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Remote Sens. 2018, 10(4), 500; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10040500

An Objective Assessment of Hyperspectral Indicators for the Detection of Buried Archaeological Relics

1
Remote Sensing Technology Institute (MF), German Aerospace Center (DLR), 82234 Wessling, Germany
2
Cyprus University of Technology, Department of Civil Engineering and Geomatics, Erathostenes Research Center, Saripolou 2-8, Limassol 3036, Cyprus
3
National Research Council (CNR), Research Institute for Geo-Hydrological Protection (IRPI), 06128 Perugia, Italy
4
Laboratory of Geophysical-Satellite Remote Sensing and Archaeo-Environment, Foundation for Research and Technology, Hellas (F.O.R.T.H.), Rethymno 74100, Greece
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 January 2018 / Revised: 19 March 2018 / Accepted: 20 March 2018 / Published: 22 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Remote Sensing for Archaeological Heritage)
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Abstract

Hyperspectral images can highlight crop marks in vegetated areas, which may indicate the presence of underground buried structures, by exploiting the spectral information conveyed in reflected solar radiation. In recent years, different vegetation indices and several other image features have been used, with varying success, to improve the interpretation of remotely sensed images for archaeological research. However, it is difficult to assess the derived maps quantitatively and select the most meaningful one for a given task, in particular for a non-specialist in image processing. This paper estimates for the first time objectively the suitability of maps derived from spectral features for the detection of buried archaeological structures in vegetated areas based on information theory. This is achieved by computing the statistical dependence between the extracted features and a digital map indicating the presence of buried structures using information theoretical notions. Based on the obtained scores on known targets, the features can be ranked and the most suitable can be chosen to aid in the discovery of previously undetected crop marks in the area under similar conditions. Three case studies are reported: the Roman buried remains of Carnuntum (Austria), the underground structures of Selinunte in the South of Italy, and the buried street relics of Pherai (Velestino) in central Greece. View Full-Text
Keywords: hyperspectral imaging; archaeology; cultural heritage; mutual information; spectral indices; crop marks hyperspectral imaging; archaeology; cultural heritage; mutual information; spectral indices; crop marks
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Cerra, D.; Agapiou, A.; Cavalli, R.M.; Sarris, A. An Objective Assessment of Hyperspectral Indicators for the Detection of Buried Archaeological Relics. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 500.

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