Project objectives

Rationale and background

GIS and Aerial photography are tools of great importance to archaeology, as well as any discipline that is dealing with the landscape and spatial analysis. For the last 20 years, GIS became indispensable tool for data analysis and interpretation in almost every archaeology programme in European higher education system. It is not an overstatement to claim that using GIS software became part of the elementary literacy in the discipline. Unfortunately, curriculum in Croatian institutions did not follow up to those trends and did not incorporate GIS and other non-invasive methods in archaeological research. As the main reasons for that we can emphasise the lack of technologies and technical support required for carrying out such tasks in the Humanities. However, in some other disciplines in Croatia, it became very widely used, and also data and equipment subsequently became accessible, both in terms of regulations and prices. It is highly ironic that on of the pioneering GIS studies in archaeology worldwide was based on case study from the island of Hvar, Croatia (e.g. Stančič & Gaffney 1991). However, for a number of reasons, this initial opportunity was not fully exploited. The same could also be said for aerial reconnaissance and use of aerial photography in Croatian archaeology. While these two fields are increasingly integrated in modern landscape studies, unfortunately, neither of them were included in the university curricula in Croatia, a if is the primary objective of the IP to fill the gap in this field by providing the opportunities for developing the necessary knowledge in local institutions. Importance of landscape research is stated in the European landscape convention. It encourages development of methods and knowledge for landscape management as important tools in promoting and protecting European diversities as well as identities.

Aims and objectives

Due to various reasons, mostly stemming from traditional low-tech level of Humanities (and, accordingly, lesser investments in technological infrastructure in this field), Humanities in many countries (not only in Croatia) were increasingly faced with lack of adequate knowledge, experts and technological tools for facing challenges in dealing with spatial and landscape phenomena in actual socio-economic contexts, and particularly associated with development of longer term sustainability strategies involving cultural and historical heritage in its landscape and spatial settings.

Proposed IP is the first case in Croatia (not only at Universities but wider) where GIS and analysis of remote-sensed data associated with historical heritage will be systematically taught. The potential of it is difficult to overestimate. By involving a number of internationally renowned experts from the universities of Ljubljana and Vienna (see their references) great development potential will we created at local universities, not only in terms of trained students, but also in developing necessary networks for future collaboration in the field.

It is important to create a course in which importance of spatial analysis and cultural landscapes research will be emphasized. As noted above, in some Eastern European countries there is no adequate or sufficient use of ICT tools in cultural landscapes research. This programme will offer introduction to some of the most important methods and equipment for such analysis. This particular programme will consist of two major parts: 1. Introduction to GIS software for data processing and landscape analysis – theoretical and practical level and 2. Introduction to aerial photography interpretation and analysis. Students will learn how to perform digital mapping of archive photographs. The total cost of particular hardware and software combination is rather low and it was chosen to facilitate future dissemination of knowledge.

IP ties & Innovative

This IP will introduce completely new course in Croatia. Also, it will be the first opportunity for Croatian and Slovakian students to learn basics of GIS and aerial photography analysis and interpretation. Hopefully, this will give the initial impulse for implementing similar set of courses in curricula as regular ones. With such implementation, archaeology programme at the University of Zagreb will be better in synch with other European programmes which will help future mobility in the frames of the Bologna process.

Learning outcomes:

  • Students competent autonomously operating with digital data with GIS and similar technologies
  • Increased knowledge of Geoinformatics and digital technologies
  • Students competent for working in international and multi-tasking environment
  • Students competent planning and applying modern geoinformatic technology in interdisciplinary projects
  • Understanding of use and application of geo-information systems
  • Basic knowledge about GIS Idrisi software
  • Spatial analysis
  • Organisation, visualisation and interpretation of data
  • Aerial photography analysis and interpretation