-principle for the documentation and communication ensures a fast and seamless distributed and collaborative access to all project data and metadata. The GIS-system and the research-wiki will act as main interface and portal from the LBI to the partners who will apply and evaluate the developed tools.