Geographic information systems (GIS) offer archaeologists an exciting and powerful research tool destined to have as profound an effect on the field of archaeology as did the introduction of carbon dating in the 1950s. Archaeological data is spatial and temporal in nature, and therefore especially suited to the basic principles driving the development and use of GIS. Until recently, archaeologists had to cope with hand­ drawn maps and cumbersome paper databases which were difficult to integrate and manipulate. However, widespread commercial development of GIS software and easy access to powerful desktop (and even laptop) computers have enabled archaeologists to view and manipulate their data in a medium that reflects its complex origins without being prohibitively complex to use.