Special Issue "Remote Sensing and Geosciences for Archaeology"

A special issue of Geosciences (ISSN 2076-3263).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2017)

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Deodato Tapete

Italian Space Agency (ASI), Via del Politecnico snc, 00133 Rome, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: earth observation; radar and optical remote sensing; InSAR; time series analysis; Earth Sciences; environmental geology; natural hazards; urban environments; geoheritage; geoconservation; cultural heritage

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue of Geosciences aims to gather high-quality original research articles, reviews and technical notes on the use of Remote Sensing (RS) and geosciences for archaeological research and applications.

There is no doubt about the value of RS, either from terrestrial or airborne/space-borne sensors, to: discover new sites; investigate cultural landscapes; assess the condition of archaeological features; monitor and model impacts due to natural hazards and human threats. Processing algorithms and archaeological tools are increasingly being developed and standardisation of methods is improving. Nevertheless, how current methods are suitable to answer archaeological questions, what their limitations are, and at what extent they are accessible and used effectively by the practitioner community, remains to be explored and demonstrated.

RS is widely acknowledged as being an objective source of information, particularly in remote areas. However, accounting for the wide spectrum and peculiarity of RS techniques currently available—e.g. optical, multi/hyper-spectral, SAR, thermal imaging; aerial photography; LiDAR; drone surveys; structure-from-motion—, the confidence level in their use needs to be balanced with a quantitative assessment of uncertainty. When available, ground truth and integration with other geoscientific methods can help to achieve this goal.

Therefore, I would like to invite you to submit articles about your recent work, experimental research or case studies, with respect to the above and/or the following topics:

  • Archaeological prospection
  • Digital archaelogical fieldwork
  • GIS analysis of spatial settlement patterns in modern landscapes
  • Assessment of natural or human-induced threats to conservation
  • Education and capacity building in RS for archaeology

I also encourage you to send me a short abstract outlining the purpose of the research and the principal results obtained, in order to verify at an early stage if the contribution you intend to submit fits with the objectives of the Special Issue.

Dr. Deodato Tapete
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Geosciences 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 850 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • remote sensing
  • data processing
  • analytical methods
  • data integration
  • accuracy assessment
  • archaeological prospection
  • digital archaeological fieldwork
  • condition assessment
  • pattern recognition
  • capacity building

Published Papers (22 papers)

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Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessEditorial Remote Sensing and Geosciences for Archaeology
Geosciences 2018, 8(2), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8020041
Received: 20 January 2018 / Revised: 22 January 2018 / Accepted: 22 January 2018 / Published: 25 January 2018
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (2046 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Archaeological remote sensing is not a novel discipline. Indeed, there is already a suite of geoscientific techniques that are regularly used by practitioners in the field, according to standards and best practice guidelines. However, (i) the technological development of sensors for data capture; [...] Read more.
Archaeological remote sensing is not a novel discipline. Indeed, there is already a suite of geoscientific techniques that are regularly used by practitioners in the field, according to standards and best practice guidelines. However, (i) the technological development of sensors for data capture; (ii) the accessibility of new remote sensing and Earth Observation data; and (iii) the awareness that a combination of different techniques can lead to retrieval of diverse and complementary information to characterize landscapes and objects of archaeological value and significance, are currently three triggers stimulating advances in methodologies for data acquisition, signal processing, and the integration and fusion of extracted information. The Special Issue “Remote Sensing and Geosciences for Archaeology” therefore presents a collection of scientific contributions that provides a sample of the state-of-the-art and forefront research in this field. Site discovery, understanding of cultural landscapes, augmented knowledge of heritage, condition assessment, and conservation are the main research and practice targets that the papers published in this Special Issue aim to address. Full article
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Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review

Open AccessArticle Landscape Pattern Detection in Archaeological Remote Sensing
Geosciences 2017, 7(4), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences7040128
Received: 13 October 2017 / Revised: 28 November 2017 / Accepted: 29 November 2017 / Published: 11 December 2017
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (4016 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Automated detection of landscape patterns on Remote Sensing imagery has seen virtually little or no development in the archaeological domain, notwithstanding the fact that large portion of cultural landscapes worldwide are characterized by land engineering applications. The current extraordinary availability of remotely sensed [...] Read more.
Automated detection of landscape patterns on Remote Sensing imagery has seen virtually little or no development in the archaeological domain, notwithstanding the fact that large portion of cultural landscapes worldwide are characterized by land engineering applications. The current extraordinary availability of remotely sensed images makes it now urgent to envision and develop automatic methods that can simplify their inspection and the extraction of relevant information from them, as the quantity of information is no longer manageable by traditional “human” visual interpretation. This paper expands on the development of automatic methods for the detection of target landscape features—represented by field system patterns—in very high spatial resolution images, within the framework of an archaeological project focused on the landscape engineering embedded in Roman cadasters. The targets of interest consist of a variety of similarly oriented objects of diverse nature (such as roads, drainage channels, etc.) concurring to demark the current landscape organization, which reflects the one imposed by Romans over two millennia ago. The proposed workflow exploits the textural and shape properties of real-world elements forming the field patterns using multiscale analysis of dominant oriented response filters. Trials showed that this approach provides accurate localization of target linear objects and alignments signaled by a wide range of physical entities with very different characteristics. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Semi-Automatic Detection of Indigenous Settlement Features on Hispaniola through Remote Sensing Data
Geosciences 2017, 7(4), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences7040127
Received: 15 October 2017 / Revised: 29 November 2017 / Accepted: 29 November 2017 / Published: 5 December 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (29945 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Satellite imagery has had limited application in the analysis of pre-colonial settlement archaeology in the Caribbean; visible evidence of wooden structures perishes quickly in tropical climates. Only slight topographic modifications remain, typically associated with middens. Nonetheless, surface scatters, as well as the soil [...] Read more.
Satellite imagery has had limited application in the analysis of pre-colonial settlement archaeology in the Caribbean; visible evidence of wooden structures perishes quickly in tropical climates. Only slight topographic modifications remain, typically associated with middens. Nonetheless, surface scatters, as well as the soil characteristics they produce, can serve as quantifiable indicators of an archaeological site, detectable by analyzing remote sensing imagery. A variety of pre-processed, very diverse data sets went through a process of image registration, with the intention to combine multispectral bands to feed two different semi-automatic direct detection algorithms: a posterior probability, and a frequentist approach. Two 5 × 5 km2 areas in the northwestern Dominican Republic with diverse environments, having sufficient imagery coverage, and a representative number of known indigenous site locations, served each for one approach. Buffers around the locations of known sites, as well as areas with no likely archaeological evidence were used as samples. The resulting maps offer quantifiable statistical outcomes of locations with similar pixel value combinations as the identified sites, indicating higher probability of archaeological evidence. These still very experimental and rather unvalidated trials, as they have not been subsequently groundtruthed, show variable potential of this method in diverse environments. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle SARchaeology—Detecting Palaeochannels Based on High Resolution Radar Data and Their Impact of Changes in the Settlement Pattern in Cilicia (Turkey)
Geosciences 2017, 7(4), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences7040109
Received: 22 July 2017 / Revised: 15 October 2017 / Accepted: 16 October 2017 / Published: 24 October 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (20163 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The fertile alluvial plain of Cilicia is bordered by the Taurus and Amanus mountain ranges to the west, north and east and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Since the Neolithic Period, Plain Cilicia was an important interface between Anatolia and the Levant. [...] Read more.
The fertile alluvial plain of Cilicia is bordered by the Taurus and Amanus mountain ranges to the west, north and east and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Since the Neolithic Period, Plain Cilicia was an important interface between Anatolia and the Levant. The alluvial plain is dominated by three rivers: Tarsus, Seyhan and Ceyhan. The avulsion history of the lower course of the rivers Seyhan and Ceyhan during the Holocene remains an unresolved issue. The knowledge about how former river courses have changed is essential for the identification of ancient toponyms with archaeological sites. The analysis of silted up riverbeds based on high-resolution digital elevation models (TanDEM-X) and historic satellite imagery (CORONA) in this paper provide the first indications for the reconstruction of former river channels. Further evidence is given by the evaluation of the settlement patterns from 3rd to 1st millennium BC. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Detecting Landscape Disturbance at the Nasca Lines Using SAR Data Collected from Airborne and Satellite Platforms
Geosciences 2017, 7(4), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences7040106
Received: 1 August 2017 / Revised: 12 October 2017 / Accepted: 12 October 2017 / Published: 16 October 2017
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (10563 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We used synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data collected over Peru’s Lines and Geoglyphs of the Nasca and Palpa World Heritage Site to detect and measure landscape disturbance threatening world-renowned archaeological features and ecosystems. We employed algorithms to calculate correlations between pairs of SAR [...] Read more.
We used synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data collected over Peru’s Lines and Geoglyphs of the Nasca and Palpa World Heritage Site to detect and measure landscape disturbance threatening world-renowned archaeological features and ecosystems. We employed algorithms to calculate correlations between pairs of SAR returns, collected at different times, and generate correlation images. Landscape disturbances even on the scale of pedestrian travel are discernible in correlation images generated from airborne, L-band SAR. Correlation images derived from C-band SAR data collected by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-1 satellites also provide detailed landscape change information. Because the two Sentinel-1 satellites together have a repeat pass interval that can be as short as six days, products derived from their data can not only provide information on the location and degree of ground disturbance, but also identify a time window of about one to three weeks during which disturbance must have occurred. For Sentinel-1, this does not depend on collecting data in fine-beam modes, which generally sacrifice the size of the area covered for a higher spatial resolution. We also report on pixel value stretching for a visual analysis of SAR data, quantitative assessment of landscape disturbance, and statistical testing for significant landscape change. Full article
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Open AccessArticle SAR Imaging of Archaeological Sites on Intertidal Flats in the German Wadden Sea
Geosciences 2017, 7(4), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences7040105
Received: 4 August 2017 / Revised: 2 October 2017 / Accepted: 2 October 2017 / Published: 13 October 2017
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (9973 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We show that high-resolution space-borne synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery with pixel sizes smaller than 1 m2 can be used to complement archaeological surveys on intertidal flats. After major storm surges in the 14th and 17th centuries (“Grote Mandrenke”), vast [...] Read more.
We show that high-resolution space-borne synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery with pixel sizes smaller than 1 m2 can be used to complement archaeological surveys on intertidal flats. After major storm surges in the 14th and 17th centuries (“Grote Mandrenke”), vast areas on the German North Sea coast were lost to the sea. Areas of settlements and historical farmland were buried under sediments for centuries, but when the surface layer is driven away under the action of wind, currents, and waves, they appear again on the Wadden Sea surface. However, frequent flooding and erosion of the intertidal flats make any archaeological monitoring a difficult task, so that remote sensing techniques appear to be an efficient and cost-effective instrument for any archaeological surveillance of that area. Space-borne SAR images clearly show remains of farmhouse foundations and of former systems of ditches, dating back to the times before the “Grote Mandrenke”. In particular, the very high-resolution acquisition (“staring spotlight”) mode of the TerraSAR/TanDEM-X satellites allows detecting various kinds of remains of historical land use at high precision. Moreover, SARs working at lower microwave frequencies (e.g., that on Radarsat-2) may complement archaeological surveys of historical cultural traces, some of which have been unknown so far. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Geoarchaeological Core Prospection as a Tool to Validate Archaeological Interpretation Based on Geophysical Data at the Roman Settlement of Auritz/Burguete and Aurizberri/Espinal (Navarre)
Geosciences 2017, 7(4), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences7040104
Received: 21 August 2017 / Revised: 26 September 2017 / Accepted: 3 October 2017 / Published: 13 October 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (55665 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Geophysical survey methods are broadly used to delimit and characterize archaeological sites, but the archaeological interpretation of geophysical data remains one of the challenges. Indeed, many scenarios can generate a similar geophysical response, and often interpretations can not be validated without access to [...] Read more.
Geophysical survey methods are broadly used to delimit and characterize archaeological sites, but the archaeological interpretation of geophysical data remains one of the challenges. Indeed, many scenarios can generate a similar geophysical response, and often interpretations can not be validated without access to the subsoil. In large geophysical surveys many anomalies are detected and validation through archaeological trenches can not be afforded. This paper analyses the validity of geoarchaeological core survey to check the archaeological interpretations based on geophysical results. The Roman site located at Auritz/Burguete and Aurizberri/Espinal (Navarre), provides a great case of study as many investigations have been carried out. After the gradiometer survey performed in 2013 a sediment core survey was designed. 132 cores were drilled using a hand-held coring machine and the sediments were analysed in situ. Site delimitation and archaeological interpretations based on magnetic data could be improved or corrected. In this regard, the core survey proved to be an useful methodology as many anomalies could be checked within reasonable time and resources. However, further geophysical investigations trough GPR revealed unexpected remains in areas where no archaeological deposits were identified through coring. Excavations showed poor conservation level in some of those areas, leading to thin archaeological deposits hard to identify at the cores. The sediment core survey, therefore, was proved to be inconclusive to delimit the archaeological site. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Geometric Analysis on Stone Façades with Terrestrial Laser Scanner Technology
Geosciences 2017, 7(4), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences7040103
Received: 11 July 2017 / Revised: 21 September 2017 / Accepted: 30 September 2017 / Published: 10 October 2017
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (8819 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article presents a methodology to process information from a Terrestrial Laser Scanner (TLS) from three dimensions (3D) to two dimensions (2D), and to two dimensions with a color value (2.5D), as a tool to document and analyze heritage buildings. Principally focused on [...] Read more.
This article presents a methodology to process information from a Terrestrial Laser Scanner (TLS) from three dimensions (3D) to two dimensions (2D), and to two dimensions with a color value (2.5D), as a tool to document and analyze heritage buildings. Principally focused on the loss of material in stone, this study aims at creating an evaluation method for loss control, taking into account the state of conservation of a building in terms of restoration, from studying the pathologies, to their identification and delimitation. A case study on the Cathedral of the Seu Vella de Lleida was completed, examining the details of the stone surfaces. This cathedral was affected by military use, periods of abandonment, and periodic restorations. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle From Above and on the Ground: Geospatial Methods for Recording Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa
Geosciences 2017, 7(4), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences7040100
Received: 31 July 2017 / Revised: 26 September 2017 / Accepted: 28 September 2017 / Published: 5 October 2017
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (17976 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The EAMENA (Endangered Archaeology of the Middle East and North Africa) project is a collaboration between the Universities of Leicester, Oxford and Durham; it is funded by the Arcadia Fund and the Cultural Protection Fund. This paper explores the development of the EAMENA [...] Read more.
The EAMENA (Endangered Archaeology of the Middle East and North Africa) project is a collaboration between the Universities of Leicester, Oxford and Durham; it is funded by the Arcadia Fund and the Cultural Protection Fund. This paper explores the development of the EAMENA methodology, and discusses some of the problems of working across such a broad region. We discuss two main case studies: the World Heritage site of Cyrene illustrates how the project can use satellite imagery (dating from the 1960s to 2017), in conjunction with published data to create a detailed set of database records for a single site and, in particular, highlights the impact of modern urban expansion across the region. Conversely, the Homs Cairns case study demonstrates how the EAMENA methodology also works at an extensive scale, and integrates image interpretation (using imagery dating from the 1960s to 2016), landuse mapping and field survey (2007–2010) to record and analyse the condition of hundreds of features across a small study region. This study emphasises the impact of modern agricultural and land clearing activities. Ultimately, this paper assesses the effectiveness of the EAMENA approach, evaluating its potential success against projects using crowd-sourcing and automation for recording archaeological sites, and seeks to determine the most appropriate methods to use to document sites and assess disturbances and threats across such a vast and diverse area. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Optical Remote Sensing Potentials for Looting Detection
Geosciences 2017, 7(4), 98; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences7040098
Received: 31 July 2017 / Revised: 29 September 2017 / Accepted: 2 October 2017 / Published: 4 October 2017
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (15728 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
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Open AccessArticle How Can Remote Sensing Help in Detecting the Threats to Archaeological Sites in Upper Egypt?
Geosciences 2017, 7(4), 97; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences7040097
Received: 27 July 2017 / Revised: 12 September 2017 / Accepted: 28 September 2017 / Published: 2 October 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (15869 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The analysis of contemporary and archival satellite images and archaeological documentations presents the possibility of monitoring the state of archaeological sites in the Near East (for example, Palmyra in Syria). As it will be demonstrated in the case of Upper Egyptian sites, the [...] Read more.
The analysis of contemporary and archival satellite images and archaeological documentations presents the possibility of monitoring the state of archaeological sites in the Near East (for example, Palmyra in Syria). As it will be demonstrated in the case of Upper Egyptian sites, the rapid growth of agricultural lands and settlements can pose a great threat to sites localized on the border of fields and the desert. As a case study, the Qena district was chosen, a region of significance for the history of ancient Egypt. To trace the expansion of agriculture and the development of modern settlements, a synthesis of archival maps (from the last 200 years), and archival and contemporary satellite images was created. By applying map algebra to these documents, it was possible to determine areas which may be marked as “Archaeological Hazard Zones”. The analysis helped to trace the expansion of agricultural areas during the last 200 years and the influence of both—ancient Egyptians and the Nile—on the local landscape. Full article
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Open AccessArticle 3D Point Clouds in Archaeology: Advances in Acquisition, Processing and Knowledge Integration Applied to Quasi-Planar Objects
Geosciences 2017, 7(4), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences7040096
Received: 20 July 2017 / Revised: 22 September 2017 / Accepted: 25 September 2017 / Published: 30 September 2017
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (39118 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Digital investigations of the real world through point clouds and derivatives are changing how curators, cultural heritage researchers and archaeologists work and collaborate. To progressively aggregate expertise and enhance the working proficiency of all professionals, virtual reconstructions demand adapted tools to facilitate knowledge [...] Read more.
Digital investigations of the real world through point clouds and derivatives are changing how curators, cultural heritage researchers and archaeologists work and collaborate. To progressively aggregate expertise and enhance the working proficiency of all professionals, virtual reconstructions demand adapted tools to facilitate knowledge dissemination. However, to achieve this perceptive level, a point cloud must be semantically rich, retaining relevant information for the end user. In this paper, we review the state of the art of point cloud integration within archaeological applications, giving an overview of 3D technologies for heritage, digital exploitation and case studies showing the assimilation status within 3D GIS. Identified issues and new perspectives are addressed through a knowledge-based point cloud processing framework for multi-sensory data, and illustrated on mosaics and quasi-planar objects. A new acquisition, pre-processing, segmentation and ontology-based classification method on hybrid point clouds from both terrestrial laser scanning and dense image matching is proposed to enable reasoning for information extraction. Experiments in detection and semantic enrichment show promising results of 94% correct semantization. Then, we integrate the metadata in an archaeological smart point cloud data structure allowing spatio-semantic queries related to CIDOC-CRM. Finally, a WebGL prototype is presented that leads to efficient communication between actors by proposing optimal 3D data visualizations as a basis on which interaction can grow. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle The American Schools of Oriental Research Cultural Heritage Initiatives: Monitoring Cultural Heritage in Syria and Northern Iraq by Geospatial Imagery
Geosciences 2017, 7(4), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences7040095
Received: 1 August 2017 / Revised: 21 September 2017 / Accepted: 23 September 2017 / Published: 28 September 2017
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (19965 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The American Schools of Oriental Research Cultural Heritage Initiatives (ASOR CHI) continues to address the cultural heritage crisis in Syria and Northern Iraq by: (1) monitoring, reporting, and fact-finding; (2) promoting global awareness; and (3) conducting emergency response projects and developing post-conflict rehabilitation [...] Read more.
The American Schools of Oriental Research Cultural Heritage Initiatives (ASOR CHI) continues to address the cultural heritage crisis in Syria and Northern Iraq by: (1) monitoring, reporting, and fact-finding; (2) promoting global awareness; and (3) conducting emergency response projects and developing post-conflict rehabilitation plans. As part of this mission, ASOR CHI, through a public–government collaboration with the United States of America (US) Department of State, has been provided with access to hundreds of thousands of satellite images, some within 24 h of the image being taken, in order to assess reports of damage to cultural heritage sites, to discover unreported damage, and to evaluate the impacts of such incidents. This work is being done across an inventory of over 13,000 cultural heritage sites in the affected regions. The available dataset of satellite imagery is significantly larger than the scales that geospatial specialists within archaeology have dealt with in the past. This has necessitated a rethinking of how the project uses satellite imagery and how ASOR CHI and future projects can more effectively undertake the important work of cultural heritage monitoring and damage assessment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Using Open Access Satellite Data Alongside Ground Based Remote Sensing: An Assessment, with Case Studies from Egypt’s Delta
Geosciences 2017, 7(4), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences7040094
Received: 31 July 2017 / Revised: 18 September 2017 / Accepted: 18 September 2017 / Published: 27 September 2017
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (33777 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper will assess the most recently available open access high-resolution optical satellite data (0.3 m–0.6 m) and its detection of buried ancient features versus ground based remote sensing tools. It also discusses the importance of CORONA satellite data to evaluate landscape changes [...] Read more.
This paper will assess the most recently available open access high-resolution optical satellite data (0.3 m–0.6 m) and its detection of buried ancient features versus ground based remote sensing tools. It also discusses the importance of CORONA satellite data to evaluate landscape changes over the past 50 years surrounding sites. The study concentrates on Egypt’s Nile Delta, which is threatened by rising sea and water tables and urbanization. Many ancient coastal sites will be lost in the next few decades, thus this paper emphasizes the need to map them before they disappear. It shows that high resolution satellites can sometimes provide the same general picture on ancient sites in the Egyptian Nile Delta as ground based remote sensing, with relatively sandier sedimentary and degrading tell environments, during periods of rainfall, and higher groundwater conditions. Research results also suggest potential solutions for rapid mapping of threatened Delta sites, and urge a collaborative global effort to maps them before they disappear. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Ontology-Based Photogrammetry Survey for Medieval Archaeology: Toward a 3D Geographic Information System (GIS)
Geosciences 2017, 7(4), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences7040093
Received: 3 September 2017 / Revised: 17 September 2017 / Accepted: 17 September 2017 / Published: 26 September 2017
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Abstract
This paper presents certain reflections concerning an interdisciplinary project between medieval archaeologists from the University of Florence (Italy) and computer science researchers from CNRS, National Center for Scientific Research, (France), aiming towards a connection between 3D spatial representation and archaeological knowledge. We try [...] Read more.
This paper presents certain reflections concerning an interdisciplinary project between medieval archaeologists from the University of Florence (Italy) and computer science researchers from CNRS, National Center for Scientific Research, (France), aiming towards a connection between 3D spatial representation and archaeological knowledge. We try to develop an integrated system for archaeological 3D survey and all other types of archaeological data and knowledge by incorporating observable (material) and non-graphic (interpretive) data. Survey plays a central role, since it is both a metric representation of the archaeological site and, to a wider extent, an interpretation of it (being also a common basis for communication between the two teams). More specifically, 3D survey is crucial, allowing archaeologists to connect actual spatial assets to the stratigraphic formation processes (i.e., to the archaeological time) and to translate spatial observations into historical interpretation of the site. It is well known that laser scanner, photogrammetry and computer vision are very useful tools for archaeologists, although the integration of the representation of space, as well as archaeological time has not yet found a methodological standard of reference. We propose a common formalism for describing photogrammetric survey and archaeological knowledge stemming from ontologies: indeed, ontologies are fully used to model and store 3D data and archaeological knowledge. We equip this formalism with a qualitative representation of time, starting from archaeological stratigraphy. Stratigraphic analyses (both of excavated deposits and of upstanding structures) are closely related to Edward Cecil Harris’s theory of the “Unit of Stratigraphication” (referred to as “US”, while a stratigraphic unit of an upstanding structure Unita Stratigrafica Murale, in Italian, will be referred to as “USM”). Every US is connected to the others by geometric, topological and, eventually, temporal links, and these are recorded by the 3D photogrammetric survey. However, the limitations of the Harris matrix approach led us to use another formalism for representing stratigraphic relationships, namely Qualitative Constraints Networks (QCN), which was successfully used in the domain of knowledge representation and reasoning in artificial intelligence for representing temporal relations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Accurate Reconstruction of the Roman Circus in Milan by Georeferencing Heterogeneous Data Sources with GIS
Geosciences 2017, 7(3), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences7030091
Received: 11 August 2017 / Revised: 12 September 2017 / Accepted: 14 September 2017 / Published: 20 September 2017
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Abstract
This paper presents the methodological approach and the actual workflow for creating the 3D digital reconstruction in time of the ancient Roman Circus of Milan, which is presently covered completely by the urban fabric of the modern city. The diachronic reconstruction is based [...] Read more.
This paper presents the methodological approach and the actual workflow for creating the 3D digital reconstruction in time of the ancient Roman Circus of Milan, which is presently covered completely by the urban fabric of the modern city. The diachronic reconstruction is based on a proper mix of quantitative data originated by current 3D surveys and historical sources, such as ancient maps, drawings, archaeological reports, restrictions decrees, and old photographs. When possible, such heterogeneous sources have been georeferenced and stored in a GIS system. In this way the sources have been analyzed in depth, allowing the deduction of geometrical information not explicitly revealed by the material available. A reliable reconstruction of the area in different historical periods has been therefore hypothesized. This research has been carried on in the framework of the project Cultural Heritage Through Time—CHT2, funded by the Joint Programming Initiative on Cultural Heritage (JPI-CH), supported by the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage (MiBACT), the Italian Ministry for University and Research (MIUR), and the European Commission. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Are We There Yet? A Review and Assessment of Archaeological Passive Airborne Optical Imaging Approaches in the Light of Landscape Archaeology
Geosciences 2017, 7(3), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences7030086
Received: 18 August 2017 / Revised: 8 September 2017 / Accepted: 11 September 2017 / Published: 14 September 2017
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (4640 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Archaeologists often rely on passive airborne optical remote sensing to deliver some of the core data for (European) landscape archaeology projects. Despite the many technological and theoretical evolutions that have characterised this field of archaeology, the dominant aerial photographic surveys, but also less [...] Read more.
Archaeologists often rely on passive airborne optical remote sensing to deliver some of the core data for (European) landscape archaeology projects. Despite the many technological and theoretical evolutions that have characterised this field of archaeology, the dominant aerial photographic surveys, but also less common approaches to archaeological airborne reconnaissance, still suffer from many inherent biases imposed by sub-par sampling strategies, cost, instrument availability and post-processing issues. This paper starts with the concept of landscape (archaeology) and uses it to frame archaeological airborne remote sensing. After introducing the need for bias reduction when sampling an already distorted archaeological population and expanding on the ‘theory-neutral’ claim of aerial survey, the paper presents eight key characteristics that all have the potential to increase or decrease the subjectivity and bias when collecting airborne optical imagery with passive sensors. Within this setting, the paper then offers some technological-methodological reflection on the various passive airborne optical imaging solutions that landscape archaeology has come to rely upon in the past decades. In doing so, it calls into question the effectiveness and suitability of these highly subjective approaches for landscape archaeology. Finally, the paper proposes a new, more objective approach to aerial optical image acquisition with passive sensors. In the discussion, the text argues that the suggested exhaustive (or total) airborne sampling of the preserved archaeological record might transcend particular theoretical paradigms, while the data generated could span various interpretational perspectives and oppositional analytical approaches in landscape archaeology. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Comparison Study to the Use of Geophysical Methods at Archaeological Sites Observed by Various Remote Sensing Techniques in the Czech Republic
Geosciences 2017, 7(3), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences7030081
Received: 4 August 2017 / Revised: 31 August 2017 / Accepted: 1 September 2017 / Published: 7 September 2017
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Abstract
A combination of geophysical methods could be very a useful and a practical way of verifying the origin and precise localisation of archaeological situations identified by different remote sensing techniques. The results of different methods (and scales) of monitoring these fully non-destructive methods [...] Read more.
A combination of geophysical methods could be very a useful and a practical way of verifying the origin and precise localisation of archaeological situations identified by different remote sensing techniques. The results of different methods (and scales) of monitoring these fully non-destructive methods provide distinct data and often complement each other. The presented examples of combinations of these methods/techniques in this study (aerial survey, LIDAR-ALS and surface magnetometer or resistivity survey) could provide information on some specifics and may also be limitations in surveying different archaeological terrains, types of archaeological situations and activities. The archaeological site in this contribution is considered to be a material of this study. In case of Neolithic ditch enclosure near Kolín were compared aerial prospection data, magnetometer survey and aerial photo-documentation of excavated site. In the case of hillforts near Levousy we compared LIDAR data with aerial photography and large-scale magnetometer survey. In the case of the medieval castle Liběhrad we compared LIDAR data with geoelectric resistivity measurement. In case of a burial mound cemetery we combined LIDAR data with magnetometer survey. In the case of the production area near Rynartice we combined LIDAR data with magnetometer and resistivity measurements and result of archaeological excavation. Fortunately for successful combination of geophysical and remote sensing results, their conditions and factors for efficient use in archaeology are not the same. On the other hand, the quality and state of many prehistoric, early medieval, medieval and also modern archaeological sites is rapidly changing over time and both groups of techniques represent important support for their comprehensive and precise documentation and protection. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Analysis and Processing of Nadir and Stereo VHR Pleiadés Images for 3D Mapping and Planning the Land of Nineveh, Iraqi Kurdistan
Geosciences 2017, 7(3), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences7030080
Received: 4 August 2017 / Revised: 26 August 2017 / Accepted: 29 August 2017 / Published: 6 September 2017
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Abstract
The impressive hydraulic system built by the Assyrian King Sennacherib is composed by different archaeological areas, displaced along the Land of Nineveh, in Iraqi Kurdistan. The extensive project we are working on has the aim of mapping and geo-referencing any kind of documentation [...] Read more.
The impressive hydraulic system built by the Assyrian King Sennacherib is composed by different archaeological areas, displaced along the Land of Nineveh, in Iraqi Kurdistan. The extensive project we are working on has the aim of mapping and geo-referencing any kind of documentation in order to design an archaeological-environmental park able to preserve and enhance the archaeological complex. Unfortunately, the area is failing a topographic documentation and the available cartography is not sufficient for planning and documentation purposes. The research work presented in these pages moves towards this direction, by exploiting Pleiadés Very High Resolution (VHR) images (in both nadir and stereo configuration) for an accurate mapping of the site. In more depth, Pleiadés nadir VHR images have been used to perform a pansharpening procedure used to enhance the visual interpretation of the study area, whilst stereo-pair have been processed to produce the Digital Elevation Model (DEM) of the study area. Statistical evaluations show the high accuracy of the processing and the reliability of the outputs as well. The integration of different products, at different Levels of Detail within a unique GIS environment, besides protecting, preserving and enhancing the water system of Sennacherib’s, paves the way to allow the Kurdistan Regional Government to present a proposal for the admission of the archaeological complex in the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List (WHTL). Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Manifold Approach for the Investigation of Early and Middle Neolithic Settlements in Thessaly, Greece
Geosciences 2017, 7(3), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences7030079
Received: 28 July 2017 / Revised: 21 August 2017 / Accepted: 31 August 2017 / Published: 6 September 2017
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Abstract
The IGEAN (Innovative Geophysical Approaches for the study of Early Agricultural villages of Neolithic) Thessaly project focused on Early and Neolithic settlements in Thessaly, Central Greece. The aim of the project was to highlight in an extensive way differences in settlement layouts while [...] Read more.
The IGEAN (Innovative Geophysical Approaches for the study of Early Agricultural villages of Neolithic) Thessaly project focused on Early and Neolithic settlements in Thessaly, Central Greece. The aim of the project was to highlight in an extensive way differences in settlement layouts while investigating commonalities as a way to understand Neolithic use of space. To accomplish this, a suite of geophysical prospection techniques (geomagnetic, electromagnetic induction, and Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR)), aerial platforms (historic aerial imagery and Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS)) as well as very high resolution spaceborne sensors were integrated to acquire comprehensive pictures of settlements. Results of the IGEAN project provide archaeological information on the dynamic character of enclosures, the structure of architectural features and open spaces within sites as an indication of economic or communal spaces. At the same time, they demonstrated the importance of employing a suite of different geophysical techniques to reveal different aspects of the hindered prehistoric settlements that could not be highlighted with a single geophysical approach. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Fusion of Satellite Multispectral Images Based on Ground-Penetrating Radar (GPR) Data for the Investigation of Buried Concealed Archaeological Remains
Geosciences 2017, 7(2), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences7020040
Received: 28 April 2017 / Revised: 1 June 2017 / Accepted: 2 June 2017 / Published: 6 June 2017
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Abstract
The paper investigates the superficial layers of an archaeological landscape based on the integration of various remote sensing techniques. It is well known in the literature that shallow depths may be rich in archeological remains, which generate different signal responses depending on the [...] Read more.
The paper investigates the superficial layers of an archaeological landscape based on the integration of various remote sensing techniques. It is well known in the literature that shallow depths may be rich in archeological remains, which generate different signal responses depending on the applied technique. In this study three main technologies are examined, namely ground-penetrating radar (GPR), ground spectroscopy, and multispectral satellite imagery. The study aims to propose a methodology to enhance optical remote sensing satellite images, intended for archaeological research, based on the integration of ground based and satellite datasets. For this task, a regression model between the ground spectroradiometer and GPR is established which is then projected to a high resolution sub-meter optical image. The overall methodology consists of nine steps. Beyond the acquirement of the in-situ measurements and their calibration (Steps 1–3), various regression models are examined for more than 70 different vegetation indices (Steps 4–5). The specific data analysis indicated that the red-edge position (REP) hyperspectral index was the most appropriate for developing a local fusion model between ground spectroscopy data and GPR datasets (Step 6), providing comparable results with the in situ GPR measurements (Step 7). Other vegetation indices, such as the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), have also been examined, providing significant correlation between the two datasets (R = 0.50). The model is then projected to a high-resolution image over the area of interest (Step 8). The proposed methodology was evaluated with a series of field data collected from the Vésztő-Mágor Tell in the eastern part of Hungary. The results were compared with in situ magnetic gradiometry measurements, indicating common interpretation results. The results were also compatible with the preliminary archaeological investigations of the area (Step 9). The overall outcomes document that fusion models between various types of remote sensing datasets frequently used to support archaeological research can further expand the current capabilities and applications for the detection of buried archaeological remains. Full article
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Open AccessReview Quantitative Examination of Piezoelectric/Seismoelectric Anomalies from Near-Surface Targets
Geosciences 2017, 7(3), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences7030090
Received: 21 August 2017 / Revised: 8 September 2017 / Accepted: 13 September 2017 / Published: 19 September 2017
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Abstract
The piezoelectric and seismo-electrokinetic phenomena are manifested by electrical and electromagnetic processes that occur in rocks under the influence of elastic oscillations triggered by shots or mechanical impacts. Differences in piezoelectric properties between the studied targets and host media determine the possibilities of [...] Read more.
The piezoelectric and seismo-electrokinetic phenomena are manifested by electrical and electromagnetic processes that occur in rocks under the influence of elastic oscillations triggered by shots or mechanical impacts. Differences in piezoelectric properties between the studied targets and host media determine the possibilities of the piezoelectric/seismoelectric method application. Over a long time, an interpretation of obtained data is carried out by the use of methods developed in seismic prospecting. Examination of nature of piezoelectric/seismoelectric anomalies observed in subsurface indicates that these may be related (mainly) to electric potential field. In this paper, it is shown that quantitative analysis of piezoelectric/seismoelectric anomalies may be performed by the advanced and reliable methodologies developed in magnetic prospecting. Some examples from mining geophysics (Russia) and ancient metallurgical site (Israel) confirm applicability of the suggested approach. Full article
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