ArSol: An Archaeological Data Processing System
The ArSol (Archives du Sol: Soil Archives) system has been used by the "Archéologie et Territoires" Laboratory (CNRS -Tours University) since 1990 for processing archaeological data. It can be used for all stratigraphic excavations and has the dual purpose of data management and research. It was constructed as an open system that is flexible and above all not conditioned by the integration of predefined thesauri. The ArSol client-server system is designed to integrate data from different sites.
... om different sites. It comprises two main components: 1) The Archives de fouilles module, based on the stratigraphic recording system used since 1970, concerns stratigraphic data and artefacts for site analysis. It offers tools for data management, location and spatial analysis; 2) The BaDoC module, a pottery database, which can process the data according to different quantitative techniques regardless of the diversity of the typological assemblages and the scale of archaeological contexts. This database can be used to manage large quantities of pottery artefacts, but it has been developed primarily for research in this field. Results of database queries are automatically exported onto a spreadsheet in the form of a data matrix, including all the information (positive or null values), a prerequisite for all statistical data modelling. This database allows the integration of external information, such as the results of statistical dating models, and exports other information such as dating of archaeological contexts from pottery. The location of data stored in both the Archives de fouilles and BaDoC modules is based on a chain of spatial information acquisition and processing, linking stratigraphic data and digital surveys in a Geographical Information System. The GIS is based on a link between 4 th Dimension ™ and ArcGIS ™ software through an ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) interface. For excavation analysis, for example, ArSol enables all the information from cartographic data to be consulted, plans to be established automatically according to the chronology included in the stratigraphic database, or the distribution of artefacts to be mapped. ArSol is designed both as a recording and data management research tool for use during excavation, and as an exploratory analysis data system for post-excavation work. Finally, the system makes it possible to switch rapidly from intra-to intersite scales.