The Archaeological GIS Laboratory (AeGIS Athena), which recently started operating at the Athena Research Center, aims to provide a new hub for the study of the cultural landscape and human-environment interaction. The establishment of the Laboratory is the result of the long engagement (2002 – today) of the Athena Research Center in Xanthi with the application of GIS technology in recording archaeological data through different archaeological mapping techniques, geospatial databases, photogrammetry and archaeometry techniques.
This engagement goes hand in hand with the increasingly systematic application of Geographic Information Systems in Archaeology not only as a means to understand the dynamic evolution of ancient settlements and landscapes but also as credible tools for the systematic recording, correlation and analysis of the excavation data.
Towards this direction, the Laboratory will provide archaeologists, historians and cultural heritage practitioners with all the necessary tools for high resolution documentation and mapping – analysis of archaeological sites and landscapes based on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) while at a research level, it will try to highlight the enormous potential of implementing GIS capabilities and use them to address specific archaeological problems through new approaches.
However, the establishment of the Laboratory aspires to work in another direction. Despite the widespread use of GIS in archaeological practice, the archaeological community has not yet fully come to terms with the idea of this technology as an integral part of archaeological education. As a result, “digital archeology” continues to be a specialized field of expertise (often by people unrelated to academic and field archeology) and the development and dissemination of digital tools for specific archaeological purposes is often considered of secondary importance.
Thus the Laboratory aims to fill this gap between the relatively small “archaeotechnological” community and general archeology through education. To strengthen and shape the education of archaeologists in the use of digital spatial analysis as a tool for better data organization and analytical tool through actions – seminars – courses adapted to the real needs (practical and theoretical) of the archaeological process.