Special Issue "Remote Sensing of Archaeology"

A special issue of Remote Sensing (ISSN 2072-4292). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Remote Sensing".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Carl Philipp Lipo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Anthropology and Environmental Studies Program, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY 13902-6000, USA
Interests: remote sensing; near-surface geophysical methods; quantitative methods; agent-based modeling; evolutionary archaeology
Dr. Timothy S de Smet
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Geophysics and Remote Sensing Laboratory, Department of Geological Sciences and Environmental Studies, Binghamton University, USA
Interests: near-surface applied geophysics; UAV-based remote sensing; geoarchaeology; GIS statistical and physical modeling

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Recent advances in remote sensing instrumentation, data availability, and processing methods are revolutionizing the discipline of archaeology. The development of machine algorithms for data processing combined with an increasingly diverse array of ground-based instruments and low-cost, lightweight sensors mounted on intelligent unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has greatly enabled our ability to conduct archaeological prospection, allowing entire landscapes to be efficiently and non-invasively documented in a fraction of the time it would take to laboriously survey and destructively excavate areas of the archaeological record. Archaeological remote sensing, traditionally used to simply guide excavation strategy and constrain site formation hypotheses, is now moving beyond prospection and into areas in which remote sensing studies can directly contribute to the study of human behavior, social organization, and cultural changes through time and across space.

With this Special Issue, we seek innovative contributions on state-of-the-art archaeological remote sensing research that addresses recent advances in these broad areas: data acquisition, including the use of unmanned autonomous systems; novel measurement concepts/sensor technologies; advanced and automated data processing, including object-based image analysis, machine and deep learning, and modeling; quantitative data interpretation, including information fusion from multiple sensors and geostatistical methods; near-surface geophysics; cultural and heritage resource stewardship, preservation, and management; aerial and satellite-based remote sensing; integrative approaches combining geoarchaeology ground verification and remote sensing to iteratively improve the efficiency of invasive research. Review papers, case studies, and best-practice examples are welcome. We encourage submissions from a broad remote sensing perspective, including space-based satellite-based remote sensing all the way down to barely remote near-surface geophysics.

Dr. Carl Philipp Lipo
Dr. Timothy S de Smet
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 papers will be 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. Remote Sensing is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 2400 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

  • Archaeology
  • Machine learning
  • Object-based image analysis
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles
  • Near-surface geophysics
  • Information fusion
  • Archaeological prospection
  • Landscape archaeology

Published Papers (16 papers)

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Communication
Multi-Frequency GPR Data Fusion with Genetic Algorithms for Archaeological Prospection
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(14), 2804; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13142804 - 16 Jul 2021
Viewed by 353
Abstract
Archaeological GPR data from antennas of different frequencies allow the identification of buried cultural heritage at different scales. Therefore, multi-frequency GPR systems are recommended for complicated subsurface archaeological conditions. GPR data fusion approaches, automatically or semi-automatically, can integrate data measurements from different frequency [...] Read more.
Archaeological GPR data from antennas of different frequencies allow the identification of buried cultural heritage at different scales. Therefore, multi-frequency GPR systems are recommended for complicated subsurface archaeological conditions. GPR data fusion approaches, automatically or semi-automatically, can integrate data measurements from different frequency antennas, combine them into a single representation, and partially overcome the unavoidable trade-off between penetration and resolution. We propose an adaptively weighted fusion method for multi-frequency GPR data based on genetic algorithms (GAs). In order to evaluate the feasibility and the effectiveness of the strategy for archaeological prospection, we tested the procedure on GPR datasets acquired in two totally different archaeological conditions: rammed layers of an ancient wall, in Henan Province, China, and complex and elusive prehistoric archaeological features within a natural stratigraphic sequence on the volcanic Stromboli Island, Italy. The results demonstrate that the proposed strategy can maximize the information content of GPR profiles, enhancing the GPR interpretation possibilities in an automatic and objective way for different targets and in different subsurface conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Archaeology)
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Communication
Thermal Imaging Shows Submarine Groundwater Discharge Plumes Associated with Ancient Settlements on Rapa Nui (Easter Island, Chile)
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(13), 2531; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13132531 - 28 Jun 2021
Viewed by 479
Abstract
Submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) is an important component of many coastal environments and hydrologic processes, providing sources of nutrients to marine ecosystems, and potentially, an important source of fresh water for human populations. Here, we use a combination of unpiloted aerial systems (UAS) [...] Read more.
Submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) is an important component of many coastal environments and hydrologic processes, providing sources of nutrients to marine ecosystems, and potentially, an important source of fresh water for human populations. Here, we use a combination of unpiloted aerial systems (UAS) thermal infrared (TIR) imaging and salinity measurements to characterize SGD on the remote East Polynesian island of Rapa Nui (Easter Island, Chile). Previous research has shown that coastal freshwater seeps are abundant on Rapa Nui and strongly associated with the locations of ancient settlement sites. We currently lack, however, information on the differential magnitude or quality of these sources of fresh water. Our UAS-based TIR results from four locations on Rapa Nui suggest that locations of variably-sized SGD plumes are associated with many ancient settlement sites on the island and that these water sources are resilient to drought events. These findings support previous work indicating that ancient Rapa Nui communities responded to the inherent and climate-induced hydrological challenges of the island by focusing on these abundant and resilient freshwater sources. Our results highlight the efficacy of using UAS-based TIR for detecting relatively small SGD locations and provide key insights on the potential uses of these water sources for past and current Rapa Nui communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Archaeology)
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Article
Prospecting the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Müstair (Switzerland)
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(13), 2515; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13132515 - 27 Jun 2021
Viewed by 506
Abstract
The Benedictine Convent of Saint John at Müstair is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the eastern part of Switzerland close to South Tyrol’s border (Italy). Known as a well-preserved Carolingian building complex housing Carolingian and Romanesque frescoes, the convent has received [...] Read more.
The Benedictine Convent of Saint John at Müstair is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the eastern part of Switzerland close to South Tyrol’s border (Italy). Known as a well-preserved Carolingian building complex housing Carolingian and Romanesque frescoes, the convent has received much academic attention. However, all research activities so far have been concentrated on the area enclosed by the convent’s walls, even though the neighbouring fields to the east and south are also part of the convent’s property. This paper reports on the archaeological magnetic and ground-penetrating radar surveys of these areas, executed as part of a pilot project exploring the convent’s immediate environment. At present, these fields are used for agriculture and located on a massive alluvial fan of the mountain stream Valgarola. Dense geophysical sampling revealed an intricate network of distributary channels with stream and mudflow deposits, constituting a natural border of the convent’s territory. In addition to different field systems, a newly discovered broad pathway appears to be an original Roman road. Numerous structural elements, mapped within the convent’s walls, could be attributed to specific building phases. Over 40 large and deep burial shafts, arranged in three rows, were discovered outside the convent’s burial ground. Their specific design and arrangement are characteristic of early medieval burials, such as those of the 6th century Lombards on the edge of the eastern Alps. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Archaeology)
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Article
Attenuation of Seismic Multiples in Very Shallow Water: An Application in Archaeological Prospection Using Data Driven Approaches
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(10), 1871; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13101871 - 11 May 2021
Viewed by 413
Abstract
Water-layer multiples pose a major problem in shallow water seismic investigations as they interfere with primaries reflected from layer boundaries or archaeology buried only a few meters below the water bottom. In the present study we evaluate two model-driven approaches (“Prediction and Subtraction” [...] Read more.
Water-layer multiples pose a major problem in shallow water seismic investigations as they interfere with primaries reflected from layer boundaries or archaeology buried only a few meters below the water bottom. In the present study we evaluate two model-driven approaches (“Prediction and Subtraction” and “RTM-Deco”) to attenuate water-layer multiple reflections in very shallow water using synthetic and field data. The tests comprise both multi- and constant-offset data. We compare the multiple removal efficiency of the evaluated methods with two traditional methods (Predictive Deconvolution and SRME). Both model-driven approaches yield satisfactory results concerning the enhancement of primary energy and the attenuation of multiple energy. For the synthetic test cases, the multiple energy is reduced by at least 80% for the Prediction and Subtraction approach, and by more than 60% for the RTM-Deco approach. The application to two field data sets shows a significant amplification of primaries formerly hidden by the first water-layer multiple, with a reduction of multiple energy of up to 50%. The waveforms obtained from FD modeling match the true waveforms of the field data well and small deviations in time and amplitude can be removed by a time shift of the traces as well as an amplitude adaption to the field data. The field data examples should be emphasized, where the tested Prediction and Subtraction approach works significantly better than the traditional methods: the multiples are effectively predicted and attenuated while primary signals are highlighted. In conclusion, this shows that this method is particularly suitable in shallow water applications. Both evaluated multiple attenuation approaches could be successfully transferred to two other 3D systems used in shallow water near surface investigations. Especially the Prediction and Subtraction approach is able to enhance the primaries for both tested 3D systems with the multiple energy being reduced by more than 50%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Archaeology)
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Article
Use of Time-Series NDWI to Monitor Emerging Archaeological Sites: Case Studies from Iraqi Artificial Reservoirs
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(4), 786; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13040786 - 21 Feb 2021
Viewed by 581
Abstract
Over the last 50 years, countries across North Africa and the Middle East have seen a significant increase in dam construction which, notwithstanding their benefits, have endangered archaeological heritage. Archaeological surveys and salvage excavations have been carried out in threatened areas in the [...] Read more.
Over the last 50 years, countries across North Africa and the Middle East have seen a significant increase in dam construction which, notwithstanding their benefits, have endangered archaeological heritage. Archaeological surveys and salvage excavations have been carried out in threatened areas in the past, but the formation of reservoirs often resulted in the permanent loss of archaeological data. However, in 2018, a sharp fall in the water level of the Mosul Dam reservoir led to the emersion of the archaeological site of Kemune and allowed for its brief and targeted investigation. Reservoir water level change is not unique to the Mosul Dam, but it is a phenomenon affecting most of the artificial lakes of present-day Iraq. However, to know in advance which sites will be exposed due to a decrease in water level can be a challenging task, especially without any previous knowledge, field investigation, or high-resolution satellite image. Nonetheless, by using time-series medium-resolution satellite images, combined to obtain spectral indexes for different years, it is possible to monitor “patterns” of emerging archaeological sites from three major Iraqi reservoirs: Mosul, Haditha and Hamrin lake. The Normalised Difference Water Index (NDWI), generated from annual composites of Landsat and Sentinel-2 images, allow us to distinguish between water bodies and other land surfaces. When coupled with a pixel analysis of each image, the index can provide a mean for highlighting whether an archaeological site is submerged or not. Moreover, using a zonal histogram algorithm in QGIS over polygon shapefiles that represent a site surface, it is possible to assess the area of a site that has been exposed over time. The same analyses were carried out on monthly composites for the year 2018, to assess the impact of monthly variation of the water level on the archaeological sites. The results from both analyses have been visually evaluated using medium-resolution true colour images for specific years and locations and with 3 m resolution Planetscope images for 2018. Understanding emersion “patterns” of known archaeological sites provides a useful tool for targeted rescue excavation, while also expanding the knowledge of the post-flooding impact on cultural heritage in the regions under study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Archaeology)
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Article
Acoustic Mapping of Submerged Stone Age Sites—A HALD Approach
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(3), 445; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13030445 - 27 Jan 2021
Viewed by 1558
Abstract
Acoustic response from lithics knapped by humans has been demonstrated to facilitate effective detection of submerged Stone Age sites exposed on the seafloor or embedded within its sediments. This phenomenon has recently enabled the non-invasive detection of several hitherto unknown submerged Stone Age [...] Read more.
Acoustic response from lithics knapped by humans has been demonstrated to facilitate effective detection of submerged Stone Age sites exposed on the seafloor or embedded within its sediments. This phenomenon has recently enabled the non-invasive detection of several hitherto unknown submerged Stone Age sites, as well as the registration of acoustic responses from already known localities. Investigation of the acoustic-response characteristics of knapped lithics, which appear not to be replicated in naturally cracked lithic pieces (geofacts), is presently on-going through laboratory experiments and finite element (FE) modelling of high-resolution 3D-scanned pieces. Experimental work is also being undertaken, employing chirp sub-bottom systems (reflection seismic) on known sites in marine areas and inland water bodies. Fieldwork has already yielded positive results in this initial stage of development of an optimised Human-Altered Lithic Detection (HALD) method for mapping submerged Stone Age sites. This paper reviews the maritime archaeological perspectives of this promising approach, which potentially facilitates new and improved practice, summarizes existing data, and reports on the present state of development. Its focus is not reflection seismics as such, but a useful resonance phenomenon induced by the use of high-resolution reflection seismic systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Archaeology)
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Communication
Sensing the Past: Perspectives on Collaborative Archaeology and Ground Penetrating Radar Techniques from Coastal California
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(2), 285; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13020285 - 15 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 521
Abstract
This paper summarizes over a decade of collaborative eco-archaeological research along the central coast of California involving researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, tribal citizens from the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, and California Department of Parks and Recreation archaeologists. Our research employs [...] Read more.
This paper summarizes over a decade of collaborative eco-archaeological research along the central coast of California involving researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, tribal citizens from the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, and California Department of Parks and Recreation archaeologists. Our research employs remote sensing methods to document and assess cultural resources threatened by coastal erosion and geophysical methods to identify archaeological deposits, minimize impacts on sensitive cultural resources, and provide tribal and state collaborators with a suite of data to consider before proceeding with any form of invasive archaeological excavation. Our case study of recent eco-archaeological research developed to define the historical biogeography of threatened and endangered anadromous salmonids demonstrates how remote sensing technologies help identify dense archaeological deposits, remove barriers, and create bridges through equitable and inclusive research practices between archaeologists and the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band. These experiences have resulted in the incorporation of remote sensing techniques as a central approach of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band when conducting archaeology in their traditional territories. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Archaeology)
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Article
ALS-Based Detection of Past Human Activities in the Białowieża Forest—New Evidence of Unknown Remains of Past Agricultural Systems
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(16), 2657; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12162657 - 18 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1775
Abstract
The Białowieża Forest (BF), a unique ecosystem of historical significance in central Europe, has a long history of assumed human settlement, with at least 200 known archaeological sites (until 2016). This study uncovers new evidence of the cultural heritage of this unique forest [...] Read more.
The Białowieża Forest (BF), a unique ecosystem of historical significance in central Europe, has a long history of assumed human settlement, with at least 200 known archaeological sites (until 2016). This study uncovers new evidence of the cultural heritage of this unique forest area using Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS) technology combined with traditional archaeological field assessment methods to verify the ALS data interpretations and to provide additional evidence about the function and origin of the newly detected archaeological sites. The results of this study include (1) a scientific approach for an improved identification of archaeological resources in forest areas; (2) new evidence about the history of the human use of the BF based on ALS data, covering the entire Polish part of the BF; and (3) an improved remote sensing infrastructure, supporting existing GIS (Geographic Information System) systems for the BF, a famous UNESCO Heritage site. Our study identified numerous locations with evidence of past human agricultural activities known in the literature as “field systems”, “lynchets” and “Celtic fields”. The initial identification included more than 300 km of possible field boundaries and plough headlands, many of which we have verified on the ground. Various past human activities creating those boundaries have existed since the (pre-) Roman Period up to the 13th century AD. The results of this study demonstrate that past human activities in the Polish part of the Białowieża Forest had been more prevalent than previously believed. As a practical result of the described activities, a geodatabase was created; this has practical applications for the system of monument protection in Poland, as well as for local communities and the BF’s management and conservation. The more widely achieved results are in line with the implementation of the concept of a cultural heritage inventory in forested and protected areas—the actions taken specify (built globally) the forms of protection and management of cultural and environmental goods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Archaeology)
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Article
Object-Based Image Analysis of Ground-Penetrating Radar Data for Archaic Hearths
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(16), 2539; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12162539 - 07 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1359
Abstract
Object-based image analysis (OBIA) has been increasingly used to identify terrain features of archaeological sites, but only recently to extract subsurface archaeological features from geophysical data. In this study, we use a semi-automated OBIA to identify Archaic (8000–1000 BC) hearths from Ground-Penetrating Radar [...] Read more.
Object-based image analysis (OBIA) has been increasingly used to identify terrain features of archaeological sites, but only recently to extract subsurface archaeological features from geophysical data. In this study, we use a semi-automated OBIA to identify Archaic (8000–1000 BC) hearths from Ground-Penetrating Radar (GPR) data collected at David Crockett Birthplace State Park in eastern Tennessee in the southeastern United States. The data were preprocessed using GPR-SLICE, Surfer, and Archaeofusion software, and amplitude depth slices were selected that contained anomalies ranging from 0.80 to 1.20 m below surface (BS). Next, the data were segmented within ESRI ArcMap GIS software using a global threshold and, after vectorization, classified using four attributes: area, perimeter, length-to-width ratio, and Circularity Index. The user-defined parameters were based on an excavated Archaic circular hearth found at a depth greater than one meter, which consisted of fire-cracked rock and had a diameter greater than one meter. These observations were in agreement with previous excavations of hearths at the site. Features that had a high probability of being Archaic hearths were further delineated by human interpretation from radargrams and then ground-truthed by auger testing. The semi-automated OBIA successfully predicted 15 probable Archaic hearths at depths ranging from 0.85 to 1.20 m BS. Observable spatial clustering of hearths may indicate episodes of seasonal occupation by small mobile groups during the Archaic Period. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Archaeology)
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Article
Geological Challenges of Archaeological Prospecting: The Northern Peloponnese as a Type Location of Populated Syn-Rift Settings
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(15), 2450; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12152450 - 30 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 949
Abstract
The Northern Peloponnese is not only home of a series of ancient poleis that are being studied by archaeologists, but it is also located on the southern shoulder of the most active extensional crustal structure in the world; the Corinthian rift. This rift [...] Read more.
The Northern Peloponnese is not only home of a series of ancient poleis that are being studied by archaeologists, but it is also located on the southern shoulder of the most active extensional crustal structure in the world; the Corinthian rift. This rift has shaped the Northern Peloponnese as we now see it today since the Pliocene. Normal faulting, the tectonic uplift of syn-rift sediments and sea level changes, has shaped a landscape of steps rising from the coast to the ridges in the hinterland that provides challenging conditions to a geophysical survey. Where we can find coarse grained slope and delta deposits of conglomerate on top of banks of marl on ridges and slopes, the lower marine terraces and the coastal plain as well as valleys show the protective caprock eroded and the marl covered by young alluvial deposits. These materials show only a small contrast in their magnetic properties, which reduces the importance of magnetic mapping for the archaeological prospection in this region. The human utilization of the coastal plain and the urban areas pose additional challenges. These challenges have been overcome through various approaches that are shown in exemplary case studies from Aigeira and Sikyon. Whereas a combination of magnetic mapping and ground-penetrating radar (GPR) works very well on the ridges and along the slopes where we find coarser sediments in addition to the magnetic mapping, it is not suitable in the coastal plain due to the attenuating properties of the alluvial sediment. Here, electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) proved to be very successful in mapping entire parts of a settlement in great detail. Seismic soundings were also sucessfully applied in determining the bedrock depth, the detection of walls and in the question of locating the harbor basin. In the presented six exemplary case studies, the following findings were made: (1) A fortification wall and building foundations at a depth of 0.4–1.2 m on a plateau northwest of the acropolis of Aigeira was found by 400 MHz GPR. (2) A honeycomb-shaped pattern of magnetic anomalies that suggested cavities could be identified as a weathering pattern of conglomerate rocks. (3) A rock basement 2.3 m deep and remains of an enclosing wall of the Aigeira theater area were found by shear wave refraction measurements. (4) Extensive ERT surveys detected several building remains in Sikyon like a potential building and grave monuments as well as several small houses. (5) A silted-up depression in the sediments of the coastal plane located through Love wave measurements, could be taken as evidence for either a silted harbor or a navigable riverbed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Archaeology)
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Article
Learning to Classify Structures in ALS-Derived Visualizations of Ancient Maya Settlements with CNN
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(14), 2215; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12142215 - 10 Jul 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1052
Abstract
Archaeologists engaging with Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS) data rely heavily on manual inspection of various derived visualizations. However, manual inspection of ALS data is extremely time-consuming and as such presents a major bottleneck in the data analysis workflow. We have therefore set out [...] Read more.
Archaeologists engaging with Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS) data rely heavily on manual inspection of various derived visualizations. However, manual inspection of ALS data is extremely time-consuming and as such presents a major bottleneck in the data analysis workflow. We have therefore set out to learn and test a deep neural network model for classifying from previously manually annotated ancient Maya structures of the Chactún archaeological site in Campeche, Mexico. We considered several variations of the VGG-19 Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) to solve the task of classifying visualized example structures from previously manually annotated ALS images of man-made aguadas, buildings and platforms, as well as images of surrounding terrain (four classes and over 12,000 anthropogenic structures). We investigated how various parameters impact model performance, using: (a) six different visualization blends, (b) two different edge buffer sizes, (c) additional data augmentation and (d) architectures with different numbers of untrainable, frozen layers at the beginning of the network. Many of the models learned under the different scenarios exceeded the overall classification accuracy of 95%. Using overall accuracy, terrain precision and recall (detection rate) per class of anthropogenic structure as criteria, we selected visualization with slope, sky-view factor and positive openness in separate bands; image samples with a two-pixels edge buffer; Keras data augmentation; and five frozen layers as the optimal combination of building blocks for learning our CNN model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Archaeology)
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Article
The Applicability of an Inverse Schlumberger Array for Near-Surface Targets in Shallow Water Environments
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(13), 2132; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12132132 - 03 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 761
Abstract
We investigate the applicability of offshore geoelectrical profiling in the littoral zone, e.g., for archaeological prospection, sediment classification and investigations on coastal ground water upwelling. We performed field measurements with a 20 m long multi-electrode streamer in inverse Schlumberger configuration, which we used [...] Read more.
We investigate the applicability of offshore geoelectrical profiling in the littoral zone, e.g., for archaeological prospection, sediment classification and investigations on coastal ground water upwelling. We performed field measurements with a 20 m long multi-electrode streamer in inverse Schlumberger configuration, which we used to statistically evaluate measurement uncertainty and the reproducibility of offshore electric resistivity tomography. We compared floating and submerged electrodes, as well as stationary and towed measurements. We found out that apparent resistivity values can be determined with an accuracy of 1% to 5% (1σ) depending on the measurement setup under field conditions. Based on these values and focusing on typical meter-scale targets, we used synthetic resistivity models to theoretically investigate the tomographic resolution and depth penetration achievable near-beach underneath a column of brackish water of about 1 m depth. From the analysis, we conclude that offshore geoelectric sounding allows the mapping of archaeological stone settings. The material differentiation of low-porosity rock masses < 15% is critical. Submerged wooden objects show a significant resistivity contrast to sand and rocks. Distinguishing brine-saturated sandy sediments from cohesive silty-clayey sediments is difficult due to their equal or reversed resistivity contrasts. Submarine freshwater discharges in sandy aquifers can be localized well, though difficulties may occur if the seafloor encounters massive low-porosity rock masses. As to the measurement setups, submerged and floating electrodes differ in their spatial resolution. Whereas stone settings of 0.5 to 1 m can still be located with submerged electrodes within the uppermost 4 m underneath the seafloor, they have to be >2 m if floating electrodes are used. Therefore, we recommend using submerged electrodes, especially in archaeological prospection. Littoral geological and hydrogeological mapping is also feasible with floating electrodes in a more time-saving way. Full article
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Article
Deserted Medieval Village Reconstruction Using Applied Geosciences
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(12), 1975; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12121975 - 19 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2498
Abstract
This study presents a new way to reconstruct the extent of medieval archaeological sites by using approaches from the field of geoinformatics. Hence, we propose a combined use of non-invasive methodologies which are used for the first time to study a medieval village [...] Read more.
This study presents a new way to reconstruct the extent of medieval archaeological sites by using approaches from the field of geoinformatics. Hence, we propose a combined use of non-invasive methodologies which are used for the first time to study a medieval village in Romania. The focus here will be on ground-based and satellite remote-sensing techniques. The method relies on computing vegetation indices (proxies), which have been utilized for archaeological site detection in order to detect the layout of a deserted medieval town located in southwestern Romania. The data were produced by a group of small satellites (3U CubeSats) dispatched by Planet Labs which delivered high-resolution images of the Earth’s surface. The globe is encompassed by more than 150 satellites (dimensions: 10 × 10 × 30 cm) which catch different images for the same area at moderately short intervals at a spatial resolution of 3–4 m. The four-band Planet Scope satellite images were employed to calculate a number of vegetation indices such as NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index), DVI (Difference Vegetation Index), SR (Simple Vegetation Ratio) and others. For better precision, structure from motion (SfM) techniques were applied to generate a high-resolution orthomosaic and a digital surface model in which the boundaries of the medieval village of “Șanțul Turcilor” in Mașloc, Romania, can be plainly observed. Additionally, this study contrasts the outcomes with a geophysical survey that was attempted inside the central part of the medieval settlement. The technical results of this study also provide strong evidence from an historical point of view: the first documented case of village systematization during the medieval period within Eastern Europe (particularly Romania) found through geoscientific methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Archaeology)
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Article
Geographic Disparity in Machine Intelligence Approaches for Archaeological Remote Sensing Research
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(6), 921; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12060921 - 12 Mar 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2401
Abstract
A vast majority of the archaeological record, globally, is understudied and increasingly threatened by climate change, economic and political instability, and violent conflict. Archaeological data are crucial for understanding the past, and as such, documentation of this information is imperative. The development of [...] Read more.
A vast majority of the archaeological record, globally, is understudied and increasingly threatened by climate change, economic and political instability, and violent conflict. Archaeological data are crucial for understanding the past, and as such, documentation of this information is imperative. The development of machine intelligence approaches (including machine learning, artificial intelligence, and other automated processes) has resulted in massive gains in archaeological knowledge, as such computational methods have expedited the rate of archaeological survey and discovery via remote sensing instruments. Nevertheless, the progression of automated computational approaches is limited by distinct geographic imbalances in where these techniques are developed and applied. Here, I investigate the degree of this disparity and some potential reasons for this imbalance. Analyses from Web of Science and Microsoft Academic searches reveal that there is a substantial difference between the Global North and South in the output of machine intelligence remote sensing archaeology literature. There are also regional imbalances. I argue that one solution is to increase collaborations between research institutions in addition to data sharing efforts. Full article
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Jump to: Research

Technical Note
Mapping Complex Land Use Histories and Urban Renewal Using Ground Penetrating Radar: A Case Study from Fort Stanwix
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(13), 2478; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13132478 - 25 Jun 2021
Viewed by 1367
Abstract
Fort Stanwix National Monument, located in Rome, NY, is a historic park with a complex use history dating back to the early Colonial period and through the urban expansion and recent economic revitalization of the City of Rome. The goal of this study [...] Read more.
Fort Stanwix National Monument, located in Rome, NY, is a historic park with a complex use history dating back to the early Colonial period and through the urban expansion and recent economic revitalization of the City of Rome. The goal of this study was to conduct a GPR investigation over an area approximately 1 acre in size to identify buried historic features (particularly buildings) so park management can preserve these resources and develop appropriate educational programming and management plans. The GPR recorded reflection events consistent with our expectations of historic structures. Differences in size, shape, orientation, and depth suggest that these responses likely date to different time periods in the site’s history. The GPR recorded other reflection anomalies that are difficult to interpret without any additional information, which suggests that pairing high-density geophysical data with limited excavations is critical to elaborate a complex site’s intricate history. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Archaeology)
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Letter
Integrated Approach to Investigating Historic Cemeteries
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2690; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172690 - 20 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1108
Abstract
Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) surveys were conducted at a historic cemetery at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, U.S., in order to confirm the presence of burials corresponding to grave markers and detect potential unmarked burials. Noise in the [...] Read more.
Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) surveys were conducted at a historic cemetery at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, U.S., in order to confirm the presence of burials corresponding to grave markers and detect potential unmarked burials. Noise in the GPR data from surface features and subtle terrain differences must be addressed to determine the extent of anomalies of interest. We use singular value decomposition (SVD) to isolate and remove energy from GPR data. SVD allows one to remove unwanted signals that traditional processing techniques cannot. With SVD filtering, we resolve an anomaly adjacent to confirmed burials otherwise overprinted by unwanted signal. The migration of SVD-filtered data produces more distinct, spatially constrained point reflectors. Ground elevation is derived from georeferenced TLS data and compared to that from airborne laser scanning (ALS) to highlight subtle terrain that can assist data interpretation. TLS elevations show a subtle modern mound over the burial plot where ALS elevations show a depression. The targets of interest are approximately 20–30 cm higher in elevation if a topographic correction is performed using TLS versus ALS. In archaeological applications, a notable change is often recorded at the sub-meter scale. The combined approach presented here better resolves geophysical response of buried features and their positions in the ground relative to each other. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Archaeology)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

1. Title: Sensing the Past: Perspectives on Remote Sensing from Coastal California

author list: Gabriel Sanchez, et, al.

Brief Description: This paper summarizes recent work along the central coast of California that employs remote sensing to preserve a record of cultural resources threatened by coastal erosion (LIDAR) and geophysical methods (ground penetrating radar, magnetometry, and resistivity) to identify archaeological deposits, minimize impacts on sensitive cultural resources, and provide tribal and state collaborators with a suite of data before proceeding with archaeological excavations.

2. Novel approach to sharpening the GPR images of historical graves at Cape Canaveral, FL

Author list: Downs, Christine, Rogers, Jaime, Collins, Lori, Doering, Travis and Penders, Thomas

Due to its non-invasive approach, rapid data acquisition, and real-time data viewing, ground-penetrating radar (GPR) has long been considered an ideal geophysical method for archaeological applications. The technique offers high spatial resolution, but extracting a sharp image of the subsurface remains a challenge, which is particularly necessary when identifying the locations of graves. Here we present the effectiveness of singular value decomposition (SVD) to remove unwanted components in the GPR image in order to improve subsequent processing algorithms such as migration. SVD is shown to be an efficient method of removing the direct wave, horizontal banding, and vertical ringing over mean trace subtraction (a.k.a. background removal) and bandpass/fk-filtering. GPR images filtered with the SVD method yield more distinct diffraction patterns, which produce clearer point anomalies. Depth slices from GPR data collected as a grid and filtered with SVD show higher resolution in plane view as well. These findings suggest SVD to be a preferred filtering scheme over more traditional processing steps for data over point-like targets such as those expected in archaeological settings.

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