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New perspectives to save cultural heritage
Altan, M. Orhan

CIPA 2003 XIX 11 ' International Symposium, 30 September - 04 October, 2003, Antalya, Turkey
• basic data from the photogrammetric work (ground control
points, image centers, etc.),
• further data resulting from fieldwork of cooperation
partners (e.g. geoscientists),
• future results of analyses,
• manually defined objects or areas used for archaeological
analyses (e.g. viewpoints, landscape features, site
catchment areas, etc.).
The data model has to be enhanced in order to integrate these
heterogeneous datasets that contain spatial data in vector format
(administrative boundaries) and raster format (DTM, site
catchment areas, viewsheds), archaeological data stored in a
relational MS-Access database (prehispanic settlements and
cemeteries) and data in yet unknown formats and structures
(results of the fieldwork of cooperation partners). Thus, the data
model has to be open for later extensions. Using UML allows to
iteratively complement or change the existing class diagram and
to modify the table structure of the database in a largely
automated way by translating the class diagram into SQL-DDL.
For spatial data in vector format we plan storage inside the
Oracle 9i DBMS using the Oracle SDO table structure. They
can be integrated using Oracle’s shapefile to SDO converter
(Oracle Technology Network, 2001). Concerning raster data,
e.g. orthomosaics, satellite imagery, scanned topographical
maps and DTM grid data, it has yet to be evaluated if storage in
the DBMS (using for instance ArcSDE 8.3) makes sense for our
purposes or if maintaining them in the ESRI-file-system as we
do it so far is more practical (see ESRI, 2002).
Once the database is implemented, access to the stored data is
not restricted to a certain GIS-package (like ArcGIS in our
case) but is obtainable via any Oracle 9i-compatible system
(e.g. GeoMedia, Maplnfo, ArcView, etc.). We use ArcGIS 8.3
as standard user interface and tool for data input, output,
manipulation and query. Furthermore, this GIS software offers
a wide and flexible range of capabilities for a systematic
analysis of the available data.
The class diagram modeling the Palpa geoglyphs, and the
handling of additional (available or expected) data as described
above, shows how we process and organize our data in order to
enable systematic storage and analysis. UML has proven a
useful and versatile tool for transparent data structuring,
especially when, like in our case, a very heterogeneous dataset
is to be processed.
The data acquired since 1997 by the Nasca-Palpa project is the
most comprehensive information available so far on the
prehispanic history of a given part of the Nasca drainage thanks
to the regional approach and the different disciplines involved.
The analysis of the acquired data, be it GIS-based or by other
means, is therefore expected to provide new insights in the
prehistory of the Palpa region and in the still poorly understood
Nasca culture in general. The value of the Palpa data for Nasca
archaeology is that for the first time the geoglyphs can be
studied in relation to their cultural and natural environment
within a GIS (see Sauerbier, Lambers, 2003 for the planned
analyses). Although there are currently other projects with a
similar goal (e.g. Teichert, Richter, 2003), only at Palpa are the
geoglyphs studied together with contemporaneous settlements,
cemeteries, civic-ceremonial centers etc. All these
archaeological features make up a distinct Nasca cultural
landscape that is not only very different from earlier or later
cultural landscapes but also changed considerably through the
roughly eight centuries during which the Nasca culture
florished. It furthermore served as arena for different social,
political, sacral, and other landscapes (Silverman, 2002: chapter
1). The investigations in Palpa, of which the work described in
this paper forms a central part, is hoped to provide clues for a
better understanding of these developments.
The work described in this paper was possible thanks to the
generous financial support granted by the Swiss-Liechtenstein
Foundation for Archaeological Research Abroad (SLFA,
Ziirich/Vaduz) for fieldwork and by ETH Zürich for analysis.
The work at the Institute of Geodesy and Photogrammetry is
directed by Armin Grün (Zürich), while Markus Reindel (Bonn)
and Johny Isla (Lima) are responsible for the archaeological
research in Palpa. We also want to thank Jana Niederost and
Beat Rüedin, our colleagues at IGP, for their important
contributions to our work.
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