Thesis abstract ‘Database Design, Archaeological Classification and Geographic Information Systems: A Case Study from Southeast Queensland’

13th November 2013

James R. Smith

PhD, School of Social Science, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, 2001

Critical examination of the classification system and database application employed to manage the archaeological record of Queensland, Australia, revealed serious problems that effectively nullify the system’s validity. Subsequent work revealed that Queensland is not an isolated case and that the problems identified exist throughout Australia and are cause for concern, particularly as a growing number of Australian archaeologists are beginning to employ Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as a research and management tool. If GIS are to be employed successfully then they must be underpinned by a well-designed database and this in turn must be based on an accurate classification system.

To redress the above situation a classification system is developed that explicitly ignores the site type concept by concentrating on what is actually on the ground and the polythetic nature of the archaeological record. Using a conceptual level database design technique known as Object Role Modelling the classification system is translated first into data model and then into a fully-functional relational database. To reduce the potential for error when employing this new approach an interpretive model is also developed to ensure that analysis is always undertaken in a logical and meaningful fashion. Using a data set from Bribie Island, southeast Queensland, Australia, a series of tests are undertaken in conjunction with a GIS to determine the overall success and potential of the approach. The results indicate that this information system enhances baseline comparative analysis by generating data and information not possible using current methods.

Smith, J.R.
Thesis abstract 'Database Design, Archaeological Classification and Geographic Information Systems: A Case Study from Southeast Queensland'
2002
55
44–45
Thesis Abstracts
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