Landscape Archaeology by Using Remote Sensing Data

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X). This special issue belongs to the section "Landscape Archaeology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 July 2023) | Viewed by 32870

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Civil Engineering and Architecture (DICAR), University of Catania, Viale Andrea Doria, 6, 95125 Catania, Italy
Interests: satellite/aerial/UAV image processing; environmental and landscape monitoring; archaeological site detection and modelling; Earth observation; climate changes; GIS to manage natural risks; WebGIS
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Dipartimento Scienze della Formazione, Università di Catania, Via Biblioteca n. 4, 95100 Catania, Italy
Interests: landscape archaeology; prehistoric societies; archaeological excavations

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Guest Editor
Department of Civil Engineering and Architecture (DICAR), University of Catania, Via Santa Sofia 64, 95125 Catania, Italy
Interests: remote sensing; development of GIS and WebGIS technology and applications for the monitoring of the territory; management and processing of data acquired by UAVs; liDAR technology; spatial data base
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Italian Space Agency (ASI), Via del Politecnico snc, 00133 Rome, Italy
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 Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Landscape changes and evolves over time, and archaeologists study how humans have influenced these changes in the past. Indeed, there is a mutual influence between the landscape and humans: the landscape is affected by natural and anthropogenic factors, and human behavior is conditioned by the surrounding landscape.

Landscape archaeologists have been increasingly supported in their studies by geomatic technologies and approaches, starting from the use of geographic information systems (GIS), since most factors influencing the landscape can be deeply characterized in space and time. Moreover, in the last two decades, satellite technologies for positioning and remote observation of the Earth's surface have supported a great deal of research in the archaeological field.

Today, more than in the recent past, many new technologies offer support for acquiring and processing data with spatial and temporal reference aimed to study the deep interaction between people and territory.

The aim of this Special Issue is to collect recent experiences and studies in landscape archaeology supported by geomatic approaches, in particular with GIS and remote sensing, with the aim of recognizing and empathizing with the complexity of culturalized places and how they have changed and evolved over time.

The expected manuscripts should address the joint use of remote sensing and GIS to support landscape archaeology studies and help preserve and manage cultural heritage.

We will appreciate the submission of contributions that highlight how the joint use of remote sensing techniques and GIS processing can contribute to investigate archaeology landscape and to preserve and manage cultural heritage, even in digital and virtual environments.

Prof. Dr. Giuseppe Mussumeci
Prof. Dr. Orazio Palio
Dr. Michele Mangiameli
Dr. Deodato Tapete
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short 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 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. Land 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 2600 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

  • landscape archaeology
  • radar and optical remote sensing
  • GIS and DBMS technologies
  • geophysical and micro-geophysical methods
  • ground-penetrating radar
  • photogrammetry
  • liDAR
  • surveying by drones/UAS

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

26 pages, 30157 KiB  
Article
Reimagining the Development of Downtown Cahokia Using Remote Sensing Visualizations from the Western Edge of the Grand Plaza
by J. Grant Stauffer, Seth B. Grooms, Lorraine W. Hu, Joy Mersmann, Tristram R. Kidder and Edward R. Henry
Land 2023, 12(2), 342; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12020342 - 27 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2397
Abstract
The distribution of mounds, plazas, and defensive palisades associated with Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site (CMSHS) defines the core urban environment of Eastern North America’s first American Indian city. The large mounds surrounding Cahokia’s centrally located Grand Plaza, including the palisades that enclose [...] Read more.
The distribution of mounds, plazas, and defensive palisades associated with Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site (CMSHS) defines the core urban environment of Eastern North America’s first American Indian city. The large mounds surrounding Cahokia’s centrally located Grand Plaza, including the palisades that enclose them, are referred to as Downtown Cahokia. In this portion of the site, archaeologists have identified material culture (e.g., ceramics), earthen fills to level the plaza, and several earthen mound constructions. These findings suggest an occupational history for the area that occurred over the 9th–14th centuries CE, with the emergence of plaza delineation and earthwork construction beginning in the early 11th century CE. In sum, Downtown Cahokia and its Grand Plaza are considered by archaeologists to be a vibrant space characterized by ongoing American Indian transformations to an early metropolitan landscape. We conducted magnetometer and electromagnetic induction surveys at the western edge of the Grand Plaza. When compared with the LiDAR-derived visualizations we generated from this portion of the site, our aerial and terrestrial remote sensing data offered new information on the nature and sequence of monument construction in Downtown Cahokia, as well as architectural changes in domestic and special-use structures. These multi-scalar and complementary remote sensing datasets allowed us, without excavating, to trace important sequences of change in Downtown Cahokia’s history. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Archaeology by Using Remote Sensing Data)
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24 pages, 26777 KiB  
Article
Integrated Close Range Remote Sensing Techniques for Detecting, Documenting, and Interpreting Lost Medieval Settlements under Canopy: The Case of Altanum (RC, Italy)
by Nicodemo Abate, Diego Ronchi, Valentino Vitale, Nicola Masini, Andrea Angelini, Francesco Giuri, Antonio Minervino Amodio, Andrea Maria Gennaro and Daniele Ferdani
Land 2023, 12(2), 310; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12020310 - 22 Jan 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1982
Abstract
This paper focuses on the potential of an integrated approach using aerial LiDAR, aerial and terrestrial photogrammetry, terrestrial laser scanning, and archaeological survey to detect the presence and configuration of lost medieval settlements under canopy. This approach was applied to the site of [...] Read more.
This paper focuses on the potential of an integrated approach using aerial LiDAR, aerial and terrestrial photogrammetry, terrestrial laser scanning, and archaeological survey to detect the presence and configuration of lost medieval settlements under canopy. This approach was applied to the site of Altanum (Calabria, Italy), on the hill of Sant’Eusebio, completely covered by vegetation. Altanum was a large fortified settlement characterised by a long occupation, especially during the Byzantine and Norman-Swabian periods. The activity began by carrying out a LiDAR survey of the whole hill. The acquired LiDAR data were processed and filtered in order to obtain a DFM (Digital Feature Model) useful for the identification of features of archaeological interest. Several enhancement techniques were performed on DFM to increase the visibility of archaeological features. The features thus identified were subsequently surveyed through the use of terrestrial and aerial photogrammetry integrated with laser scanning to document the visible buildings. The most significant result of the study was to create a single GIS platform with the integration of all data in order to delineate the whole settlement layout, as well as to produce 2D and 3D datasets useful for the for knowledge and protection of the identified remains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Archaeology by Using Remote Sensing Data)
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24 pages, 11324 KiB  
Article
Hyperspectral PRISMA and Sentinel-2 Preliminary Assessment Comparison in Alba Fucens and Sinuessa Archaeological Sites (Italy)
by Maria Alicandro, Elena Candigliota, Donatella Dominici, Francesco Immordino, Fabrizio Masin, Nicole Pascucci, Raimondo Quaresima and Sara Zollini
Land 2022, 11(11), 2070; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11112070 - 17 Nov 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2916
Abstract
Over the last decades, remote sensing techniques have contributed to supporting cultural heritage studies and management, including archaeological sites as well as their territorial context and geographical surroundings. This paper aims to investigate the capabilities and limitations of the new hyperspectral sensor PRISMA [...] Read more.
Over the last decades, remote sensing techniques have contributed to supporting cultural heritage studies and management, including archaeological sites as well as their territorial context and geographical surroundings. This paper aims to investigate the capabilities and limitations of the new hyperspectral sensor PRISMA (Precursore IperSpettrale della Missione Applicativa) by the Italian Space Agency (ASI), still little applied to archaeological studies. The PRISMA sensor was tested on Italian terrestrial (Alba Fucens, Massa D’Albe, L’Aquila) and marine (Sinuessa, Mondragone, Caserta) archaeological sites. A comparison between PRISMA hyperspectral imagery and the well-known Sentinel-2 Multi-Spectral Instrument (MSI) was performed in order to better understand features and outputs useful to investigate the aforementioned areas. At first, bad bands analysis and noise removal were performed, in order to delete the numerically corrupted bands. Principal component analysis (PCA) was carried out to highlight invisible details in the original image; then, spectral signatures of representative areas were extracted and compared to Sentinel-2 data. At last, a classification analysis (ML and SAM) was performed both on PRISMA and Sentinel-2 imagery. The results showed a full agreement between Sentinel and PRISMA data, enhancing the capability of PRISMA in extrapolating more spectral information and providing a better reliability in the extraction of the features. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Archaeology by Using Remote Sensing Data)
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12 pages, 12225 KiB  
Article
Potential of Multitemporal Lidar for the Detection of Subtle Archaeological Features under Perennial Dense Forest
by Iban Berganzo-Besga, Hector A. Orengo, Joan Canela and Maria Carme Belarte
Land 2022, 11(11), 1964; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11111964 - 2 Nov 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1940
Abstract
This paper presents a method for the merging of lidar-derived point clouds of the same area taken at different moments, even when these are not co-registered. The workflow also incorporates the filtering of vegetation allowing the classification of unclassified point clouds using the [...] Read more.
This paper presents a method for the merging of lidar-derived point clouds of the same area taken at different moments, even when these are not co-registered. The workflow also incorporates the filtering of vegetation allowing the classification of unclassified point clouds using the ground points of reliable coverages. The objective is to produce a digital terrain model by joining all ground points to generate a higher resolution model than would have been possible using a single coverage. The workflow is supplemented by a multi-scale relief visualisation tool that allows for better detection of archaeological micro-reliefs of variable size even in areas of complex topography. The workflow is tested in six Iberian Iron Age sites, all of them located in mountain areas with dense Mediterranean perennial forests and shrub vegetation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Archaeology by Using Remote Sensing Data)
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20 pages, 5642 KiB  
Article
Landscapes of Mobility and Movement in North-West Arabia: A Remote Sensing Study of the Neom Impact Zone
by Michael Fradley and Sarah Gyngell
Land 2022, 11(11), 1941; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11111941 - 31 Oct 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 16145
Abstract
The historic environment of north-west Saudi Arabia is likely to be severely impacted by the construction of the Neom mega-city complex and the development of the city’s hinterland. This region, located east of the Gulf of Aqaba, has only been subject to limited [...] Read more.
The historic environment of north-west Saudi Arabia is likely to be severely impacted by the construction of the Neom mega-city complex and the development of the city’s hinterland. This region, located east of the Gulf of Aqaba, has only been subject to limited archaeological survey in the past, limiting any assessment of this negative impact. This paper presents data collected through a remote sensing survey of the region undertaken by the Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa (EAMENA) project, independent of the Neom project. It is argued that this data reflects a landscape of movement between north and south, with evidence of structures and monuments from at least the Bronze Age through to the pre-Islamic period, but little evidence of permanent settlement or agriculture. This should not be dismissed as a peripheral landscape, but one that contains rich archaeological evidence of concentrated activity, suggesting that some areas have held long-term significance to the people inhabiting and moving through this region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Archaeology by Using Remote Sensing Data)
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43 pages, 6097 KiB  
Article
Confronting Complexity: Interpretation of a Dry Stone Walled Landscape on the Island of Cres, Croatia
by Michael Doneus, Nives Doneus and Dave Cowley
Land 2022, 11(10), 1672; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11101672 - 27 Sep 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3230
Abstract
Dry stone walls are a worldwide phenomenon that may shape entire regions. As a specific form of vernacular agro-pastoral practice, they are expressions of the culture and history of a region. Dry stone walls have recently received increased attention in Croatia, primarily due [...] Read more.
Dry stone walls are a worldwide phenomenon that may shape entire regions. As a specific form of vernacular agro-pastoral practice, they are expressions of the culture and history of a region. Dry stone walls have recently received increased attention in Croatia, primarily due to research in landscape architecture and (historical) geography, though archaeological research on such remains is rare in part due to the challenges of undertaking such work in areas covered by dense evergreen maquis vegetation. In this paper, this type of landscape has been studied in detail for the first time using Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS) based digital feature models as a basis to articulate dynamic dry stone wall landscapes in a diachronic archaeological interpretation. Using a case study from the Mediterranean region of Punta Križa, Croatia, we show that what superficially appears to be a simple system of dry stone walls contains a wealth of information on a complex sequence of human activity. The systematic, detailed, and diachronic interpretation applies a transparent workflow that provides a tool for all those undertaking interpretative mappings of archaeological prospection datasets and has proved highly effective when working with ALS-derived visualizations. The capacity to develop spatio-temporal interpretation within the framework of GIS and a Harris Matrix is especially powerful and has the potential to change our image of any region. While the case study presented here deals with a small area in Croatia, the methods described have a broad application in any areas of complex landscape remains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Archaeology by Using Remote Sensing Data)
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27 pages, 15649 KiB  
Article
Detection, Morphometric Analysis and Digital Surveying of Archaeological Mounds in Southern Iraq with CartoSat-1 and COSMO-SkyMed DEMs
by Deodato Tapete and Francesca Cigna
Land 2022, 11(9), 1406; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11091406 - 27 Aug 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2349
Abstract
In Near and Middle Eastern archaeology, satellite-derived digital elevation models (DEM) of medium spatial resolution (≥30 m) are mostly used to locate and map archaeological mounds (namely ‘tells’), whereas high resolution DEMs (≤10 m) are still poorly exploited. To fill this gap, the [...] Read more.
In Near and Middle Eastern archaeology, satellite-derived digital elevation models (DEM) of medium spatial resolution (≥30 m) are mostly used to locate and map archaeological mounds (namely ‘tells’), whereas high resolution DEMs (≤10 m) are still poorly exploited. To fill this gap, the 5 m resolution CartoSat-1 Euro-Maps 3D Digital Surface Model (DSM) is assessed vs. the 30 m Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) global DEM, the Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) World 3D–30 m (AW3D30) and a 10 m COSMO-SkyMed DEM, on a test area in Wasit, southern Iraq, where the high density of tells is yet to be exhaustively documented. A total of 344 sites was mapped, with one order of magnitude improvement compared to previous mapping exercises, existing databases and historical maps. The morphometric analysis not only highlights the reliability of CartoSat-1 DSM height and volume estimates, but also suggests that, in the test area, the volume of a tell can robustly be calculated based on the simple knowledge of its basal area, following a quadratic function. Morphology and elevation of at least 53% irregularly shaped tells were impacted by anthropogenic disturbances. Morphometric indices (e.g., Topographic Position Index, DEViation from mean elevation) are a viable automated method to ease tells detection. When integrated with other satellite datasets (e.g., CORONA, Google Earth, Sentinel-2 imagery), the CartoSat-1 DSM can unveil morphological changes and support condition assessment. In Wasit, agriculture and modern development are among the major threats for tells preservation, alongside looting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Archaeology by Using Remote Sensing Data)
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