5I Interpreting the unstructured: new methods and tools for intrasite spatial analysis of palaeosurfaces

Giovanna Pizziolo, Blankholm Hans Peter, Lucia Sarti, Nicoletta Volante

This session is focused on specific questions related to the analysis of palaeosurfaces, characterised by possible latent structures and/or functional areas, in order to understand spatial relationships and formation dynamics caused by anthropic and/or natural actions. In prehistoric contexts the interpretation of the palaeosurfaces is often complicated by the absence of evident structures which may constitute boundaries among different functional or depositional areas. Consequently the clues for the interpretation as often derive from spatial analysis of the artefact/ecofact distributions. We are dealing with apparently unstructured archaeological complexes which may be analysed in different ways using different techniques to explore their cultural and depositional formation processes. Open air sites and caves pose different problems related to post-depositional effects and strategies of investigation. Moreover, the way data were recorded in the past with traditional methods and techniques may pose additional difficulties for analysis. This session is open to discuss and evaluate pro´s and con´s of new  IT-driven, intrasite spatial analytical methods and techniques  and, in particular, their power to deliver information of relevance for behavioural interpretation. The emphasis is placed on prehistoric palaeosurfaces, but not to the exclusion of other culture-historical contexts. We look forward to a lively debate, with a particular focus on the spatial analytical tools, the critical evaluation of best practices for collecting, recording and validating intrasite data for IT-driven intrasite spatial analyses and, not least, on how these new methods may help behavioural interpretation.

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