Constructing the Sacred: Visibility and Ritual Landscape at the Egyptian Necropolis of Saqqara


This work uses spatial analysis of an ancient landscape in order to try to understand the meaning and significance of an important Egyptian ritual site. It explicitly argues that investigations focusing on patterns and changes across space and time, as well as visibility and visual and spatial traits within a landscape from a human point of view, offer fruitful avenues for exploring such questions. This introduction makes a case that the combination of GIS plus 3D offers explicit advantages for creating more human-centered landscape studies, studies that foreground the cultural and social. I situate this work within contemporary scholarship experimenting with new directions that take advantage of the strengths and potentials of new 3DGIS technologies.

By introducing the model used throughout the remainder of the work, this section has also attempted to clarify for the reader the impact of various design choices in the model and to highlight uncertainties and gaps in the data set from which the model was produced. While the choices made during individual 3D monument and terrain construction are discussed more thoroughly in Sections 6 and 8, more important to the use of the model for analysis is this overall framework, as it structures the types of questions that can be asked, the scale at which analysis can take place, and the limitations of the model in general.