ACT researcher traces ancient lifestyles with digital mapping

ACT researcher traces ancient lifestyles with digital mapping

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Archaeologists are using digital mapping techniques to find out more about day-to-day life in Roman forts. Centre from the Archaelogical Research spokeswoman in Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Dr Penelope Allison, is part of a team tracking where pottery and women’s jewellery has been found in Roman military camps along the old frontier in Germany.

Dr Allison says by marking the number of materials found in particular buildings and streets archaeologists will learn more about life thousands of years ago.

“We’re organising it by functions – so whether it’s dress, eating or cooking – all those sorts of functions and then we’re using a GIS package – a geographical information system to map it digitally onto the fort layout, so we get a very good visualisation where all women’s material is, or the cooking wares are and things like that,” Dr Allison said. Dr Allison says digital mapping of where items were found, can help explain who was living there, and what they were doing.

“We don’t know for example about women and children,” she said. “We tend to assume that we’re inside the forts, but in fact we find a significant representation that shows that there were numbers of women and children at least visiting the forts, and possibly living there as well. “We find that people are perhaps eating in more public areas rather than privately along the main streets, when we look at the distribution of pottery.”