Journal of Archaeological Research

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 263–295 | Cite as

New Developments in the Use of Spatial Technology in Archaeology

  • Mark D. McCoyEmail author
  • Thegn N. Ladefoged


Spatial technology is integral to how archaeologists collect, store, analyze, and represent information in digital data sets. Recent advances have improved our ability to look for and identify archaeological remains and have increased the size and complexity of our data sets. In this review we outline trends in visualization, data management, archaeological prospecting, modeling, and spatial analysis, as well as key advances in hardware and software. Due to developments in education, information technology, and landscape archaeology, the implementation of spatial technology has begun to move beyond superficial applications and is no longer limited to environmental deterministic approaches. In the future, spatial technology will increasingly change archaeology in ways that will enable us to become better practitioners, scholars, and stewards.


Geographic information systems Laser mapping Remote sensing Geophysical survey 



We thank our students and colleagues who have discussed the joys and pains of spatial technology with us over the years. In particular, Michael Graves, Simon Holdaway, Lisa Holm, Stephanie Jolivette, Patrick Kirch, Mara Mulrooney, Chris Stevenson, and Steve Shackley have contributed to our use and understanding of spatial technology. The journal’s editors and anonymous reviewers provided many useful comments and suggestions. Special thanks to K. Ann Horsburgh for suggesting we produce this review.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologySan Jose State UniversitySan JoseUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

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