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Open AccessLetter

Discernibility of Burial Mounds in High-Resolution X-Band SAR Images for Archaeological Prospections in the Altai Mountains

1
State Key Laboratory of Information Engineering in Surveying, Mapping and Remote Sensing, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China
2
Collaborative Innovation Center for Geospatial Technology, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China
3
Institute of Archaeology, University of Hamburg, Hamburg 20146, Germany
4
Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100094, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Kenneth L. Kvamme, Zhong Lu, Richard Gloaguen and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Remote Sens. 2016, 8(10), 817; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs8100817
Received: 30 June 2016 / Revised: 21 September 2016 / Accepted: 24 September 2016 / Published: 30 September 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Archaeological Prospecting and Remote Sensing)
The Altai Mountains are a heritage-rich archaeological landscape with monuments in almost every valley. Modern nation state borders dissect the region and limit archaeological landscape analysis to intra-national areas of interest. Remote sensing can help to overcome these limitations. Due to its high precision, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data can be a very useful tool for supporting archaeological prospections, but compared to optical imagery, the detectability of sites of archaeological interest is limited. We analyzed the limitations of SAR using TerraSAR-X images in different modes. Based on ground truth, the discernibility of burial mounds was analyzed in different SAR acquisition modes. We show that very-high-resolution TerraSAR-X staring spotlight images are very well suited for the task, with >75% of the larger mounds being discernible, while in images with a lower spatial resolution only a few large sites can be detected, at rates below 50%. View Full-Text
Keywords: SAR; archaeology; object detection; Altai; spatial resolution SAR; archaeology; object detection; Altai; spatial resolution
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MDPI and ACS Style

Balz, T.; Caspari, G.; Fu, B.; Liao, M. Discernibility of Burial Mounds in High-Resolution X-Band SAR Images for Archaeological Prospections in the Altai Mountains. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 817. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs8100817

AMA Style

Balz T, Caspari G, Fu B, Liao M. Discernibility of Burial Mounds in High-Resolution X-Band SAR Images for Archaeological Prospections in the Altai Mountains. Remote Sensing. 2016; 8(10):817. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs8100817

Chicago/Turabian Style

Balz, Timo; Caspari, Gino; Fu, Bihong; Liao, Mingsheng. 2016. "Discernibility of Burial Mounds in High-Resolution X-Band SAR Images for Archaeological Prospections in the Altai Mountains" Remote Sens. 8, no. 10: 817. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs8100817

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