Free Course: GIS for Archaeologists

In recent years, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have radically evolved the way in which spatial data are collected, analyzed and interpreted. Because of their characteristics, GIS have become useful applications for archaeologists. The appearance of gvSIG, with a complete suite of GIS solutions in open source software, has meant that more and more professionals in the sector are adopting gvSIG as a working tool.

However, there is still a wide ignorance of the potential of GIS in archaeology, and there are only a few free teaching materials that allows training in its use. For these reasons, from the gvSIG Association, we launch a course that will allow to know of these technologies. A free course, with open source software (gvSIG Desktop).

In this first post we want to present the main characteristics of the course, together with the first video-tutorial. As of January 2019, we will publish all the modules weekly until the agenda is completed. To follow the course, it is recommended that participants have prior knowledge about how archaeological projects are carried out.

Registration of the course and how it works

It is not necessary to register anywhere. The course is online and can be followed from anywhere in the world. The course will be available in English and Spanish.

Each week we will publish a post on this blog that will contain a video-tutorial with exercises and access to the course data. Therefore, you only need to follow the video-tutorials to complete the course.

For doubts or problems in the use of software, or about the exercises, you can use the gvSIG users mailing list:

List of topics

The list of topics is composed of 7 modules. Each module will contain a video-tutorial with practical exercises. The data to follow the course can be downloaded in a .zip file from this link.

  1. Preparation of an archaeological project: views, layers and tables
  2. Create geographic information: Alphanumeric information and digitalization
  3. Prospecting results analysis: Vector geoprocesses
  4. Managing old maps: Georeferencing of images
  5. Reservoir territorial analysis: Raster geoprocesses and digital terrain models (MDT)
  6. Hydrological analysis to locate materials or archaeological sites
  7. Graphical output of an archaeological project: Maps

And if you want to get a certificate?

Such as in other previous courses that we have published, many of you asked us about the possibility to obtain a certificate. To cover this possibility, at the end of the course we will publish a practical exercise to be solved, and to demonstrate that you have acquired the knowledge imparted during the course. This exercise is completely optional, only for those who want to get the certification.

To pay for the evaluation time of the exercises and the issuance of the certificate, apart from delivering the correctly solved exercise, 25 € will have to be paid. The way of payment will be indicated at the end of the course.

Note: The information about how to get the certification and the links to the complete course is available at this link.

Module 1: Preparation of an archaeological project: Views, layer and tables

Ready? Well, let’s start with the first topic, where besides learning where to download gvSIG Desktop – the software that we will use for the course – we will see how to prepare an archaeological project working with the main components of a GIS: Views, layers and tables.

Note: The webpage where the Zurick WMS appeared has changed. The WMS that you have to connect from gvSIG is:

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63 Responses to Free Course: GIS for Archaeologists

  1. Shela Breau says:

    I am interested and would like to sign up.

    • Mario says:

      Hello, the course is free and any registration is required. You only have to follow the videos that will be published at this blog.
      At this post you have the first module available.

      • Ying-Ying Chen says:

        I am in! Thanks!

        • Steve Wells says:

          Me too but the presenter needs to slow down a bit for non experienced GIS users and if possible show more slowly and clearly what buttons he is pushing. Thank you for the course.

          • Steve Wells says:

            I enjoyed the first module but could not get the WMS data for Zurich to copy and paste into the GIS.

            • Mario says:

              Hi Steve, it seems that the website has changed the format and they don’t include the WMS URL directly. You can connect to:
              We are going to add the information at the video and at the post. Thanks for the information.

              • Steve Wells says:

                Thank you so much for your help with this GIS. I completed a course at an Australian Uni and ended up knowing less than when I started. I really enjoy the way the course is structured. Congratulations!!

                • Steve Wells says:

                  Hi I tried the suggest WMS URL but it still wont connect. Also when I add a layer and click on WMS I am unable to paste in a web address for some reason. I have to manually type in the URL.

                  • Mario says:

                    Hi Steve, the WMS URL is working now (with and without “?” at the end). I thinh that the problem was the server at that moment, or that there was an error at the URL (uppercase, a letter…). I’m using “Paste” option copying the URL before in Ubuntu and it’s working, and I did it in Windows too and it worked. But I use “Ctrl. + V” to paste it on gvSIG, not the contextual menu. Does it work?

                • Mario says:

                  Thank you for your kind words! We’re glad to hear that you are enjoying the course. This week we are going to publish the practical exercise to get the certificate.

  2. basel says:

    great . I am interested

    • Mario says:

      Hi Basel, the course is free and any registration is required. You only have to follow the videos that will be published at this blog.
      At this post you have the first module available.

  3. Weagli Veliz says:

    donde encuentro la version en espanol del modulo 1?

  4. Robert Mark says:

    Mac version crashes on launch:
    Dyld Error Message:
    Symbol not found: _iconv
    Referenced from: /usr/lib/libmecabra.dylib
    Expected in: /Applications/
    in /usr/lib/libmecabra.dylib

  5. Bernadette says:

    Hi, this is a good idea and I have just started it, however I am having problems adding .shp files in gvSIG, as soon as I click on the Counties_Zurich_21781.shp for the first part of the lesson it shuts down the whole program, I have re- downloaded the winzip file and extracted but still have the same issue. Please help I really want to do this course.

  6. Pingback: Curso Gratuito: SIG aplicados a Arqueología | gvSIG blog

  7. Josef says:

    It seems that the video stops at 20:09 when you added the orthophoto of zurich.
    I like the idea of that course very much and would be interested in the rest of this lesson.

  8. Mihirendra Pratap Singh Deo says:

    It’s a very good project to teach the learners and to learn Archaeology.

  9. Zohaib khan says:

    great . I am interested

    • Mario says:

      Hi Zohaib, the course is free and any registration is required. You only have to follow the videos that will be published at this blog.
      At this post you have the first module available.

  10. Gosai Rakeshgiri says:

    I am intrested

    • Mario says:

      Hi Gosai, the course is free and any registration is required. You only have to follow the videos that will be published at this blog.
      At this post you have the first module available.

  11. sameera says:

    great work

  12. Amadi Chinyere says:

    Hello good evening Mario, I have downloaded the gvsig software on my computer, pinned it to my taskbar but it doesnt open, is there something I havent done well. kindly advise, I am interested in the course and need to get all required ready prio to the date.

  13. Pingback: Digitalizing prospection areas. GIS applied to Archeology | gvSIG blog

  14. Sergey says:

    Hello, Mario! I have to create the layer coords_Sternenschanze message appears: “Cant loader layer coords_Sternenschanze. The layer don’t has a geometry column”. What can be done?

  15. Sergey says:

    After adding a link to the file, the “properties”option does not work. So I can’t selected the X and Y fields

    • Mario says:

      Instead of adding the link to the file try to access to the corresponding folder and select the file directly there (like in the video). It should work.

  16. Alka says:

    I am interested..

  17. Sergey says:

    I Tried. The result is the same

  18. Sergey says:

    The “properties” option does not work

  19. Sergey says:

    I tried another file .csv. Also failed

  20. Paulo Pizo says:


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  22. Pingback: Analysis of prospection results: Vector geoprocessing. GIS applied to Archeology | gvSIG blog

  23. Irina says:

    Hello, when I download symbols they do not show up when in Symbol selector when I want to add them on the map, but I can see them in the Symbology in the Tools menu. Why is this? Thank you

  24. Vladimir Zbozinek says:

    Thank you. Lesson 1 successfully followed. When can we expect lesson 2?

  25. Pingback: Working with historical maps: Georeferencing images. GIS applied to archaeology | gvSIG blog

  26. Pingback: Territorial analysis of archaeological sites: Raster geoprocessing and Digital Elevation Models. GIS applied to Archeology | gvSIG blog

  27. Pingback: Hydrological analysis to locate archaeological material or sites. GIS applied to Archeology | gvSIG blog

  28. Pingback: Graphical output of an archaeological project: Layouts. GIS applied to Archeology | gvSIG blog

  29. Pingback: Free course about Geographic Information Systems applied to archaeology: Certification and links to the complete course | gvSIG blog

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  31. Tanuj says:

    I am Indian…and I have taken science group… I am in 12th and I am interested in archeology from my childhood….but due to lack of group in my school I was not able to take archeology group in 11th…now can iSTUDY ARCHEOLOGY….IF YES…..THEN WHAT SHOULD I DO…AND CAN I GO TO FOREIGN COUNTRIES AMD WORK THERE???.WHAT IS THE SALARY RANGE IN INDIA ANd IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES??

  32. cristiana la serra says:

    Hi Mario, I don’t understand how to change the color of the archaeological symbol (the anphore). What is the path to do on the computer? Thank you for this very interesting course!

    • Mario says:

      Hi Cristiana, when you load that symbol library (OSM), the symbols are composed of two files, the original one and the “_sel” one. The second one is the first one but in yellow colour, so when you select elements on the View, the “sel” symbol is shown. The path in the computer for the symbols is:
      Installable version: C:\Users\[your-user]\gvSIG/plugins/
      Portable version: /preferences/gvSIG/plugins/ folder of the portable version

  33. Linn says:

    How would you name this course/certificate on a resume?

  34. mam tfk says:
    El navegador no acepta el enlace. Y escribe (inseguro)

    • Mario says:

      ¿Has conectado desde gvSIG Desktop? Yo acabo de conectar sin problemas. Comprueba que no estés añadiendo algún espacio al principio o al final.

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