Distribution analysis of sites based on GIS

Distribution analysis of sites based on GIS


Tsunekazu kato
associate professor, faculty of engineering,
Osaka electro-communication university, japan
[email protected]

Kazumasa Ozawa
Faculty of Engineering,
Osaka Electro-Communication University,
Osaka, Japan

This paper treats the relation between two kinds of important sites of ancient Japan, in the Late Yayoi period (100-300AD), by using GIS. One is a group of village sites, which existed through the period. Another is a group of hill-fort sites with beacon facilities

Archaeology is regarded as a science of restoring lives and societies of ancient people, based on the knowledge acquired from excavation. It has also been well recognized that geographical information plays an important role in archaeology. In fact, archaeologists have been drawing various kinds of maps by hand to understand the past; in other words, those maps have been drawn for geographic analysis on many types of distributions of archaeological sites. Unfortunately, such a traditional way without computers would not provide more than existing limited types of geographic analysis. In contrast, there would be much room to provide a variety of geographic analysis to be offered in the progress of the information technology (IT). Especially, GIS looks very powerful for geographic analysis on distribution of sites by linking it to 3-dimensional terrain data. We have developed a GIS specialized for geographic analysis on the Late Yayoi Period (100AD-300AD), which consists of two types of databases and their managing system; one is an archaeological database of ancient village sites in the period and another is the digital terrain database. We call it the Four-dimensional Historical Space System (FHSS). This paper undertakes quantitative analysis on the relationship between two kinds of village sites in the period, which are carried out by using FHSS.

Village sites in the Yayoi period have been classified into two types: Nucleus Village Sites and Hill-fort Sites. Every nucleus village site is large-scale, extending around the center in a flat land in an area. On the other hand, hill-fort sites were small-scale, situated at altitude, some of which are estimated to be equipped with beacon facilities for military telecommunication. Archaeological knowledge indicates that both types of sites existed in the same area, and a number of hill-forts were associated with a nucleus village. In this paper, hill-fort sites to be estimated as closely connected to nucleus villages have been shown, which are extracted by using FHSS.

Almost all of the Yayoi villages were extended over a flat land or over a low hill near water for managing paddy fields.

A nucleus village is the large-scale village, which was located at the center of an area and, in most cases, continued for a long period of time [1,2]. Nucleus village sites have mainly been detected in the western part of Japan. An archaeologist illustrated relations between 54 nucleus village sites in the Kinai region [1,3].

On the other hand, many hill-fort sites have been excavated at altitudes higher than 100 metres in western Japan, which appeared to be unsuitable places for managing paddy fields. Hill-forts continued to exist between the Middle and Late Yayoi periods, the age of war, referred to as “the Great Japanese Civil War” in an ancient Chinese document. It is an archaeological hypothesis that hill-forts were equipped with beacon telecommunication facilities [4,5].

This has been verified in earlier field experiments of beacon telecommunication between a small number of hill-fort sites by a group of archaeologists. In the experiments, they produced smoke coiling up at the sites [4].