35th Anniversary of the Harris Matrix

Größere Kartenansicht


17.-19. September 2009


In honour of the invention of the Harris Matrix 35 years ago the Austrian Academy of Science, the VIAS-Vienna Institute of Archaeological Science, the University of Vienna and the Bermuda Maritime Museum organised an unforgetable conference in Vienna from the 17th to 20th September 2008.

Most unusual but very inspiring was the division of the conference into two part – one ‘theoretical’ and one ‘practical’. The ‘theory’ was the normal custom of conferences – having presentations and discussions, the practical part consited of three days of very exciting excursions.

However, the most exciting point was, of course, meeting the famous Harris Matrix inventor Dr. Edward Harris himself! He showed great interest in what has become of his Matrix so far.

Invited speekers from all around the world gave an insight into their (relative) relationships with the Harris Matrix. If you are interested in having a look into the list of participants, please have a look at the conference website.

I would like to give you a row overview just from my point of view:


1. ‘Beyond the Surface’ – was an update on stratigraphic theory by Wolfgang Neubauer
He presented his theory of defining archaeological stratigraphy. This new approach was taken over by the software


2. ‘Harris Matrix Composer’ which is still under development by Christoph Traxler
and will be released within the next future incorporating a connection to GIS.


3.’Man-made stratigraphy’ by Madri Maura
dealt with vertical stratigraphy within architecture.


4. In ‘Tula Hidalgo Mexico’ presented by Oswaldo Sterpone
the Harris Matrix served as a vital tool for understanding complexe temple sites.


5. The ‘Importance of stratigraphy for forensic applications’ was very clearly presented by Ian Hanson
and finally resulted in the common acknowledge that excavation standards are urgently needed.


6. Yep and finally my presentation ‘New applications for the Harris Matrix diagram in 3D GIS model building’
where I came surprisingly to a similar conclusion of stratification by building virtual stratigraphy as Wolfgang Neubauer with his practical experiences he presented together with his theory.


However no wonder, the best speech was given by Dr. Edward Harris himself who was so kind to give us a little insight into his biography and current life on Bermuda. He mentioned also some interesting developments of the Harris Matrix diagram so far, e.g. David Bibby’s permutations.

The second part, the excursion, gave us a great overview of Austrian archaeology especially the work of the VIAS-Institute Vienna.


We visited:


If you became curious just have a look here.

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