Computational approaches to ancient urbanism: documentation, analysis and interpretation

Johanna Stoeger, Eleftheria Paliou, Undine Lieberwirth


This session seeks to stimulate the discussion between different analytical approaches to the ‘Ancient City’, ranging from macro-scale analysis (including the exterior peripheral environment) to the micro-scale analysis of individual houses and interior spaces.

Since the 1990s archaeologists have been employing computer-based quantitative analysis tools to reconstruct not only cultural landscapes and rural settlements, but also urban built environments. These analysis tools and software solutions have been improved over the last decades, allowing us to advance our knowledge of the ‘Ancient City’ beyond descriptive digital models and constraining conceptional boundaries.

The aim of this session is to push the boundaries of current applications to open up new ways of studying and understanding Ancient Cities, and to work towards a shared set of analysis techniques and interpretative frameworks that can be applied to most past built environments across most time-scales.

We would like to invite contributions that discuss innovative aspects of computer applications to the research of past urban developments, which may include, among others, computer simulations of urban development in the past, 3D reconstructions of urban environments, large-scale analyses of urban social / cultural phenomena, innovative Building information Modeling applications (BIM), 3D/4D, and GIS. We particularly welcome papers that explore the interpretive potential of new computational approaches to ancient urbanism and encourage debate on the theoretical and methodological issues that come along with the application of digital technologies for the understanding of ancient cities.