Measuring the Face of the Past and Facing the Measurement

  • William Fred LimpEmail author
Part of the Quantitative Methods in the Humanities and Social Sciences book series (QMHSS)


We are in the midst of major changes in the practice of archaeology and heritage studies. Technologies for high-precision, high-density measurement of objects, sites and landscapes coupled with computer-based methods for the visualization of these data and other (re)creations of the past are growing in use. These approaches have and will continue to fundamentally alter our field. The term “high density survey and measurement” (HDSM) covers methods such as airborne lidar, real time kinematic GNSS/GPS survey, robotic total stations, terrestrial “laser” scanning, structured light scanning and close range photogrammetry (CRP, also known as structure from motion—SfM) and UAV-based SfM/CRP and scanning. The analytical process that characterized our field before HDSM can be (over-) simplified to a sequence of observe, interpret/abstract, measure, record, and analyze. HDSM breaks us out of this process in that it pushes us toward a recursive and reflexive engagement with the data, in which we observe, record, measure, analyze, and abstract/interpret repeatedly, and in various orders. The growth in the use of HDSM methods is paralleled by increasing applications of computer-based visualization. Effective use of both requires attention to a scholarly digital ecosystem that addresses the archive and reuse of these digital objects and includes strategies to reuse these digital objects in other scholarly representations along with the tools for citation and other aspects of scholarly discourse.


Digital Object Visual Memory Digital Archive Inattentional Blindness Digital Product 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeosciencesUniversity of ArkansasFayettevilleUSA

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