GIS Visualisations of Mortuary Data from Holešov, Czech Republic

Ladislav Šmejda

University of West Bohemia, Department of Archaeology, Plzen, Czech Republic. Email:

Cite this as: Smejda, L. 2014 GIS Visualisations of Mortuary Data from Holešov, Czech Republic, Internet Archaeology 36.

Summary / Souhrn

Composite image showing grave plots with a burial plan and artefacts recovered

This article presents a case-study demonstrating the potential of GIS visualisations for analyses of mortuary data, recorded half a century ago at the site of Holešov, Kroměříž district, in the Czech Republic. This cemetery consists of 10 Bell Beaker and 420 Early Bronze Age graves, giving the impression of continuous development over a considerable period of time. The temporality of the cemetery is examined in detail, via its chronological development, as well as the inseparable aspects of its social use and structuring through time.

The original data were converted from the printed catalogue into a Geographical Information System (GIS) consisting of digitised plans and a database. Exploratory analyses of the data were conducted, based on two complementary perspectives: the spatial reference of recorded features and objects, and the formal similarity of burial assemblages. The former approach includes spatial density and trend surface analyses, the latter applies multivariate factor analysis visualised in GIS, where the extracted factor scores define a new reference system. The methods employed are sometimes unorthodox, specifically because such plots describing formal space have been little employed in GIS-based studies of mortuary behaviour. This article strives to highlight the positive aspects of contemporary computer software in order to encourage researchers to pursue new ways of conceptualising their research ideas through the integration of concepts and methods, which traditionally have been applied to different research domains.

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