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Moving from Space-Based to Ground-Based Solutions in Remote Sensing for Archaeological Heritage: A Case Study from Egypt

Department of Anthropology, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(12), 1297;
Received: 5 November 2017 / Revised: 23 November 2017 / Accepted: 7 December 2017 / Published: 12 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Remote Sensing for Archaeological Heritage)
PDF [1123 KB, uploaded 12 December 2017]


This paper evaluates the results of a 2016 study examining high-resolution open-source satellite data from 2002–2013 for sites across Egypt that mapped looting and site encroachment. The author features a looted tripartite coffin (now returned to Egypt) to suggest how satellite imagery might narrow down or provide the general provenience of looted objects and their possible site origins. Mapping where looting has occurred, the intensity of the looting, and emerging future threats to sites are important, but there is no established method at present to work backwards from unprovenanced looted items. Through an assessment of when objects enter countries illegally, the time-period of the looted objects, and an analysis of satellite imagery looting data concerning their country of origin, it is possible to suggest a potential provenance for looted objects. This approach shows how satellite data can be integrated into traditional provenance research. This study presents a workflow for how other projects might utilize a similar approach in other countries. View Full-Text
Keywords: open-access; cultural heritage; Egypt; looting; provenance open-access; cultural heritage; Egypt; looting; provenance

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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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Parcak, S. Moving from Space-Based to Ground-Based Solutions in Remote Sensing for Archaeological Heritage: A Case Study from Egypt. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 1297.

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