Digital Tools for Historical Archaeology
The page hosts a growing resource of digital tools for historical archaeology. If you have additional links and/or resources to include, please send an email to the Tech Committee Chair, Ed González-Tennant (Edward.Gonzalez-Tennant@ucf.edu).
Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
The use of GIS has become central to historical archaeology, from organizing data to recording fieldwork and producing maps, rare is the project that today does not use GIS regularly.
The leading open source GIS software available today is QGIS (https://qgis.org/). QGIS is free and can be used for all your commercial needs. It can also be installed on all leading operating systems. If you are unfamiliar with GIS, or QGIS specifically, many excellent online tutorials exist.
SHA Members have created two online sets of tutorials for QGIS:
Benjamin P. Carter hosts an online version of his 2019 SHA QGIS Workshop (http://benjaminpcarter.com/workshops/)
Edward González-Tennant hosts a QGIS 4 Arch (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqiB3IIUNAnU8vPcuea6A9pB7Y_qQBH1u) YouTube series, as well as the shorter 2 Minute Tutorials (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqiB3IIUNAnUl4l8hjrn3-j0idxKyo4Uf).
The industry standard for GIS remains ESRI’s ArcGIS suite of software. However, it is only available for Windows although workarounds for other operating systems exist. While access to this software was prohibitive in the past, ESRI has brought forward numerous low-cost, non-commercial licenses. User can access an ArcGIS for Personal Use (https://www.esri.com/en-us/arcgis/products/arcgis-for-personal-use/buy) version for $100/year. A growing number of learning resources are provided by ESRI at their Learn ArcGIS (https://learn.arcgis.com/en/) website.
Photogrammetry refers to the creation of accurate 3D models from a series of photographs. Photographs can be of objects ranging in size from small artifacts to buildings and entire landscapes. Several programs now exist to convert images collected by mobile phones, digital SLR cameras, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) into 3D models.
Metashape (https://www.agisoft.com/) remains one of the most popular photogrammetry programs on the market. It is available for all operating systems and offers a powerful and relatively easy to use photogrammetry experience. Users can experiment with a fully functional 30-day trial. Steep educational discounts mean the software is available for many students as well. Past Tech Committee member Michael Ashley helped produce this excellent webinar (https://youtu.be/w_pfhBVIWcs) on photogrammetry. It is important to note, Metashape used to be called Photoscan, so keep that in mind when searching for online tutorials.
Meshroom (https://alicevision.org/#meshroom) is an open source alternative for photogrammetry. It is a full featured photogrammetry program available for Windows. Numerous online tutorials provide an introduction to the use of this software. We recommend beginning with this one (https://youtu.be/k4NTf0hMjtY) from CG Geek to get you started.