Unit Book J4


Introduction to tabulations

Giorgio Buccellati – December 2004

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This section presents the data in a variety of tabular formats, sorted according to the most commonly used parameters. The quantity of information that is thereby immediately available to the user of the Urkesh Global Record (both the excavator in the field, on a daily basis, and then any interested scholar), is extensive and detailed, so as to allow an in depth assessment of the record on the basis of precisely quantified criteria.

The selection is made on the basis of predetermined criteria, whereby specific inquiry paths are set up and followed. Alternative paths are of course posible, and may be added as the need and opportunity arises.

No attempt is made at providing more complex elaborations, such as proper statistical analysis or simulations. It must be noted, however, that elsewhere within the Urkesh Global Record one will find tabular data bases that allow for an immediate importation of the data into specialized programs, commercial or otherwise, through which higher level analysis is possible without the need for extensive manipulation of the data.

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Indices provide information sorted alphabeticclay by keyword. By clicking on any of these keywords, a complete list of links to all pertinent individual elements opens up in the lower right bar of the screen.

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Frequencies provide the total number of occurrences for single and multiple parameters, sorted by these totals. Simple percentages and bar-histograms accompany each entry.

A review of these frequencies affords the support of a precise quantification for interpretive assumptions. While only higher level statistical analysis can properly support conclusive arguments, these frequencies support preliminary assessments on the part of the excavator. Indeed, the advantage of having these tallies immediately and regularly available during the excavation is clear. Without them, it is inevitable that excavators should rely on their own essentially selective memory in formulating impressionistic frequency assumptions that often condition the excavation strategy. The precise and verifiable quantification afforded by these computations, instead, allows the formulation of more explicit assumptions and a more clearly arguable strategy.

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A few categories have been selected to be displayed in a spreadheet format: definition, best image (photograph or drawing), locus, phase, stratum, ware or material and disposition. They are presented as columns for each of the major types of elements – aggregates, composites, items, q-items, and features.

Note that in the case of multiple entries for the same category (e.g., where a feature is first defined as accumulation A, and then as accumulation D), only the latest entry (accumulation D) is retained.

The same data are available in ASCII format to be imported into commercial ad hoc programs for further treatment.

Separate programs are available to create more specialized spreadsheets, e.g., a list of items to be transmitted to the Museum, with the pertinent categories as required by the Museum.

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Correlations provide simple graphic displays of multiple parameters, such as scattergrams and distributional clusters showing, e.g., the distribution of given classes of objects within given structures.

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Depositional synopsis

This section will present the flow of deposition within a given excavation unit. For more details, see a separate section.

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