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Geosciences 2017, 7(4), 98; doi:10.3390/geosciences7040098

Optical Remote Sensing Potentials for Looting Detection

Remote Sensing and Geo-Environment Laboratory, Eratosthenes Research Centre, Department of Civil Engineering and Geomatics, Cyprus University of Technology, Saripolou 2-8, 3603 Limassol, Cyprus
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Received: 31 July 2017 / Revised: 29 September 2017 / Accepted: 2 October 2017 / Published: 4 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing and Geosciences for Archaeology)
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Abstract

Looting of archaeological sites is illegal and considered a major anthropogenic threat for cultural heritage, entailing undesirable and irreversible damage at several levels, such as landscape disturbance, heritage destruction, and adverse social impact. In recent years, the employment of remote sensing technologies using ground-based and/or space-based sensors has assisted in dealing with this issue. Novel remote sensing techniques have tackled heritage destruction occurring in war-conflicted areas, as well as illicit archeological activity in vast areas of archaeological interest with limited surveillance. The damage performed by illegal activities, as well as the scarcity of reliable information are some of the major concerns that local stakeholders are facing today. This study discusses the potential use of remote sensing technologies based on the results obtained for the archaeological landscape of Ayios Mnason in Politiko village, located in Nicosia district, Cyprus. In this area, more than ten looted tombs have been recorded in the last decade, indicating small-scale, but still systematic, looting. The image analysis, including vegetation indices, fusion, automatic extraction after object-oriented classification, etc., was based on high-resolution WorldView-2 multispectral satellite imagery and RGB high-resolution aerial orthorectified images. Google Earth© images were also used to map and diachronically observe the site. The current research also discusses the potential for wider application of the presented methodology, acting as an early warning system, in an effort to establish a systematic monitoring tool for archaeological areas in Cyprus facing similar threats. View Full-Text
Keywords: looting; remote sensing archaeology; image analysis; satellite data; Cyprus looting; remote sensing archaeology; image analysis; satellite data; Cyprus
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MDPI and ACS Style

Agapiou, A.; Lysandrou, V.; Hadjimitsis, D.G. Optical Remote Sensing Potentials for Looting Detection. Geosciences 2017, 7, 98.

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