Seminar Details

An Introduction to Archaeological Predictive Modeling

When: March 19, 2020 1:00-3:00 PM

Duration: 2 hours

Certification: RPA-certified


Individual Registration: $99 for SAA members; $149 for non-members

Group Registration: $139 for SAA members; $189 for non-members

Thomas G. Whitley received his BA from the University of Washington in 1987. This was followed by an MA (1990) and PhD (2000) from the University of Pittsburgh. He created his first archaeological predictive model in 1988. Since that time, as part of a 30+ year career in CRM and Academia, Dr. Whitley has created more than 50 archaeological predictive models (within both CRM and research contexts). He has also authored or co-authored more than 15 journal articles and book chapters on aspects of predictive modeling and geospatial analysis in the last 20 years. He has presented numerous papers on the topic at professional conferences worldwide, and often peer review submitted journal manuscripts and agency reports on predictive modeling.
Predictive modeling has a long and controversial history in archaeology. Informal predictive models have been in use since archaeological fieldwork began, and formal models since at least the 1970s. In action, they are seen both as useful planning tools and as environmentally deterministic confirmation bias, depending on your perspective. There are many different methods of predictive modeling, and just as many potential pitfalls. In this seminar, the instructor will introduce the theoretical structure of predictive modeling and the many approaches to it. The seminar will also cover the CRM and research purposes for which predictive modeling may, or may not, be appropriate. The types of predictive models, their construction, application, testing, and recent developments will also be addressed. This seminar will give a firm foundation for understanding archaeological predictive modeling, and lay the groundwork for developing your own predictive models.
  1. Learn about the theoretical and methodological approaches to predictive modeling; their advantages and problem areas.
  2. Learn about the purposes and objectives of predictive modeling; for both planning and research purposes.
  3. Learn how to structure your own approach to predictive modeling; avoiding pitfalls and developing successful strategies.
  4. Learn how to evaluate the applicability and success of any published archaeological predictive model.