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Special Issue "New Perspectives of Remote Sensing for Archaeology"

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A special issue of Remote Sensing (ISSN 2072-4292).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2014)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Rosa Lasaponara (Website)

CNR-IMAA (National Research Council, Institute for Environmental Analysis), C.da S. Loya, 85050 Tito Scalo (PZ), Italy
Interests: remote sensing; data processing; microwave sensor design; analytical methods, modeling, readout and software for sensors; sensor technology and new sensor principles
Guest Editor
Dr. Nicola Masini (Website)

CNR-IBAM (National Research Council, Institute for Archaeological and Architectural Heritage), C.da S. Loya, 85050 Tito Scalo (PZ), Italy
Fax: +39 0971 427333
Interests: remote sensing for archaeology; Lidar; archaeogeophisics; non invasive tests for historical building

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Starting from 2000, the availability of the first very high resolution satellite imagery and LiDAR provided new opportunities for archaeological prospection, allowing us to enlarge the fields of application, from site discovery to monitoring, from single site to cultural landscape, also for cultural heritage covered by vegetation or located in extensive and difficult remote areas.
Currently, the main challenges to be addressed are mainly the need to set up ad hoc methodological approaches for different environmental and geomorphological conditions (from forest to desert, from flat areas to complex topography), types of applications (form preventive archaeology to preservation and protection), for all the current available earth observation technologies, including SAR and geophysics.

In detail the main topics will be:
- Integration of active and passive remote sensing technologies including ground based investigations (geophysics, ground spectroscopy)
- Semiautomatic and automatic approaches for extracting cultural information
- Interconnection between environmental changes and dynamics of human frequentation: the contribution of Earth Observation
- Remote Sensing as basic tool to support virtual fruition of ancient landscapes and archaeological sites
- Remote sensing and geospatial analysis for preventive archaeology;
- 3D modeling and visualization issues from satellite, airborne and terrestrial sensors
- Integration of different data acquisition technologies including UAV

Dr. Rosa Lasaponara
Dr. Nicola Masini
Guest Editors

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Remote Sensing is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs).

Published Papers (17 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Airborne LiDAR for the Detection of Archaeological Vegetation Marks Using Biomass as a Proxy
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(2), 1594-1618; doi:10.3390/rs70201594
Received: 16 July 2014 / Revised: 3 December 2014 / Accepted: 26 January 2015 / Published: 3 February 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (52634 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In arable landscapes, the airborne detection of archaeological features is often reliant on using the properties of the vegetation cover as a proxy for sub-surface features in the soil. Under the right conditions, the formation of vegetation marks allows archaeologists to identify [...] Read more.
In arable landscapes, the airborne detection of archaeological features is often reliant on using the properties of the vegetation cover as a proxy for sub-surface features in the soil. Under the right conditions, the formation of vegetation marks allows archaeologists to identify and interpret archaeological features. Using airborne Laser Scanning, based on the principles of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) to detect these marks is challenging, particularly given the difficulties of resolving subtle changes in a low and homogeneous crop with these sensors. In this paper, an experimental approach is adopted to explore how these marks could be detected as variations in canopy biomass using both range and full waveform LiDAR data. Although some detection was achieved using metrics of the full waveform data, it is the novel multi-temporal method of using discrete return data to detect and characterise archaeological vegetation marks that is offered for further consideration. This method was demonstrated to be applicable over a range of capture conditions, including soils deemed as difficult (i.e., clays and other heavy soils), and should increase the certainty of detection when employed in the increasingly multi-sensor approaches to heritage prospection and management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives of Remote Sensing for Archaeology)
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Open AccessArticle The Disappearance of Helike-Classical Greece—New Remote Sensing and Geological Evidence
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(2), 1263-1278; doi:10.3390/rs70201263
Received: 5 July 2014 / Accepted: 16 January 2015 / Published: 23 January 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (25419 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Helike, the Achaean Dodecapolis capital, in the Corinth Gulf, Greece, was, according to historical sources, devastated and disappeared from sight during an earthquake followed by sea invasion on to land in 373/372 B.C. A marine remote sensing survey, which was carried out [...] Read more.
Helike, the Achaean Dodecapolis capital, in the Corinth Gulf, Greece, was, according to historical sources, devastated and disappeared from sight during an earthquake followed by sea invasion on to land in 373/372 B.C. A marine remote sensing survey, which was carried out to examine a landslide following a 6.2 R earthquake in 1995, that affected the coastal and near-shore delta plain zone on which Helike stood, accompanied by onshore borehole data, enabled us to postulate the geological processes leading to the Helike catastrophe. Helike was initially leveled during a 6 to 6.7 R earthquake; it is postulated to have then submerged following a translational landslide caused by liquefaction. This Helike catastrophe model is consistent with historical sources and current views regarding the expected geological hazards magnitude in the Gulf. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives of Remote Sensing for Archaeology)
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Open AccessArticle A Space View of Radar Archaeological Marks: First Applications of COSMO-SkyMed X-Band Data
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(1), 24-50; doi:10.3390/rs70100024
Received: 10 August 2014 / Accepted: 15 December 2014 / Published: 23 December 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (28187 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
With the development of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) in terms of multi-band, multi-polarization and high-resolution data, space radar remote sensing for archaeology has become a potential field for research. Nevertheless, the archaeological detection capability of this technology has so far not been [...] Read more.
With the development of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) in terms of multi-band, multi-polarization and high-resolution data, space radar remote sensing for archaeology has become a potential field for research. Nevertheless, the archaeological detection capability of this technology has so far not been fully assessed. This paper is a pioneering effort to assess the potential of satellite SAR X-band data in the detection of archaeological marks. We focus on the results obtained from a collaborative contribution jointly carried out by archaeologists and remote sensing experts in order to test the use of COSMO-SkyMed data in different contexts and environmental conditions. The methodological approaches we adopted are based on two different feature-enhancement procedures: (i) multi-temporal analysis performed to reduce noise and highlight archaeological marks; (ii) single-date analysis to assess the ability of the single SAR scene to detect archaeological features like with optical remote sensing. Results from multi-temporal data analysis, conducted using 40 scenes from COSMO-SkyMed X-band Stripmap data (27 February to 17 October 2013), enable us to detect unknown archaeological crop, soil, and shadow marks representing Luoyang city, dating from the Eastern-Han to Northern-Wei Dynasties. Single-date analyses were conducted using COSMO-SkyMed Spotlight scenes acquired for Sabratha (Libya) and Metapontum (southern Italy). These case studies were selected because they are characterized by diverse superficial conditions (desert and Mediterranean area) and archaeological marks (crop, soil and shadow). The results we obtained for both of them show that even a single SAR X-band acquisition is a feasible and effective approach for archaeological prospection. Overall, the methodological approach adopted demonstrated that both multi-temporal and single-date analysis are suitable for the enhancement of archaeological and palaeoenvironmental features. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives of Remote Sensing for Archaeology)
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Open AccessArticle Persistent Scatterer Interferometry Processing of COSMO-SkyMed StripMap HIMAGE Time Series to Depict Deformation of the Historic Centre of Rome, Italy
Remote Sens. 2014, 6(12), 12593-12618; doi:10.3390/rs61212593
Received: 6 August 2014 / Revised: 25 November 2014 / Accepted: 27 November 2014 / Published: 15 December 2014
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (12167 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We processed X-band COSMO-SkyMed 3-m resolution StripMap HIMAGE time series (March 2011–June 2013) with the Stanford Method for Persistent Scatterers (StaMPS), to retrieve an updated picture of the condition and structural health of the historic centre of Rome, Italy, and neighbouring quarters. [...] Read more.
We processed X-band COSMO-SkyMed 3-m resolution StripMap HIMAGE time series (March 2011–June 2013) with the Stanford Method for Persistent Scatterers (StaMPS), to retrieve an updated picture of the condition and structural health of the historic centre of Rome, Italy, and neighbouring quarters. Taking advantage of an average target density of over 2800 PS/km2, we analysed the spatial distribution of more than 310,000 radar targets against: (1) land cover; (2) the location of archaeological ruins and restoration activities; and (3) the size, orientation and morphology of historical buildings. Radar interpretation was addressed from the perspective of conservators, and the deformation estimates were correlated to local geohazards and triggering factors of structural collapse. In the context of overall stability, deformation was identified at the single-monument scale, e.g., for the Roman cistern and exedra in the Oppian Hill. Comparative assessment against InSAR processing of C-band imagery (1992–2010) published in the literature confirms the persistence of ground motions affecting monuments and subsidence in southern residential quarters adjacent to the Tiber River, due to the consolidation of compressible deposits. Vertical velocity estimated from COSMO-SkyMed PS exceeds −7.0 mm/y in areas of recent urbanization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives of Remote Sensing for Archaeology)
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Open AccessArticle Automated Extraction of the Archaeological Tops of Qanat Shafts from VHR Imagery in Google Earth
Remote Sens. 2014, 6(12), 11956-11976; doi:10.3390/rs61211956
Received: 27 August 2014 / Revised: 26 October 2014 / Accepted: 12 November 2014 / Published: 1 December 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1584 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Qanats in northern Xinjiang of China provide valuable information for agriculturists and anthropologists who seek fundamental understanding of the distribution of qanat water supply systems with regard to water resource utilization, the development of oasis agriculture, and eventually climate change. Only the [...] Read more.
Qanats in northern Xinjiang of China provide valuable information for agriculturists and anthropologists who seek fundamental understanding of the distribution of qanat water supply systems with regard to water resource utilization, the development of oasis agriculture, and eventually climate change. Only the tops of qanat shafts (TQSs), indicating the course of the qanats, can be observed from space, and their circular archaeological traces can also be seen in very high resolution imagery in Google Earth. The small size of the TQSs, vast search regions, and degraded features make manually extracting them from remote sensing images difficult and costly. This paper proposes an automated TQS extraction method that adopts mathematical morphological processing methods before an edge detecting module is used in the circular Hough transform approach. The accuracy assessment criteria for the proposed method include: (i) extraction percentage (E) = 95.9%, branch factor (B) = 0 and quality percentage (Q) = 95.9% in Site 1; and (ii) extraction percentage (E) = 83.4%, branch factor (B) = 0.058 and quality percentage (Q) = 79.5% in Site 2. Compared with the standard circular Hough transform, the quality percentages (Q) of our proposed method were improved to 95.9% and 79.5% from 86.3% and 65.8% in test sites 1 and 2, respectively. The results demonstrate that wide-area discovery and mapping can be performed much more effectively based on our proposed method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives of Remote Sensing for Archaeology)
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Open AccessArticle Use of Satellite SAR for Understanding Long-Term Human Occupation Dynamics in the Monsoonal Semi-Arid Plains of North Gujarat, India
Remote Sens. 2014, 6(11), 11420-11443; doi:10.3390/rs61111420
Received: 7 July 2014 / Revised: 17 October 2014 / Accepted: 20 October 2014 / Published: 14 November 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (17794 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This work explores the spatial distribution of monsoonal flooded areas using ENVISAT C-band Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) in the semi-arid region of N. Gujarat, India. The amplitude component of SAR Single Look Complex (SLC) images has been used to estimate the extent [...] Read more.
This work explores the spatial distribution of monsoonal flooded areas using ENVISAT C-band Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) in the semi-arid region of N. Gujarat, India. The amplitude component of SAR Single Look Complex (SLC) images has been used to estimate the extent of surface and near-surface water dynamics using the mean amplitude (MA) of monsoonal (July to September) and post-monsoonal (October to January) seasons. The integration of SAR-derived maps (seasonal flooding maps and seasonal MA change) with archaeological data has provided new insights to understand present-day landscape dynamics affecting archaeological preservation and visibility. Furthermore, preliminary results suggest a good correlation between Mid-Holocene settlement patterns and the distribution and extension of seasonal floodable areas within river basin areas, opening interesting inroads to study settlement distribution and resource availability in past socio-ecological systems in semi-arid areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives of Remote Sensing for Archaeology)
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Open AccessArticle Integrated Geophysical and Aerial Sensing Methods for Archaeology: A Case History in the Punic Site of Villamar (Sardinia, Italy)
Remote Sens. 2014, 6(11), 10986-11012; doi:10.3390/rs61110986
Received: 27 June 2014 / Revised: 22 October 2014 / Accepted: 27 October 2014 / Published: 10 November 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (15997 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this paper, the authors present a recent integrated survey carried out on an archaeological urban site, generally free of buildings, except some temporary structures related to excavated areas where multi-chamber tombs were found. The two methods used to investigate this site [...] Read more.
In this paper, the authors present a recent integrated survey carried out on an archaeological urban site, generally free of buildings, except some temporary structures related to excavated areas where multi-chamber tombs were found. The two methods used to investigate this site were thermal infrared and ground penetrating radar (GPR). The thermography was carried out with the sensor mounted under a helium balloon simultaneously with a photographic camera. In order to have a synthetic view of the surface thermal behavior, a simplified version of the existing night thermal gradient algorithm was applied. By this approach, we have a wide extension of thermal maps due to the balloon oscillation, because we are able to compute the maps despite collecting few acquisition samples. By the integration of GPR and the thermal imaging, we can evaluate the depth of the thermal influence of possible archaeological targets, such as buried Punic tombs or walls belonging to the succeeding medieval buildings, which have been subsequently destroyed. The thermal anomalies present correspondences to the radar time slices obtained from 30 to 50 cm. Furthermore, by superimposing historical aerial pictures on the GPR and thermal imaging data, we can identify these anomalies as the foundations of the destroyed buildings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives of Remote Sensing for Archaeology)
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Open AccessArticle Quantifying Ancient Maya Land Use Legacy Effects on Contemporary Rainforest Canopy Structure
Remote Sens. 2014, 6(11), 10716-10732; doi:10.3390/rs61110716
Received: 1 July 2014 / Revised: 27 October 2014 / Accepted: 27 October 2014 / Published: 6 November 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (3623 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Human land use legacies have significant and long-lasting ecological impacts across landscapes. Investigating ancient (>400 years) legacy effects can be problematic due to the difficulty in detecting specific, historic land uses, especially those hidden beneath dense canopies. Caracol, the largest (~200 km [...] Read more.
Human land use legacies have significant and long-lasting ecological impacts across landscapes. Investigating ancient (>400 years) legacy effects can be problematic due to the difficulty in detecting specific, historic land uses, especially those hidden beneath dense canopies. Caracol, the largest (~200 km2) Maya archaeological site in Belize, was abandoned ca. A.D. 900, leaving behind myriad structures, causeways, and an extensive network of agricultural terraces that persist beneath the architecturally complex tropical forest canopy. Airborne LiDAR enables the detection of these below-canopy archaeological features while simultaneously providing a detailed record of the aboveground 3-dimensional canopy organization, which is indicative of a forest’s ecological function. Here, this remote sensing technology is used to determine the effects of ancient land use legacies on contemporary forest structure. Canopy morphology was assessed by extracting LiDAR point clouds (0.25 ha plots) from LiDAR-identified terraced (n = 150) and non-terraced (n = 150) areas on low (0°–10°), medium (10°–20°), and high (>20°) slopes. We calculated the average canopy height, canopy openness, and vertical diversity from the LiDAR returns, with topographic features (i.e., slope, elevation, and aspect) as covariates. Using a PerMANOVA procedure, we determined that forests growing on agricultural terraces exhibited significantly different canopy structure from those growing on non-terraced land. Terraces appear to mediate the effect of slope, resulting in less structural variation between slope and non-sloped land and yielding taller, more closed, more vertically diverse forests. These human land uses abandoned >1000 years ago continue to impact contemporary tropical rainforests having implications related to arboreal habitat and carbon storage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives of Remote Sensing for Archaeology)
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Open AccessArticle Tridimensional Reconstruction Applied to Cultural Heritage with the Use of Camera-Equipped UAV and Terrestrial Laser Scanner
Remote Sens. 2014, 6(11), 10413-10434; doi:10.3390/rs61110413
Received: 1 July 2014 / Revised: 16 September 2014 / Accepted: 21 October 2014 / Published: 28 October 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (3307 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
No single sensor can acquire complete information by applying one or several multi-surveys to cultural object reconstruction. For instance, a terrestrial laser scanner (TLS) usually obtains information on building facades, whereas aerial photogrammetry is capable of providing the perspective for building roofs. [...] Read more.
No single sensor can acquire complete information by applying one or several multi-surveys to cultural object reconstruction. For instance, a terrestrial laser scanner (TLS) usually obtains information on building facades, whereas aerial photogrammetry is capable of providing the perspective for building roofs. In this study, a camera-equipped unmanned aerial vehicle system (UAV) and a TLS were used in an integrated design to capture 3D point clouds and thus facilitate the acquisition of whole information on an object of interest for cultural heritage. A camera network is proposed to modify the image-based 3D reconstruction or structure from motion (SfM) method by taking full advantage of the flight control data acquired by the UAV platform. The camera network improves SfM performances in terms of image matching efficiency and the reduction of mismatches. Thus, this camera network modified SfM is employed to process the overlapping UAV image sets and to recover the scene geometry. The SfM output covers most information on building roofs, but has sparse resolution. The dense multi-view 3D reconstruction algorithm is then applied to improve in-depth detail. The two groups of point clouds from image reconstruction and TLS scanning are registered from coarse to fine with the use of an iterative method. This methodology has been tested on one historical monument in Fujian Province, China. Results show a final point cloud with complete coverage and in-depth details. Moreover, findings demonstrate that these two platforms, which integrate the scanning principle and image reconstruction methods, can supplement each other in terms of coverage, sensing resolution, and model accuracy to create high-quality 3D recordings and presentations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives of Remote Sensing for Archaeology)
Open AccessArticle Now You See It… Now You Don’t: Understanding Airborne Mapping LiDAR Collection and Data Product Generation for Archaeological Research in Mesoamerica
Remote Sens. 2014, 6(10), 9951-10001; doi:10.3390/rs6109951
Received: 29 July 2014 / Revised: 21 September 2014 / Accepted: 8 October 2014 / Published: 20 October 2014
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (25791 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this paper we provide a description of airborne mapping LiDAR, also known as airborne laser scanning (ALS), technology and its workflow from mission planning to final data product generation, with a specific emphasis on archaeological research. ALS observations are highly customizable, [...] Read more.
In this paper we provide a description of airborne mapping LiDAR, also known as airborne laser scanning (ALS), technology and its workflow from mission planning to final data product generation, with a specific emphasis on archaeological research. ALS observations are highly customizable, and can be tailored to meet specific research needs. Thus it is important for an archaeologist to fully understand the options available during planning, collection and data product generation before commissioning an ALS survey, to ensure the intended research questions can be answered with the resultant data products. Also this knowledge is of great use for the researcher trying to understand the quality and limitations of existing datasets collected for other purposes. Throughout the paper we use examples from archeological ALS projects to illustrate the key concepts of importance for the archaeology researcher. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives of Remote Sensing for Archaeology)
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Open AccessArticle Evaluating the Quality and Accuracy of TanDEM-X Digital Elevation Models at Archaeological Sites in the Cilician Plain, Turkey
Remote Sens. 2014, 6(10), 9475-9493; doi:10.3390/rs6109475
Received: 1 April 2014 / Revised: 19 September 2014 / Accepted: 23 September 2014 / Published: 8 October 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (28702 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Satellite remote sensing provides a powerful instrument for mapping and monitoring traces of historical settlements and infrastructure, not only in distant areas and crisis regions. It helps archaeologists to embed their findings from field surveys into the broader context of the landscape. [...] Read more.
Satellite remote sensing provides a powerful instrument for mapping and monitoring traces of historical settlements and infrastructure, not only in distant areas and crisis regions. It helps archaeologists to embed their findings from field surveys into the broader context of the landscape. With the start of the TanDEM-X mission, spatially explicit 3D-information is available to researchers at an unprecedented resolution worldwide. We examined different experimental TanDEM-X digital elevation models (DEM) that were processed from two different imaging modes (Stripmap/High Resolution Spotlight) using the operational alternating bistatic acquisition mode. The quality and accuracy of the experimental DEM products was compared to other available DEM products and a high precision archaeological field survey. The results indicate the potential of TanDEM-X Stripmap (SM) data for mapping surface elements at regional scale. For the alluvial plain of Cilicia, a suspected palaeochannel could be reconstructed. At the local scale, DEM products from TanDEM-X High Resolution Spotlight (HS) mode were processed at 2 m spatial resolution using a merge of two monostatic/bistatic interferograms. The absolute and relative vertical accuracy of the outcome meet the specification of high resolution elevation data (HRE) standards from the National System for Geospatial Intelligence (NSG) at the HRE20 level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives of Remote Sensing for Archaeology)
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Open AccessArticle High-Density LiDAR Mapping of the Ancient City of Mayapán
Remote Sens. 2014, 6(9), 9064-9085; doi:10.3390/rs6099064
Received: 23 July 2014 / Revised: 8 September 2014 / Accepted: 9 September 2014 / Published: 23 September 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (35723 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A 2013 survey of a 40 square kilometer area surrounding Mayapán, Yucatan, Mexico used high-density LiDAR data to map prehispanic architecture and related natural features. Most of the area is covered by low canopy dense forest vegetation over karstic hilly terrain that [...] Read more.
A 2013 survey of a 40 square kilometer area surrounding Mayapán, Yucatan, Mexico used high-density LiDAR data to map prehispanic architecture and related natural features. Most of the area is covered by low canopy dense forest vegetation over karstic hilly terrain that impedes full coverage archaeological survey. We used LiDAR at 40 laser points per square meter to generate a bare earth digital elevation model (DEM). Results were evaluated with comparisons to previously mapped areas and with traditional archaeological survey methods for 38 settlement clusters outside of the city wall. Ground checking employed full coverage survey of selected 500 m grid squares, as well as documentation of the chronology and detail of new public and domestic settlement features and cenotes. Results identify the full extent of continued, contemporary Postclassic settlement (A.D. 1150–1450) outside of the city wall to at least 500 meters to the east, north, and west. New data also reveal an extensive modified landscape of terraformed residential hills, rejolladas, and dense settlement dating from Preclassic through Classic Periods. The LiDAR data also allow for the identification of rooms, benches, and stone property walls and lanes within the city. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives of Remote Sensing for Archaeology)
Open AccessArticle ARCTIS — A MATLAB® Toolbox for Archaeological Imaging Spectroscopy
Remote Sens. 2014, 6(9), 8617-8638; doi:10.3390/rs6098617
Received: 3 June 2014 / Revised: 7 July 2014 / Accepted: 28 July 2014 / Published: 16 September 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (13784 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Imaging spectroscopy acquires imagery in hundreds or more narrow contiguous spectral bands. This offers unprecedented information for archaeological research. To extract the maximum of useful archaeological information from it, however, a number of problems have to be solved. Major problems relate to [...] Read more.
Imaging spectroscopy acquires imagery in hundreds or more narrow contiguous spectral bands. This offers unprecedented information for archaeological research. To extract the maximum of useful archaeological information from it, however, a number of problems have to be solved. Major problems relate to data redundancy and the visualization of the large amount of data. This makes data mining approaches necessary, as well as efficient data visualization tools. Additional problems relate to data quality. Indeed, the upwelling electromagnetic radiation is recorded in small spectral bands that are only about ten nanometers wide. The signal received by the sensor is, thus quite low compared to sensor noise and possible atmospheric perturbations. The often small, instantaneous field of view (IFOV)—essential for archaeologically relevant imaging spectrometer datasets—further limits the useful signal stemming from the ground. The combination of both effects makes radiometric smoothing techniques mandatory. The present study details the functionality of a MATLAB®-based toolbox, called ARCTIS (ARChaeological Toolbox for Imaging Spectroscopy), for filtering, enhancing, analyzing, and visualizing imaging spectrometer datasets. The toolbox addresses the above-mentioned problems. Its Graphical User Interface (GUI) is designed to allow non-experts in remote sensing to extract a wealth of information from imaging spectroscopy for archaeological research. ARCTIS will be released under creative commons license, free of charge, via website (http://luftbildarchiv.univie.ac.at). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives of Remote Sensing for Archaeology)
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Open AccessArticle Ancient Maya Regional Settlement and Inter-Site Analysis: The 2013 West-Central Belize LiDAR Survey
Remote Sens. 2014, 6(9), 8671-8695; doi:10.3390/rs6098671
Received: 16 July 2014 / Revised: 25 August 2014 / Accepted: 3 September 2014 / Published: 16 September 2014
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (23886 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
During April and May 2013, a total of 1057 km2 of LiDAR was flown by NCALM for a consortium of archaeologists working in West-central Belize, making this the largest surveyed area within the Mayan lowlands. Encompassing the Belize Valley and the [...] Read more.
During April and May 2013, a total of 1057 km2 of LiDAR was flown by NCALM for a consortium of archaeologists working in West-central Belize, making this the largest surveyed area within the Mayan lowlands. Encompassing the Belize Valley and the Vaca Plateau, West-central Belize is one of the most actively researched parts of the Maya lowlands; however, until this effort, no comprehensive survey connecting all settlement had been conducted. Archaeological projects have investigated at least 18 different sites within this region. Thus, a large body of archaeological research provides both the temporal and spatial parameters for the varied ancient Maya centers that once occupied this area; importantly, these data can be used to help interpret the collected LiDAR data. The goal of the 2013 LiDAR campaign was to gain information on the distribution of ancient Maya settlement and sites on the landscape and, particularly, to determine how the landscape was used between known centers. The data that were acquired through the 2013 LiDAR campaign have significance for interpreting both the composition and limits of ancient Maya political units. This paper presents the initial results of these new data and suggests a developmental model for ancient Maya polities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives of Remote Sensing for Archaeology)
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Open AccessArticle The Delineation of Paleo-Shorelines in the Lake Manyara Basin Using TerraSAR-X Data
Remote Sens. 2014, 6(3), 2195-2212; doi:10.3390/rs6032195
Received: 31 December 2013 / Revised: 18 February 2014 / Accepted: 27 February 2014 / Published: 10 March 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1664 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to describe the delineation of paleo-shorelines using high resolution microwave images and digital image processing tools, and with that to contribute to the understanding of the complex landscape evolution of the Lake Manyara Basin. The surroundings [...] Read more.
The purpose of this paper is to describe the delineation of paleo-shorelines using high resolution microwave images and digital image processing tools, and with that to contribute to the understanding of the complex landscape evolution of the Lake Manyara Basin. The surroundings of Lake Manyara are the focus of several paleo-archeological investigations, since the location is close to Olduvai Gorge, where paleo-anthropological findings can be traced back to homo habilis. In the catchment of Lake Manyara two hominin-bearing sites (0.78 to 0.63 Ma), lots of vertebrate fossils and hand axes from different periods were found. Understanding the development and extent of the lake is crucial for understanding the regional paleo-environment of the Quaternary. Morphological structures of shorelines and terraces east of Lake Manyara were identified from TerraSAR-X StripMap images. By applying a Canny edge detector, linear features were extracted and revised for different image acquisitions using a contextual approach. Those features match literature and field references. A digital elevation model of the region was used to map the most distinct paleo-shorelines according to their elevation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives of Remote Sensing for Archaeology)
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Open AccessArticle Orthogonal Equations of Multi-Spectral Satellite Imagery for the Identification of Un-Excavated Archaeological Sites
Remote Sens. 2013, 5(12), 6560-6586; doi:10.3390/rs5126560
Received: 26 August 2013 / Revised: 26 November 2013 / Accepted: 27 November 2013 / Published: 3 December 2013
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (7694 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper aims to introduce new linear orthogonal equations for different satellite data derived from QuickBird; IKONOS; WorldView-2; GeoEye-1, ASTER; Landsat 4 TM and Landsat 7 ETM+ sensors, in order to enhance the exposure of crop marks. The latest are of significant [...] Read more.
This paper aims to introduce new linear orthogonal equations for different satellite data derived from QuickBird; IKONOS; WorldView-2; GeoEye-1, ASTER; Landsat 4 TM and Landsat 7 ETM+ sensors, in order to enhance the exposure of crop marks. The latest are of significant value for the detection of buried archaeological features using remote sensing techniques. The proposed transformations, re-projects the initial VNIR bands of the satellite image, into a new 3D coordinate system where the first component is the so called “crop mark”, the second component “vegetation” and the third component “soil”. For the purpose of this study, a large ground spectral signature database has been explored and analyzed separately for each different satellite image. The narrow band reflectance has been re-calculated using the Relative Spectral Response filters of each sensor, and then a PCA analysis was carried out. Subsequently, the first three PCA components were rotated in order to enhance the detection of crop marks. Finally, all proposed transformations have been successfully evaluated in different existing archaeological sites and some interesting crop marks have been exposed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives of Remote Sensing for Archaeology)
Open AccessArticle Openness as Visualization Technique for Interpretative Mapping of Airborne Lidar Derived Digital Terrain Models
Remote Sens. 2013, 5(12), 6427-6442; doi:10.3390/rs5126427
Received: 16 October 2013 / Revised: 25 November 2013 / Accepted: 26 November 2013 / Published: 28 November 2013
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (1639 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Openness is proposed as a visualization technique for the archaeological interpretation of digital terrain models derived from airborne laser scanning. In contrast to various shading techniques, openness is not subject to directional bias and relief features highlighted by openness do not contain [...] Read more.
Openness is proposed as a visualization technique for the archaeological interpretation of digital terrain models derived from airborne laser scanning. In contrast to various shading techniques, openness is not subject to directional bias and relief features highlighted by openness do not contain any horizontal displacement. Additionally, it offers a clear distinction between relief features and the surrounding topography, while it highlights both the highest and lowest parts of features. This makes openness an ideal tool for mapping and outlining of archaeological features. A comparison with sky-view factor and local relief model visualizations helps to evaluate advantages and limits of the technique. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives of Remote Sensing for Archaeology)

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