This chapter will introduce and discuss the role of volumetric visualisation in archaeology and its role as part of 3D spatial analysis. 3D Geographical Information Systems (GIS) allow archaeologists to import, manage and analyse volumetric data coming from different acquisition techniques (e.g. geophysics) and make it possible to explore, interpolate and query these data in spatial relation with different sources. A case study will be presented which presents a workflow for digitally acquiring and combining different data sources so as to reconstruct a stratigraphic sequence as it was observed and documented by archaeologists at the end of 19th century.

Here, original excavation drawings were digitised and used as a geometrical reference for reconstructing the stratigraphic sequence of the cave and the volumetric information connected to each unit. Different categories of finds were subsequently connected to their original unit, making it possible to generate 3D maps of density that enabled archaeologists to better understand the original patterns of distributions associated with the different classes of artefacts/ecofacts retrieved during the original excavation. As a concluding part of the chapter, a dedicated descriptive box introduces a workable pipeline for handling data derived from geophysical prospection, where ascii files are imported and converted into multipatch feature classes in a 3D GIS, to be visualised as volumetric vector cubes.