Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Strategic research into and development of best practice for, predictive modelling on behalf of Dutch Cultural Resource Management

Are predictive archaeological maps a reliable tool to play an important role in the spatial planning? One of the goals of this project was to develop best practices for the production and application of the models.

Duration
2002  -   2007
Contact
Hans Kamermans
Funding
NWO NWO

Project description

The Netherlands are one of the few countries in Europe where predictive models play an important role in cultural heritage management. The models are used to predict archaeological site location in order to guide future developments in the modern landscape. Many scholars however consider the application of predictive models for this purpose highly controversial.

Definition

“Predictive Modelling is a technique to predict, at a minimum, the location of archaeological sites or materials in a region, based either on the observed pattern in a sample or on assumptions about human behaviour” From this definition it will be clear that there are two types of predictive modelling. An inductive based on the observed pattern in a sample and a deductive based on assumption about human behavior( figure 1 and 2).

 

Please notice that predictive modelling is a pleonasm. In science every model can be used to predict.

The Dutch situation

In 1997 the state service for archaeology in the Netherlands produced the first version of a national predictive model on a scale 1: 50. This map is called the IKAW and has the following characteristics:

  • Mainly inductive, and in part deductive
  • Mainly ecological deterministic
  • Not thoroughly tested (only one regional test)

Dutch commercial companies produce predictive maps on a regional scale. Most of them are not inductive but are based on expert judgement. Also the Dutch situation was heavily criticized.

In 2002 a group of Dutch researchers from the state service, universities and commercial companies started a 5-year project to evaluate the use of predictive modelling for heritage management in the Netherlands. Their first publication was an analysis of the current use of predictive modelling in the Netherlands (Van Leusen et al. 2005). They grouped the problems they encountered:

  • Quality and quantity of archaeological input data
  • Relevance of the environmental input data
  • Need to incorporate social and cultural input data
  • Lack of temporal resolution
  • Lack of spatial resolution
  • Use of spatial statistics
  • Testing of predictive models.

In the following years these problems were studied and in 2009 the team published a number of recommendations on how to improve the use of predictive modelling for archaeological heritage management (Kamermans et al. 2009).

Conclusions

In the end the overall conclusion of the research group was: The current forms of inductive predictive modelling are not suitable for archaeological heritage management. There are more critics. The English GIS expert David Wheatley is among them. In 2003 he wrote «correlative predictive modelling does not actually work very well and, more significantly, will lead to an increasingly unrepresentative archaeological record». By paying only attention to the areas with a high-predicted density of archaeological sites, the areas with a low density are neglected. This means that they will forever stay areas with low density because no research takes place to prove otherwise. The American researcher Thomas Whitley wrote in one of his articles: «In many cases it is too costly or even impossible to do an correlative predictive model and ultimately the resulting model does not provide better insight into site placement processes than intuition».

Follow-up

So we have a problem. We need to predict the past in order to play a role in spatial planning. We have a map but that map has many theoretical and methodological flaws. So what can we do? There are three scenarios:

  • So What? (business as usual)
  • No Way! (no predictive modelling)
  • Predictive modelling for risk analysis

The first scenario (So What?) is what is happening at the moment in the Netherlands. The IKAW has undergone minor improvements, and production of the regional models has not changed but what is needed is a radically different approach.

The second scenario is the No way scenario. Predictive modelling is of no use for archaeological heritage management and we should stay far from it like archaeologists in other civilised countries (cf. the UK and France) do. We should seriously investigate this scenario. Opponents of this approach always claim that archaeological research will become more expensive but I have never seen a serious study into this topic.

The last scenario is to further develop predictive modelling as a tool for risk analysis. Until now we can only talk about relative qualifications of site density. Two employees from the state service verbalized it as follows: “At the moment ‘It is impossible to say anything about the number of archaeological phenomena that can be expected other than in terms of relatively many or relatively few.

But how do we develop predictive modelling for risk analysis? We first need better quality data based on representative samples. Secondly we need better quality models. Third: we need to test these models and in the end we need control over uncertainties. We need risk assessment with estimates and confidence intervals. There are some statistical techniques that can help us: Bayesian statistics for numerical estimates and confidence intervals and Dempster-Shafer modelling.

The next step is to redefine the problem in terms of risk assessment, risk management and risk mitigation in order to achieve trans-disciplinarily.

Finally field-testing procedures have to be developed as a means of reducing risk and uncertainty to acceptable levels.

Researchers list

The project team reflects a unique collaboration of all parties involved in archaeological predictive modelling in the Netherlands. Academic researchers, workers at national government agencies, and commercial consultancies each bring their own expertise to the project:

Jos Deeben, Daan Hallewas and Paul Zoetbrood of the Dutch State Service for Archaeological Heritage Management (ROB - now RCE) were responsible for the management and preservation of the national archaeological heritage, including the production of maps indicating heritage values for use in the planning process (the ROB participation ended in April 2005).

Hans Kamermans of the Faculty of Archaeology at Leiden University (UL), Martijn van Leusen of the archaeology department (GIA) of the University of Groningen (RUG) and Philip Verhagen first of RAAP Archeologisch Adviesbureau and later of the VU University Amsterdam conduct research into the methodology and applications of GIS-enhanced predictive models. 

Publications

List of all publications predictive modelling project

2002

Deeben, J.H.C., D.P. Hallewas and Th.J. Maarlevelt 2002. Predictive modelling in archaeological heritage management of the Netherlands: the indicative map of archaeological values (2nd generation). Berichten ROB 45, 9-56. Amersfoort: Rijksdienst voor het Oudheidkundig Bodemonderzoek

Deeben, J.H.C., D.P. Hallewas and P.A.M. Zoetbrood 2002. Valuation and Selection of Late Medieval Sites in the Netherlands. In P.J. Woltering, W.J.H. Verwers and G.H. Scheepstra (eds), Middeleeuwse toestanden. Archeologie, geschiedenis en monumentenzorg, 451-465. Assen: Van Gorcum

Kamermans, H. 2002. The answer is blowin’ in the wind. Research desires and data possibilities. In G. Burenhult and J. Arvidsson (eds), Archaeological Informatics: Pushing the Envelope. CAA 2001. BAR International Series 1016, 79-83. Oxford: Archaeopress

Leusen, P.M. van, J. Deeben, D. Hallewas, P. Zoetbrood, H. Kamermans and Ph. Verhagen 2002. Predictive Modelling for Archaeological Heritage Management in the Netherlands. Baseline Report. Den Haag: NWO

2003

Deeben, J., D. Hallewas, H. Kamermans, M. van Leusen, P. Verhagen, M. Wansleeben and P. Zoetbrood 2003. Predictive Modelling for Archaeological Resource Management: Development of Best Practice. In M. Doerr and A. Sarris (eds), CAA2002. The Digital Heritage of Archaeology. Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology, 430. Athens: Hellenistic Ministry of Culture

Deeben, J. and D. Hallewas 2003. Predictive Maps and Archaeolgical Heritage Management in the Netherlands. In J. Kunow and  J. Müller (eds), Landschaftsarchäologie und geographische Informationssysteme: Prognosekarten, Besiedlungsdynamik und prähistorische Raumordnungen. The Archaeology of Landscapes and Geographic Information Systems: Predictive Maps, Settlement Dynamics and Space and Territory in Prehistory, Forschungen zur Archäologie im Land Brandenburg 8. Archäoprognose Brandenburg I, 107-118. Wünsdorf: Brandenburgisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologisches Landesmuseum

Kamermans, H. 2003. Predictive Maps and Land Quality Mapping. In J. Kunow and  J. Müller (eds), Landschaftsarchäologie und geographische Informationssysteme: Prognosekarten, Besiedlungsdynamik und prähistorische Raumordnungen. The Archaeology of Landscapes and Geographic Information Systems: Predictive Maps, Settlement Dynamics and Space and Territory in Prehistory, Forschungen zur Archäologie im Land Brandenburg 8. Archäoprognose Brandenburg I, 151-160. Wünsdorf: Brandenburgisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologisches Landesmuseum 

2004

Kamermans, H., J. Deeben, D. Hallewas, M. van Leusen, Ph. Verhagen and P. Zoetbrood 2004. Deconstructing the Crystal Ball: the state of the art in predictive modelling for archaeological heritage management in the Netherlands. In Stadtarchäologie Wien (ed.), Enter the Past. The E-way into the Four Dimensions of Cultural Heritage, BAR International Series 1227, 175 and CD-ROM (25 pages). Oxford: Archaeopress

2005

Deeben, J. and B. Groenewoudt 2005. The expanding role of predictive modeling in archaeological heritage management in the Netherlands. In C. Mathers, T. Darvill and B.J. Little (eds). Heritage of Value, Archaeology of Renown. Reshaping Archaeological Assessment and Significance, 298-300. Gainesville: University Press of Florida

Kamermans, H. 2005. Searching for Tools to Predict the Past; the Application of Predictive Modelling in Archaeology. In Reading Historical Spatial Information from around the World: Studies of Culture and Civilization Based on Geographic Information Systems Data. Proceedings of the 24th International Research Symposium. Kyoto 7-11 February 2005369-378. Kyoto: International Research Centre for Japanese Studies

Kamermans, H., J. Deeben, D. Hallewas, P. Zoetbrood, M. van Leusen and  Ph. Verhagen 2005. Project proposal. In M. van Leusen and H. Kamermans (eds), Predictive Modelling for Archaeological Heritage Management: A research agenda. Nederlandse Archeologische Rapporten 29, 13-23. Amersfoort: Rijksdienst voor het Oudheidkundig Bodemonderzoek

Leusen, P.M. van, J. Deeben, D. Hallewas, P. Zoetbrood, H. Kamermans and Ph. Verhagen 2005. A Baseline for Predictive Modelling in the Netherlands. In M. van Leusen and H. Kamermans (eds), Predictive Modelling for Archaeological Heritage Management: A research agenda. Nederlandse Archeologische Rapporten 29, 25-92. Amersfoort: Rijksdienst voor het Oudheidkundig Bodemonderzoek

Leusen, P.M. van and H. Kamermans (eds) 2005. Predictive Modelling for Archaeological Heritage Management: A research agenda. Nederlandse Archeologische Rapporten 29. Amersfoort: Rijksdienst voor het Oudheidkundig Bodemonderzoek

Leusen, P.M. van and H. Kamermans 2005. Introduction. In M. van Leusen and H. Kamermans (eds), Predictive Modelling for Archaeological Heritage Management: A research agenda. Nederlandse Archeologische Rapporten 29, 7-12. Amersfoort: Rijksdienst voor het Oudheidkundig Bodemonderzoek

Verhagen, Ph. 2005. Prospecting Strategies and Archaeological Predictive Modelling. In M. van Leusen and H. Kamermans (eds), Predictive Modelling for Archaeological Heritage Management: A research agenda. Nederlandse Archeologische Rapporten 29, 109-121. Amersfoort: Rijksdienst voor het Oudheidkundig Bodemonderzoek

Verhagen, Ph., J. Deeben, D. Hallewas, P. Zoetbrood, H. Kamermans and M. van Leusen 2005. A review of predictive modeling for archaeological heritage management in the Netherlands. In J.-F. Berger, F. Bertoncello, F. Braemer, G. Davtian and M. Gazenbeek (eds), Temps et espaces de l’homme en société, analyses et modèles spatiaux en archéologie. XXVe rencontres internationales d’archéologie et d’histoire d’Antibes, 83-92. Antibe: Éditions APDCA

2006

Kamermans, H. 2006. Problems in Paleolithic land evaluation: a cautionary tale. In M. Mehrer and K. Wescott (eds), GIS and Archaeological Predictive Modeling, 97-122. Boca Raton: CRC Press

Kamermans, H. 2006. Searching for Tools to Predict the Past; the Application of Predictive Modelling in Archaeology. In Uno Takao (ed.), Reading Historical Spatial Information from around the World: Studies of Culture and Civilization Based on Geographic Information Systems Data. February 7-11 2005, 35-46. Kyoto: International Research Centre for Japanese Studies

Verhagen, Ph. 2006. Quantifying the Qualified: the Use of Multi-Criteria Methods and Bayesian Statistics for the Development of Archaeological Predictive Models. In M. Mehrer and K. Wescott (eds), GIS and Archaeological Predictive Modeling, 191-216. Boca Raton: CRC Press 

Verhagen, Ph., H. Kamermans and M. van Leusen 2006. Whither archaeological predictive modelling? In W. Börner and S. Uhlirz (red.). Workshop 10. Archäologie und Computer. Kulturelles Erbe und Neue Technologien, CD-ROM, 15 pp. Wien: Phoibos Verlag

2007

Verhagen, Ph. 2007. Case Studies in Archaeological Predictive Modelling. ASLU 14. Leiden University Press

Verhagen, Ph. 2007. Predictive models put to the test. In Verhagen, Ph. (ed.). Case Studies in Archaeological Predictive Modelling. ASLU 14: 115-168. Leiden University Press

Verhagen, Ph., H. Kamermans, M. van Leusen, J. Deeben, D. Hallewas and P. Zoetbrood 2007. First thoughts on the incorporation of cultural variables into predictive modelling. In Verhagen, Ph. (ed.). Case Studies in Archaeological Predictive Modelling. ASLU 14: 203-210. Leiden University Press

2008

Kamermans, H. 2008. Smashing the crystal ball. A critical evaluation of the Dutch national archaeological predictive model IKAW. International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing 1 (1) 2007, 71–84. Edinburg: Edinburgh University Press

Verhagen, Ph, H. Kamermans and M. van Leusen 2008. The future of archaeological predictive modelling. Proceedings of Symposium The Protection and Development of the Dutch Archaeological Historical Landscape: The European Dimension, 20-23 May 2008, Lunteren

Verhagen, Ph., M. van Leusen en H. Kamermans 2008. Een nieuwe impuls voor de archeologische verwachtingskaart. Archeobrief 12 (3), 27-34

2009

Isarin, R., Ph. Verhagen and B. Goudswaard 2009. Archaeology as a risk in spatial planning: manoeuvring between objectivity and subjectivity. In H. Kamermans, M. van Leusen and Ph. Verhagen (eds), Archaeological Prediction and Risk Management. Alternatives to Current Practice. ASLU 17: 41-48. Leiden University Press

Kamermans, H., M. van Leusen and Ph. Verhagen (eds) 2009. Archaeological Prediction and Risk Management. Alternatives to Current Practice. ASLU 17. Leiden University Press

Kamermans, H., M. van Leusen and Ph. Verhagen 2009. Preface. In: H. Kamermans, M. van Leusen and Ph. Verhagen (eds), Archaeological Prediction and Risk Management. Alternatives to Current Practice. ASLU 17: 7. Leiden University Press.

Kamermans, H., M. van Leusen and Ph. Verhagen 2009. Archaeological prediction and risk management. In H. Kamermans, M. van Leusen and Ph. Verhagen (eds), Archaeological Prediction and Risk Management. Alternatives to Current Practice. ASLU 17: 9-18. Leiden University Press

Leusen, M. van 2009. Archaeological predictions contested: the role of the Dutch Indicative Map of Archaeological Values (IKAW) in local planning procedures. In H. Kamermans, M. van Leusen and Ph. Verhagen (eds), Archaeological Prediction and Risk Management. Alternatives to Current Practice. ASLU 17: 49-62. Leiden University Press

Leusen, M. van, A. R. Millard and B. Ducke 2009. Dealing with uncertainty in archaeological prediction. In H. Kamermans, M. van Leusen and Ph. Verhagen (eds), Archaeological Prediction and Risk Management. Alternatives to Current Practice. ASLU 17: 123-160. Leiden University Press

Verhagen, Ph. 2009. Testing archaeological predictive models: a rough guide. In H. Kamermans, M. van Leusen and Ph. Verhagen (eds), Archaeological Prediction and Risk Management. Alternatives to Current Practice. ASLU 17: 63-70. Leiden University Press

Verhagen, Ph., H. Kamermans and M. van Leusen 2009. The future of archaeological predictive modelling. In H. Kamermans, M. van Leusen and Ph. Verhagen (eds), Archaeological Prediction and Risk Management. Alternatives to Current Practice. ASLU 17: 19-25. Leiden University Press

2010

Kamermans, H., 2010. The Application of Predictive Modelling in Archaeology: Problems and Possibilities. In: F. Niccolucci and S. Hermon (eds), Beyond the artefact – Digital Interpretation of the Past - Proceedings of CAA2004 - Prato 13-17 April 2004. Archaeolingua, Budapest, 273–277.

Verhagen, Ph., H. Kamermans, M. van Leusen, J. Deeben, D. Hallewas and P. Zoetbrood, 2010. First thoughts on the incorporation of cultural variables into predictive modelling. In: F. Niccolucci and S. Hermon (eds), Beyond the artefact – Digital Interpretation of the Past - Proceedings of CAA2004 - Prato 13-17 April 2004. Archaeolingua, Budapest, 307–311.

Verhagen, Ph, H. Kamermans, M. van Leusen and B. Ducke, 2010. New developments in archaeological predictive modelling. In: T. Bloemers, H. Kars, A. van der Valk and M. Wijnen (eds), The Cultural Landscape & Heritage Paradox. Protection and Development of the Dutch Archaeological-Historical Landscape and its European Dimension. Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam, 429-442.

2011

Kamermans, H., 2011: Predictive maps in the Netherlands, problems and solutions. In: S. Gelichi / C. Negrelli (eds.): A Piccolli Passi. Archeologia predittiva e preventive nell’ esperienza cesenate. Edizioni All’Isegna del Giglio, Borgo S. Lorenzo,13-18.

Kamermans H., 2011: Is het verleden te voorspellen?. In: Velden H.M. van der, Jaspers N.L., Drenth E., Scholte Lubberink H.B.G. (eds.) Van graven in de prehistorie en dingen die voorbijgaan. Studies aangeboden aan Eric Lohof bij zijn pensionering in de archeologie.. Leiden: Sidestone Press. 325-337.

Verhagen, Ph., M. van Leusen, B. Ducke, A. Millard and H. Kamermans, 2011: The Bumpy Road to Incorporating Uncertainty in Predictive Modelling. In: E. Jerem, F. Redö and V. Szeverényi (eds.): On the Road to Reconstructing the Past. Proceedings of the 36th Annual Conference on Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology, CAA 2008. Budapest, April 2-6, 569-576.

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