prospect package

Project date:

Note: prospect is currently in active development. It will be available on the Python Package Index in the near future. In the meantime, you can view in-progress documentation for the project, but these docs do not necessarily reflect the current state of the project; they are designed to show just some of the functionality of the software.

prospect is a Python package to build and run simulations of archaeological surveys. It is designed to be a flexible tool that can be run with some sensible defaults or highly customized, depending on the user’s needs. There are two use cases that motivate the development and design of prospect.

First, prospect can be used as a planning tool for archaeological surveys. Users can model different methodologies to see how they might impact artifact recovery rates or how they impact the discovery of specific features of interest. prospect can also provide estimates of the amount of time a particular survey will take and could be used to demonstrate compliance with heritage regulations, both of which are immediately useful for cultural resource management companies.

The second motivating use case is as a heuristic device for evaluating a survey that has already occurred. Users can recreate the actual survey methodology and then vary different parameters to see what effects (or not) these might have had on the results. For example, one could repeat a simulation with a wide range of underlying artifact densities as a way to determine whether their methodology was robust enough to accurately estimate those densities. This use case is particularly important as a way to address the impracticalities of producing reproducible field studies; controlled seeding experiments or re-surveying studies that have been used in the past are too limited in scale and scope.

Contact me if you are interested in testing this software.