Basic notions of geodesy, topography and cartography used in archaeological topography
Autori: Marius Breazu, Tudor Borşan, Ionuţ Maican
Topography is used for different fields of the human activity. Each field where topography is used has specific features, which lead to a diversity of topographical works. Due to its complexity, topography has various working possibilities according to the fields where it is used, to the degree of precision required, as well as to the parameters taken into account.
The role of topography in archaeology is not limited to the drawing of topographical plans for archaeological sites. The topographical plan is a working tool and not just a goal to be achieved. The goal is to represent the complexity of an archaeological site on the whole, which cannot be reached if one ignores the main factor for the development of that site, namely the space. Apart from the surface and the nature of the relief, the archaeological topography investigations also emphasize the distinction between natural and anthropogenic relief in the culture layer, the reconstruction of palaeoenvironment and settlements and so on.
In 2001 the Multi-User Research Centre was established within the “1 Decembrie 1918” University of Alba Iulia. This research institute within the university focuses on applying modern research methods and techniques in archaeology (systemic archaeology). The Topographic Department within the Institute attempts to contribute to the implementation of the above-mentioned methods and techniques. During our three-year period of activity we have faced some “difficulties” when trying to explain the topographic terminology, notions and techniques. Therefore, we would like to present briefly the basic notions of geodesy, topography and cartography, which are the background of field works and technical documentation used in archaeological topography.