GIS Virtual Reconstructions of the Temporal and Spatial Relations of Fossil Deposits at Wonderwerk Cave (South Africa)

Michal Birkenfeld, Margaret D. Avery, Liora Kolska Horwitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Geographic information systems (GIS) are generally used in archaeology to analyze sites where finds were collected using precise plotting methods. In order to assess the suitability of GIS analyses for excavations where georeferenced information on finds are lacking, we have developed a method for reconstructing the site archive by “back-plotting” finds for the Early to Mid-Pleistocene strata at the site of Wonderwerk Cave, for which only relative locational data (square and depth) are available. We used a digital archive comprising the location data for all finds previously excavated from the site (fauna, flora, lithic artifacts, and geological materials), to construct 3D visualizations of the stratigraphy, stratigraphic relations distant from the existing witness sections; create virtual sections at any transect through the site; and examine vertical and horizontal find associations. Our study shows that this is a valid approach that facilitates improved temporal and spatial analyses of excavations lacking precision-plotted data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)857-876
Number of pages20
JournalAfrican Archaeological Review
Volume32
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Early to Mid-Pleistocene
  • GIS
  • Virtual reconstruction
  • Virtual sections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology

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