Geographical Information System (GIS) for Archaeological Resource

Management in Sri Lanka
The project on "Geographical Information System(GIS) based spatial database for Sri
Lanka" is an on going research project executed by Department of Archaeology and
Urban Development Authority. This inaugurated the first official collaborative
archaeological project between state Archaeology Department and local semi government
authority. The project is co-directed by Mr. L.H.Indrasiri , Director , UDA/GIS and Mr.
Senarth Disssanayake, Director , Exploration and Registration, Department of
Archaeology and implemented by the author. Urban Development Authority funded
following technical and logistic assistance;
GPS facilities, GIS facilities, Laboratory facilities, Digital Data, Transportation and
Subsistence and payments of exploration officers for the field survey derived from
Department of Archaeology.
This paper discusses the creation of Geographical Information System(GIS) database for
Sri Lanka. Archaeological sites and monuments, the adopted methodology and how it
could be possible to apply various technologies related to Geographical Information
System(GIS) for archaeological resource management in Sri Lanka.
Geographical Information System(GIS) and Archaeological resource management in Sri
Archaeological resource management is one of the main responsible of Department of
Archaeology. The objectives of archaeological resource management are the protection,
conservation and enhancement of archaeological resources. To reach the objectives, site
specific management strategies must be implemented.
To effectively manage
archaeological resources, a systematic approach is required. The following steps provide
a methodological frame work for the management process.

Surveying and creating an inventory to document archaeological sites and
monuments, their historical setting and physical environment.
Assessing and evaluating archaeological heritage resources, their setting and values
Analyzing and investigating material subsistence, structural systems and the historic
and contemporary context to design suitable conservation policies.
Developing strategies for short and long-term programs for conservation management
and anticipated future changes.
Implementing , monitoring, reviewing and where necessary, revising the programs
that were developed.

Geographical Information System(GIS) is a set of computerized tools to collect. They also provide the basis for the formulation of management policies and provide a valuable resources for research and education.Geographical Information System(GIS) is useful tool in assisting in the execution of all of these procedures. although now there is an increase in the use of Geographical Information System(GIS) as a archaeological resource management tool. The inclusion of a site on an spatial inventory gives it formal recognition in the planning process. the second in late 2000 using Microsoft . the first in the early 1998. A Geographical Information System(GIS) cane centralize all relevant site data by reviewing the inventory. archive. If data is collected and simply archived. The existence of site is a first step on the path of effective and responsible archaeological management. Creating a archaeological resources inventory has two purposes. the inventory is used to communicate data to third parties. analysis and update archaeological data more effectively. Second . image processing and statistical analysis. Geographical Information System(GIS) has capabilities for database management. the data is limited use. accurate information enables archaeologists to better understand the sites and more effectively manage its heritage resources. When Department of Archaeology and other Institutes and public utilize the data the potential benefits of Geographical Information System(GIS) are realized. mapping. It records the geometry and location of real world features in layers of a digital map. retrieve. There are two essential requirements for data to be compatible with Geographical Information System(GIS) applications. Second Geographical Information System(GIS) database design requires that data be tired to specific locations and features. analyze and output geographic and associated attribute data. Project background As mentioned above Department of Archaeology is responsible to maintain a register of all known archaeological sites and monuments in Sri Lanka. In 1998 the Department of Archaeology took the first step towards establishing a national sites and monuments database for Sri Lanka. Initially two attempts were made at designing spatial database. and local planning authorities take account of this in drawing up development plans and reaching planning decisions. store. Having access to up-to-date. The creation and maintenance of a archaeological resource inventory is one of the most important steps in the archaeological resource management process and necessary for undertaking any additional management and research activities The creation of site inventory is needed to systematically account for the archaeological resources in a country.'information gaps' in the data concerning heritage resources can be identified and a program of research and documentation can then be undertaken. First a computerized spatial inventory enables archaeologists to input. The spatial inventory of sites and monuments is the major source of Information for understanding the local historic environment. In the past Geographical Information System(GIS) has been primarily used for archaeological research. manage. First computerized information management systems require standarized data stored with inflexible database structure. retrieve.

Apply various Geographical Information System(GIS) technologies for archaeological resource management Adopted methodology The methodology adopted in this project is based on Geographical Information System(GIS) techniques. The mothodology consists of three main steps. Data capture Database designing and management Develop interrogation methods Data capture Data capture is the process of inputting spatial data and associated attribute data into the Geographical Information System(GIS). Manual site plans will be scanned and will be connected to the system as images. Attribute data . GPS readings of sites and monuments were collected in to the system using Leica Planning GPS as point or polygon layers. The images of plans cane be screen digitized and cane be connected to the system as layers. 1. UDA supplied the digital database based on 1:50000 topo sheets covering Sri Lanka. Different methods were adopted at various stages in compilation of the data. Spatial data 2.Access with Auto Cad software. Photographs of sites and monuments were taken using digital camera. collate and compile data on archaeological sites and monuments and develop a spatial database. 2. Scope of work The main task identified to be carried out by the project is to: - Designing spatial database for archaeological sites and monuments Collect. Both systems were unsatisfactory and never beyond the experimental level. 3. Data There are two types of data. Archaeological data will be collected by field survey. 1.

When designing a database it is necessary to first breakdown the information into individual subjects and then establish the relationships between the different subjects so that the computer can . The source data for spatial database is 1. GPS and field observations were adopted for updating the 1:50000 data.Spatial data The basic digital data covers the following. wildlife) Rivers/ streams/water bodies Soil types Geology Contours Important point features Place names Archaeological sites and monuments Spatial database Spatial database has created using Arc/View software by UDA. 1. 2. District.50000 topographic maps. DS and GN Divisions) Other boundaries (Forest reserves. Each monument entry includes sub records for different archaeological entities or items and contain data in four categories. 4. satellite images (high resolution IKONOS). Landuse Roads Administrative boundaries (Provincial. 3. When manipulating the data. facts cane be combined and presented in a variety of different ways. Location and Identification Descriptive Management Administration To effectively and accurately provide information there was a requirement that the data about different subjects be stored in different tables. (please see SMR form) Designing the database on archaeological sites and monuments (Attribute database) The database has designed according to the International Monument Inventory Data Standard (MIDAS). Attribute data Attribute data on archaeological sites and monuments will be collected using the SMR(Sites and Monuments Registration ) form.

Details of one of a query shows in figure 01 Map Site name: Monument Name: Province: DSD: Short Description: Period: Site Class: Site Grade: Site type: Protection Status: queries are as following. There are two methods to link databases. One of the main problem was to provide a user interface friendly enough to be managed without problem by people unfamiliar with computers. As mentioned before Archaeological sites and monuments attribute database has created using Microsoft Access. One method is linking full database to another. Interrogating the spatial database to gain information This is a user friendly system and the user can easily gain information. Because of features contributing to ease of use such as popup menus. Microsoft Access has more advanced and more standard query facility. handling and screen design. Queries were created and linked with spatial database using SQL connection.bring the required information together when requested. Linking Archaeological Sites and monuments attribute database with spatial database. Microsoft Access was preferred choice. Contained within the database are a number of standard queries for interrogation the database. Because of this reason the second method was used to link databases. But it is also capable of responding to individual customized quarries entered by a user through the use of Arc/View query builder tool. Some of the standard Photograph Site Number: Monument Number: District: GND: Plan . Bu comparing Arc/View software. Different access levels has been introduced according to the users requirements. The other method create queries and link these queries with the spatial database. When create the Archaeological Site and monuments attribute database the next step is link it with the spatial database.

The benefit of using Geographical Information System(GIS) can be realized only if data on Archaeological sites and monuments is maintained and regularly updated.division or GN division and a village with a map . Find a site or monument using its name or even just the first letter of the site or monument Grouping of monuments and sites according to their class. The archaeological exploration is progressing. Maps showing 400 yards buffer around protected monuments Archaeological sites or monuments with required spatial layers. . Already the database creation has completed. protection status or period. type.- Database interrogation through geographical location. district. appropriate action cane be planned and implemented. Ds. Find information on a site or monument in a particular province. With this information. A survey of all monuments must be undertaken of periodic intervals to monitor the condition of monuments. For example with rivers and tanks Future development For this year it was planned to establishing the database and collect data on protected monuments in Western province.