Institute for Mediterranean Studies

A Web-based Digital Archaeological Map of Lasithi, E. Crete

Digital archaeological spatial databases can contribute significantly to the management and protection of archaeological resources, as well as to the effective use of the environment. The diffusion of these data through the Web has also major advantages in terms of modelling the past usage of the landscape as well as in the future preservation of sites within the general framework of large-scale construction works. In the absence of a detailed archaeological registry, the Laboratory of Geophysical-Satellite Remote Sensing & Archaeo-environment of the Institute for Mediterranean Studies/Foundation of Research & Technology, Hellas (FORTH) undertook the creation of a Web-based GIS platform mapping of the known archaeological sites (more than 900) of the wider region of Lasithi, located in E. Crete ( The research project was carried out under the framework of Applied Research program of the Prefectorial Functional Program of Crete (1994-1999) and was funded by the Prefecture of Crete, through the European framework of Development-II. The final product consists of an integrated archaeological geographical database of the cultural resources of the Lasithi district, based on the principles of a Geographic Information System. The background layers of the digital archaeological map of the region consist of a complete map mosaic (topography, geology, landuse, land capability maps, DEM), SPOT and Landsat satellite images, which are used for a better presentation of the distribution of archaeological sites. The geographic database contains a catalogue of the known archaeological sites of the Lasithi district, environmental information, chronology, general information, references and photographic material from the archaeological sites. The Geographical Information System offers the capability of synthesis of different information layers and the creation of thematic maps of the archaeological sites in the region. In this way, this project can be considered as an initiative for the development of 4 a digital archaeological cadastral registry of Crete. It has the dynamic potential of a tool in the decision making process of the development of the region and constitutes a detailed research guide of the cultural resources of the region, with direct consequences in the protection, conservation and management of the ancient environment. Through the mapping of the geomorphological and archaeological variables of the region, the system can be used for the development of settlement pattern models, the enhancement and management of cultural resources (protection zones, archaeological parks, conservation risk areas), the protection of monuments and the parallel economic and tourist development of the region.

  • Apostolos Sarris