An application of Cumulative Viewshed Analysis to a medieval archaeological study: the beacon system of the Isle of Wight, United Kingdom

Kay, Stephen and Sly, Timothy (2001) An application of Cumulative Viewshed Analysis to a medieval archaeological study: the beacon system of the Isle of Wight, United Kingdom. Archeologia e Calcolatori, 12. pp. 167-179. ISSN 1120-6861


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The application of Viewshed analysis techniques to the study of archaeological landscapes, through the medium of a GIS, is a field of research that has a long pedigree. However, it is noticable that studies have focused particularly on the prehistoric and Roman periods, with little application within the area of medieval studies. This paper aims to explore the potentials that different forms of spatial analysis offer, with particular emphasis on visibility in relation to medieval landscape research. A further dimension that is explored within this framework is the use of spatial analysis techniques as a tool for aiding the management of cultural heritage. The study forms part of an on-going research program on the Isle of Wight, being conducted by the Department of Archaeology, University of Southampton, with the aim of understanding the medieval settlement and agriculture on the island. Investigations have been conducted on a range of sites, varying from Deserted Medieval Villages to the Cistercian Abbey of Quarr. The initial results of this research indicated a strong pattern of movement of people to and from the island, a probable result of the strategic military importance the island had during the Middle Ages. Therefore, in collaboration with the Isle of Wight County Council Archaeological Unit, an investigation was launched into the effectiveness of the medieval beacon signalling system on the island, in order to appraise its success, the choice of positioning and the identification of sites. The results collected through the application of Cumulative Viewshed Analysis were then tested for their statistical significance in order to fullfill the CRM aspect of this research.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Statistics; Cultural Resource Management
Subjects: 900 Storia, Geografia e discipline ausiliarie > 930 Storia dei mondo antico fino al 499 ca. > 930.1 Archeologia (Classificare qui la Storia fino al 4000 a.C., l'Archeologia preistorica, le opere interdisciplinari sull'Archeologia) > 930.102 Archeologia - Opere miscellanee > 930.1028 Archeologia – Tecniche, metodologie, apparecchi e strumenti (comprende: Archeometria) > 930.10285 Archeologia – Applicazioni informatiche (comprende: tecniche di datazione)
Depositing User: Dott.ssa Paola Moscati
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2009
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2017 09:46

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